Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Two new betting markets

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015


Following on from Tissue Price’s piece yesterday, Ladbrokes have put a market on most seats without the SNP.

As he said yesterday,  If, when the market goes up, you see a price bigger than this on any of these I’d tentatively suggest that it might be value. Labour 4/7 Green 7/2 Conservatives 6/1

Meanwhile Paddy Power have a market on who will get the second highest number of first preferences in the Labour leadership election. The head says Yvette Cooper, the heart says Jeremy Corbyn, based mostly on the assertion of some close to his campaign who “believe he could win between 10 and 20 per cent of the votes” but they would say that wouldn’t they?

Paddy 2nd 1st prefs


UPDATE – Following Henry G Manson’s recent piece on the Labour  London mayoral contest, Len Duval has made a response, which has been included on the original piece.

Response from Mr Duval

If you read the Evening Standard article it is clear I didn’t give any impression that association with mosques or unions is bad thing as you imply. Labour candidates should be reaching out to all Londoners.

As the article says I was asked a question by the journalist and said only that everyone should stick to rules and that it would be damaging if candidates didn’t enter into the selection in spirit it was set up – to encourage as many individual Londoners as possible, from all backgrounds, to participate and have their say.

It seems you are looking for a row where there is none and that your real problem is that I am backing Tessa.


Holyrood 2016: who will come second?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Making a tissue on a “Betting Without” market

This is a betting thread without a market as yet. However, the best prices on any political market can usually be found within either the first six hours or the last six. So a little forethought as to what you’d be prepared to back – and at what price – can often be rewarded handsomely. Someone launching a “without the SNP” market on Holyrood is only going to be a matter of time and there’s every reason to think there might be value about. Let’s make our own tissue.

A quick refresher on the voting system: voters get two votes, one for their local constituency, and one for a regional list (regions comprising between 8 and 10 constituencies). The list seats are doled out using a d’Hondt system, but taking the constituency results into account.

Polling at 60% in the constituency section, the SNP are going to win. Indeed, Ladbrokes only offer 5/2 on them winning all 73 constituencies, which might be a touch skinny. But the 2/7 on an overall majority (65+ seats – the parliament has 129 MSPs) looks about right: they will probably be in a position to win one or more top-up seats in a region where they sweep the constituencies – just as they did in North East Scotland last time.

So, in the face of an SNP near-sweep, who will come second in seats is predominately a question of who will come second in list votes. Even if Labour or the Conservatives pick up a constituency or two this will usually be at the expense of a list seat they would have won anyway. An exception might be if one party could do especially well in the constituencies of a specific region: there’s one plausible possibility I’ll highlight below.

The TNS list polling [from 13th-31st May] was as follows (changes from 2011 result):

SNP 50% (+6)

Labour 19% (-7)

Conservatives 14% (+2)

Greens 10% (+6)

Lib Dems 5% (=)

I think we can pretty safely rule out the Lib Dems coming second in seats, so I’ll examine the case for and against the other 3 parties. It looks like around 18% will be enough to win.


Labour are deservedly the clear second favourites on the main market – 10/1 at Ladbrokes. But this is because they are best placed to benefit in the event of any major scandal or cock-up on the SNP’s part. Absent that, there’s actually little reason to assume that there might not be a further net movement away from Labour.  As John Curtice puts it:

Labour’s figures in [the polling quoted above] are also much worse (and the SNP’s better) than they were in polls conducted by YouGov and Survation just before the May 7th ballot that saw all but one of Labour’s MPs swept away.

In short, it looks as though that disaster may have further dented voters’ confidence in the party’s ability to govern and/or persuaded them the SNP is better able to advocate and promote Scotland’s interests.

For all that, I think Labour should still be well odds-on, representing as they do the default opposition.  I’ll say 70% for now.


The Scottish Tory surge has been a long-running meme on PB, and a profitable one for those who’ve opposed it. In the context of the SNP dominance, the Tories are now surging by standing still.

The Tories might also manage to pick up several constituencies in South Scotland. They already hold Ayr, Galloway and West Dumfries, and the triple-barrelled Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire, though the SNP are a potential threat in every one of these. Dumfriesshire is a target gain from Labour for both Con & SNP. If they were to win all four seats this is likely to be a net improvement on their theoretical entitlement based on the list percentages.

