Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Bet on the coalition of your choice with your money back if it’s a minority government

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Interesting offer from Betfair Sportsbook

Betfair Sportsbook, the traditional bookmaker wing of the betting exchange, looks as though it is getting serious about the coming general election and has been putting some interesting markets up. One which several spotted was 4/9 on Nick Clegg retaining Sheffield Hallam which was far better than what was offered elsewhere. Sadly that’s gone but there are other interesting wagers.

I like the above coalition market because of the detail in the market rules “Market will only be active in the event of a declared coalition government after the 2015 General Election. In the event of a minority government or government forming, all bets will be void.”

So you get your money back if a minority government emerges.

My current view is that Scotland won’t be as bad for Labour as it looked before Christmas, and it will be the red team that is in the best position to form a coalition…

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


After the confusing messages from the polls punters seem to be backing Ashcroft rather than Populus

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

As a general rule CON backers most influenced by good news

After yesterday’s Lord Ashcroft CON 6% lead poll and the Populus 5% LAB one it looks as though the markets are being more influenced by the former rather than the latter.

This is in keeping with what we’ve seen historically – CON backers tend to be the most optimistic.

    In fact at only one recent UK general election, 2005, have the spread markets pointed to a better outcome for the blues than actually happened.

A big challenge for punters is working out what poll shares mean in seat terms and there’s no sure and safe guide to this – even more so since the SNP surge in Scotland. In England Ashcroft had the Tories with an 8% lead which is 3.4% down on what the party secured at GE2010. On a theoretical uniform swing in England the Tories would lose about 20 seats to LAB

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Exactly a year to go before the WH2016 primaries start and Senator Elizabeth Warren is moving into the frame

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Could she beat Hillary for Democratic party nomination

Last night I had an 8/1 bet on Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren, to be the Democratic party nominee in next year’s White House race. She’s now second favourite in the betting and looks like she’d be a serious challenger if she decided to go for it.

Until now the widespread assumption has been that this is going to be a shoo in for Hillary Clinton who is the odds on favourite, just as she was eight years ago before the tough fight with Obama.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has ruled out being a contender but that has not stopped a growing movement to persuade her to put her hat into the ring. It’s reported that 200,000 have now joined an effort called “Run Warren Run” which has started raising money.

Like Hillary Senator Warren is in her 60s and has come to the fore in recent months over the bank bailouts and the need for much tougher regulation of the big financial institutions. She’s lucid and a convincing speaker. She comes over well on TV and looks as though she would do well in the TV debates.

The big question mark is whether she’s interested and how she’ll respond to the growing clamour.

At 8/1 she seems a good bet.

Mike Smithson

Ranked as one of the most influential over 50s on Twitter


A week into the new year and the betting markets still very uncertain about what’s going to happen

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Only change a slight uptick for SNP

Yesterday evening I was at the BBC offices next to parliament to record a discussion with Ipsos-MORI boss, Ben Page, about the coming election and what’s going to happen. This is due to go out on Radio 4’s “The Week in Westminster” programme at 11am on Saturday morning.

The overwhelming theme was one of uncertainty. How many LAB seats are going to fall to the SNP in Scotland?, what’ll be the impact of the growing new forces the Greens and UKIP and what did we think would happen if the outcome was inconclusive?

Ben made a point which has been seen in his polling – Ed has far worse ratings than Dave but Labour is liked by more and disliked by fewer voters than the Tories. Which will be decisive?

The presenter, Sue Cameron, did put us on the spot about the likely outcome at the end to which we both responded.

This huge uncertainty is showing in the betting. As seen by the latest commons seats spreads above LAB is seen to just have the edge but not by very much.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


If UKIP is a bit on the wane then maybe there are some good bets out there

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

A look at the seats where the purples are favourite

Great Yarmouth

Thanet South


There’s been no Ashcroft Clacton polling- clearly Carswell is in a strong position to retain the seat.

The only other one on the UKIP “favourites to win” list is Boston and Skegness where there was a promising donor-funded Survation poll for UKIP which has yet to be looked at by Lord A.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


3½ weeks before GE2010 leading pollsters were asked to make predictions: All but one said CON majority

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

In a similar exercise reported today the consensus is a hung parliament

Whenever I get asked to make political predictions I now say that that is not what gamblers do. What we do is to make an assessment of what’s on offer and decide whether it is worth a punt or not. So if you think that there’s a 50-50 chance of something happening and the odds are 6/4 then you have a value bet – in your eyes at least.

So I felt a bit sorry for my friends in the polling industry who were asked to go on the record with what they think will happen on May 7th. As we’ve seen these things can get remembered and even quoted back at you five years later.

There’s no doubt that that at the start of the GE2010 campaign the mood was that the Tories would win a majority even though that was not showing up in the polls.

Now the mood is that the outcome will be inconclusive. Maybe that will be wrong again.

Without Labour’s Scottish troubles you probably would be plumping for a LAB victory even a majority. But the potential loss of 25+ Scottish seats rather changes the mathematics.

My biggest bet at the moment is a sell spread trade of CON seats at 280. My reading is that the potential downside, CON winning more, is lower than the upside – the Tories getting fewer.

As for Labour that remains very tricky I’m certainly not ready to take a chance either way.

Mike Smithson

Since 2004 – The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The SNP continues to be the big mover in the commons seats’ spread markets – up ten seats in five weeks

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

The continuation of strong polling for the SNP before Christmas has reinforced the move upwards in the latest spread prices from Sporting Index. It is now exactly ten seats higher than it was in the last week in November.

Clearly this is driven by the polls and the absence of bad news for Sturgeon and her party. The fact that the election of Labour’s new Scottish leader, Jim Murphy, has failed to dent the SNP’s polling position is clearly helping.

There is, however, something of a mismatch between the spread markets and the odds being offered on individual seats. I plan to do a count but I’ve not seen much evidence of SNP moving to favourite in specific constituencies.

Mike Smithson

Since 2004 – The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


UKIP are betting favourites to win in just five seats at GE2015

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Given the way that the purples dominated the political narrative for a large part of 2014 it comes as something of a surprise to observe, as Antifrank does on his excellent blog, that UKIP is clear favourite in just five seats, all of them currently held by the Tories.

The constituencies are listed in the table above and clearly Douglas Carswell’s Clacton is by far the party’s best bet. I regard the 1/10 as as close to a near certainty as you are going to get at the net election.

Surprisingly his fellow MP and winner of the Rochester by-election, Mark Reckless, doesn’t make the list. He’s behind the Tories in the betting. I agree with AntiFrank that he is a good bet at 13/8. Because there are only two UKIP MPs he is going to get a fair bit of attention.

The reason why he’s not favourite is, I guess, the finding in the Lord Ashcroft by-election poll that the Tories would win there net May. I’m only partially convinced. The polling question, unlike the one for the by-election, did not refer to him by name which could have had an impact.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble