Archive for the 'Betting' Category


A couple of general election betting markets

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Next GE

Ladbrokes have a market up on if the Tory or Labour share of the vote will rise or fall at the next general election. On the Tory front it is no bet for me simply because whilst the Tory party is doing well at the moment the Brexit negotiations do have the potential to tear asunder the Tory Party like the Corn Laws did a couple of hundred years ago, which could potentially boost UKIP.

On the Labour front if Jeremy Corbyn remains Labour leader at the next general election, then the 4/6 seems the best option, even if pay out is nearly four years away, however the only way I can see Labour’s share of the vote rising at the next election is if Jeremy Corbyn isn’t the leader and he isn’t replaced by someone from the Corbynite left.

In that case, it might be more prudent to wait until the bookies open up their markets on ‘Labour leader at the general election’ markets where there could be potential value.



The open field: Picking the next Labour leader

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Whatever the general public think of Jeremy Corbyn, the bookies must love him.  He has been at the centre of one of the wildest betting markets I can recall, the Next Labour Leader market.  He has not yet been leader of the Labour party for a year but already in that time we have seen wild oscillations.  In that time, at least fifteen candidates have been traded on Betfair at prices of 10/1 or shorter (some far shorter).  At the time of writing Owen Smith is the favourite and he was last traded on Betfair at 10/1.  Some of the erstwhile darlings are trading in three figures.  On the assumption that the conventional bookmakers have seen the same swings, it seems a safe bet that they must be sitting on a very tidy looking position.

*It is a very instructive market.  Those punters who spent the last year on this market laying the favourite from time to time will be sitting on fabulous positions.  Those punters who believed the hype will not. Fortunately I have in the main been laying rather than backing on this market.

But now there is no hot favourite.  How should we play the market now?

The first thing to note is that the Betfair market has an underround.  If you were to back all the candidates listed at appropriate stakes, you would get a profit of just under 3% if one of those candidates eventually got the job.

However, beware.  There is no guarantee that the winner is currently listed.  While 71 names might seem quite enough, there are more than three times as many Labour MPs in the House of Commons right now and it is entirely conceivable that the next Labour leader is not yet in Parliament.  Jeremy Corbyn might yet have a much longer shelf life as Labour leader than is commonly expected.

Having struck that note of caution, I believe that it is nevertheless pretty likely that the ultimate successor to Jeremy Corbyn is on this fairly comprehensive list and the underround on Betfair is an indication that there is probably some value there.  So, unusually, it looks like time to move from laying to backing.

It’s always harder picking winners than spotting losers.  This is especially so in volatile cases, and the Labour party at present is pretty much the definition of volatile.  So we should bet cautiously and seek to cover quite a few options.

The first thing that you need to do is take a view of Owen Smith’s chances in the current leadership election campaign.  While I agree with Don Brind that we have no particularly definitive evidence of the result, all the straws in the wind are blowing in one direction.  If Owen Smith loses this time it is hard at present to imagine him being given a second chance in the short term: the baton will pass to another challenger.  So I’m betting against Owen Smith rather than on him.

So if Owen Smith falls by the wayside, what next?  The non-Corbynites aren’t going to shut up.  They’re going to leave the party or they’re going to wait for the moment to challenge Jeremy Corbyn again.  We’ll probably see a bit of both.  My own take is that they are unlikely to succeed but all things are possible.  We can expect the non-Corbynites in due course to put forward a candidate who, like Owen Smith, is intended to appeal to the widest possible section of the party.

That rules out anyone on the right of the party who is unable credibly to tack to the centre.  But it leaves candidates like Lisa Nandy, Stephen Kinnock, Keir Starmer and perhaps Dan Jarvis.  None of them look particularly long-priced to me, however, given my assessment of their chances of success so I’ll pass for now.  Next time the non-Corbynites should more seriously consider getting behind a woman challenger to play on the widely expressed fears of left wing misogyny.  It was a mistake not to run with Angela Eagle this time.  If there is to be another time, they should look again at this aspect.

We might yet see a unity candidate come forward if the party successfully seeks to put its differences aside under new management.  It’s hard to see past Tom Watson for this role (Ed Miliband and Alan Johnson are other possibilities, and I have already backed Ed Miliband at 200/1).  I’ve made sure that I’m long on Tom Watson.