However unless the Tories can actually put on votes (from ex-Lib Dems, maybe?) then they’re going to have a hard time getting enough to come second overall.  Let’s give them a 15% chance for now.


The Greens aren’t going to overtake both Labour and the Conservatives on the strength of their message. But they are likely to be the beneficiaries of an attempt to play the voting system by independence supporters voting “SNP constituency : Green list”.

By voting this way their votes will definitely go towards electing two independence-minded MSPs – whereas if they go SNP:SNP they may not see any extra list SNP members elected at all in a region, because the constituency sweep will already have given the SNP their fair share.

So the nub of this market is to assess how widespread this phenomenon will be. The SNP can’t endorse it explicitly and even if they do so tacitly they run the risk of upsetting their own list candidates. But some of the membership will think differently of their own accord and spread the message online, where the SNP have a strong presence.

Perversely, if the SNP continue to poll 50% or above the appeal of this manoeuvre is reduced since that makes the Nats more likely to pick up list seats. 45% is probably the sweet spot.

Overall, I’ll credit the Greens with a real shot at pulling this off and say 25% for now.

Making a tissue

We now need to scale our 70:15:25 estimates back to total 100%, giving us 64:14:23. Converted to the nearest classical bookie prices that gives us a tissue of:

Labour 4/7

Green 7/2

Conservatives 6/1

If, when the market goes up, you see a price bigger than this on any of these I’d tentatively suggest that it might be value.

If we wanted to act as a bookmaker, we would scale back up to e.g. 110%, to give ourselves some margin. But rather than multiplying through back up to 70:25:15 it would be more usual to stick 3% or so onto each realistic runner (which is all three, in this case).

Labour 1/2

Green 11/4

Conservatives 5/1

Finally, when trying to estimate political probabilities, I’ve frequently found the comments on pb threads to be a huge source of wisdom and information.  So no doubt I’ll be re-evaluating these prices in an hour or so!

Tissue Price


Zac becomes the favourite to be the next London Mayor

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

The other important news is that Goldsmith has persuaded, another contender, Nick de Bois, to be his campaign chairman, which is a sign that people see his nomination as inevitable.

Taking the 1/2 that Paddy Power are offering on Zac being the Tory candidate seems to be value (hat tip Pulpstar)



Betting on the date of the EU referendum

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Date of In out

Over the weekend, stories emerged, which were downplayed by Number 10, that the EU referendum  was set for October 2016.  Then the Telegraph’s Chief Political Correspondent tweeted this afternoon.

It looks like July to October 2016 would be the optimal time to hold the referendum from Cameron’s point of view and William Hill’s 3/1 looks tempting. It won’t clash with the Welsh and Scottish devolved elections, but crucially for Cameron’s renegotiations strategy, are concluded long before elections in France and Germany in 2017 where in the run up to those election the French & Germans might not be so amenable to Cameron’s demands as they might this year.

You can access the William Hill market here (they as far as I can see the only bookie offering more than just a specific year option)

Meanwhile in the Labour leadership race, William Hill, like Betfair, might also soon see crossover between Burnham & Cooper



The most important result on May 7th

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Why David Cameron might be grateful to Mark Reckless defecting

Whilst it might be accurate to say every constituency result on May the 7th was important, the result in Rochester & Strood might be the one that has most impact in this parliament. Anything that helps, to borrow LBJ’s maxim, about keeping the Eurosceptics inside the tent pissing out, rather than outside pissing in, is good for the Tories, Cameron and the continued life of this government.

Given the way the scheduled In/Out referendum has dominated events since the election (and will continue to do so, even after the result, particularly if it is a small victory for IN) and the smallness of his majority, defections to UKIP or scandal would be the major causes for that majority to be wiped out, as the health of Tory MPs in recent years has been exceptionally good (it is nearly a decade since the last Tory MP died of natural causes whilst in office, and only one in the last sixteen years.)

The chances of further defections to UKIP were reduced by Mark Reckless losing, and not only did he lose, but it was a very comfortable victory for the Tory candidate Kelly Tolhurst, I’m not sure many MPs will want to join Mark Reckless in potentially being a minor footnote in history, pour encourager les autres as they say, particularly if the current contretemps in UKIP end in Douglas Carswell leaving UKIP.

The odds on the year of the next General Election are available here, 2020 is at 2/5.




Latest on the Labour leadership race

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

We may soon see crossover between Burnham & Cooper

Implied percentages from the Betfair odds for winning the Labour leadership just now are 39.37% for Burnham and 36.23% for Cooper.

This may just be political gravity bringing the odds back down to a more realistic level, as many people thought Yvette Cooper longish odds were wrong. As Mike noted this morning, the Tories have been able to hang Stafford around Burnham’s neck & his response poor & ill-thought out.

Whereas Yvette Cooper has no such weakness, and if the Tories try and attack her over her past health problems or the fact she’s the wife of Ed Balls, the Tories will probably be damaged by the attacks, as they will come off as potentially unfair, misogynistic and plain nasty.

I also think this is a reflection from Wednesday’s debate, where Burnham was the recipient of the zinger of the night and Yvette Cooper gave a solid, safe, gaffe free performance.



Betting on the next Labour leader leading the party into the next general election

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Next Lab Leader William Hill Bet

There is a risk of Labour overcompensating for not removing Brown & Miliband.

During Wednesday’s debate, Andy Burnham and the other contenders admitted they would stand down as leader if they were a hindrance to Labour winning in 2020, the fact we’re having this debate is down to Labour realising they may have done better at the 2010 and 2015 elections if they had taken the opportunities to remove Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband.

Any mistake or poor polling will inevitability lead to speculation about the new leader’s future add in the likes of Alastair Campbell saying he will ‘Not To Bite His Tongue’ If New Labour Leader Looks Set To Fail in 2020 any poorly performing leader will be as doomed as a wife of Henry VIII, especially if they fail their first electoral test in May 2016.

During Gordon Brown’s honeymoon when he first became Prime Minister, some thought the Tory party would be better of removing David Cameron, but the Tory party held their nerve, would Labour do the same in this parliament?

The worrying thing for the next Labour leader is that they cannot rely on the polls to save them, their opponents will disregard it citing the great polling disaster of 2015 as to the inherent inaccuracy of polls. It will come down to in large part how the Labour party and the media perceive the new leader, do they have the gravitas to be an election winning leader and future Prime Minister?

To paraphrase Justice Stewart, Gravitas is a lot like pornography, it is difficult to define, but you know it when you see it, if they lack the gravitas to be an election winner or a future Prime Minister, then they will be gone. My advice to the next Labour Leader, don’t eat anything in public, nor should they forget the major political issues of the day from their speech to conference for starters.

Once the Labour next Labour leader has been elected, there should be markets up on whom specifically will be the Labour leader at the 2020 general election and that might provide more value than the 11/4 if you don’t think the next Labour leader will not make it to the general election.

You can access the William Hill market here.



Betting on who will finish last in the Labour leadership elections

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Paddy Finishing Last

Thinking about last night’s debate, this market is hard to call, Jeremy Corbyn did well, and seemed to be the most authentic and had a passion that others seemed to lack. Yvette Cooper came off as the safety first candidate, whilst Andy Burnham had an annoying habit of talking over Laura Kuenessberg and the other candidates which did not look good.

As Mike noted on twitter last night, Andy Burnham reminded us why in 2010 just 8.5% of Labour members give him their first choice vote. Liz Kendall had an okayish night, but she probably came up with the zinger of the night.

The context of this clip was would Andy Burnham stand aside in a few years time if it seemed like he was going to lead Labour to defeat, and his answer was fine in that context, but in the world of politics, sometimes perceptions matter more than the facts, and I get the feeling this will hurt Andy Burnham, you just know, were he to be Labour leader at the next election, the Tories will use that clip, relentlessly. Particularly if Liz Kendall were to use “The country comes first” as her campaign slogan.

But this is what should alarm all the leadership candidates (small sample size, but it was a small sample size focus group that helped propel David Cameron to the Tory leadership in 2005)

Hopefully we should see some polling shortly on what the voters think, now we know who will be on the ballot paper, so calling this market might be easier.

The link to the Paddy Power market is available here.

If you missed it, the debate is available on the iplayer here.