The final – and to my mind most likely – permutation is that Jeremy Corbyn will in due course be replaced by another true believer.  If Jeremy Corbyn wins this time, he should have the time and space to change the leadership election rules to ensure that Labour MPs cannot exclude candidates who the membership would vote for.  Two candidates stand out: John McDonnell and Clive Lewis.  I tipped John McDonnell at 50/1 and he is now available on Betfair at 10/1.  To my mind he should be something closer to 3/1 since it is easy to imagine Jeremy Corbyn passing him the baton once the left’s grip on the party was unchallengeable.  Clive Lewis has so far proved the most effective of the younger generation of Corbynites and would be less objectionable to the rest of the party than John McDonnell.  He is currently priced at 15/1 on Betfair and again I think this price is far too long – I would make him something like a 4/1 shot.  I’m very happy to have built up a position on both of these.

You will note that I have not considered what leader might be appealing to the general public.  The next Labour leader will not be chosen by the general public and it is fairly clear that the Labour party electorate does not in the main regard that as a priority.  So neither should we when placing our bets.

Alastair Meeks



Everybody salsa for a Labour King over the water

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Can Ed Balls use his appearance on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing to increase his chances of becoming the next Labour Leader?

No, this isn’t a shameless attempt to make John Rentoul’s QTWTAIN list, again, but I do think appearing on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing might help Ed Balls reputation and popularity with the public and introduce him to the wider public that don’t follow politics intimately.

At the end of June David Herdson wrote a persuasive piece why Ed Balls might be the answer to Labour’s woes. Labour doesn’t have that many politicians of Ed Balls talent, the party could do with him back in Parliament.

One of the advantages of Ed Balls losing his seat at the last general election might be that he doesn’t enrage the Corbynistas regularly in the way most of the current PLP have done so, which could impact in a future leadership contest, also losing his seat does allow him to appear on this year’s Strictly.

I cast my mind back to Boris Johnson’s appearances as first panellist, then presenter of Have I Got News For You which allowed him to enter the public consciousness in a way other politicians were unable to do so. Ed Balls could use Strictly to be a springboard for his career in the way Boris Johnson used Have I Got News For You for his career. As an aside, you could argue because of one man’s alleged use of cocaine and prostitutes helped contribute to The United Kingdom voting to Leave the European Union on June 23rd.

I’ve never rated David Miliband as highly as I have Ed Balls, David Miliband is 16/1 to be next Labour leader, whereas Ed Balls is 100/1. To my mind the odds should be the other way around. Several bookies are offering 100/1 on Ed Balls being the next Labour leader, it is worth a punt in my view.

The new season of Strictly Come Dancing begins on BBC1 tonight at 6.50pm, and Ed Balls is also 100/1 to win that, my money is on Louise Redknapp, whose best price is 13/2.




Will Jeremy Hunt be Health Secretary on the 1st of January 2017?

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016


William Hill have brought back their market on whether or not Jeremy Hunt will be Health Secretary on the 1st of January 2017 in light of the announcement this week of further strike action by junior doctors. Normally I’m loathe to back 1/6 bets, however I’m prepared to make an exception to get a 16% return in a little under 4 months for the following reasons.

i) On Thursday Theresa May described Jeremy Hunt as an excellent Health Secretary and accused The British Medical association of playing politics with the lives of patients.

ii) Support for the doctors’ strike has fallen by 17% whilst opposition to the strike has increased by 17% since February.

iii) Unlike before, some of the country’s most senior doctors have condemned the planned strikes.

So Hunt has the support of the new Prime Minister, public support is slipping from the Doctors, whilst some of the most experienced doctors in the country are publicly condemning the strike, all of this makes me think Hunt isn’t going anywhere, that’s enough for me to back him still being Health Secretary on the 1st of January.

If you want to back the other side of the bet, the poll that I cited earlier on, still has a majority of the public backing the doctors, and the same poll also found only 20% of the public supported Theresa May reappointing Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary, whilst 51% opposed the reappointment.



Betting on when we see the next UK interest rate rise

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Interest Rates

William Hill have a market up on when ‘Will the Bank Of England Base Rate next rise from its current (August 2016) rate of 0.25%?’ I’m not an economist, so this piece should be viewed in that spirit, but my hunch is to go for the first half of 2017.

My rationale is that many felt Mark Carney’s decision to cut interest rates was a mistake, especially in light of his remarks prior to June 23rd which indicated Brexit would lead to a rise in interest rates, additionally, Chair of the US Federal Reserve, saying last week the case for a rate rise has strengthened.

With Article 50 expected to be triggered early in the new year and our post Brexit landscape being clarified next year, that might also impact on the economy, and it should be remembered the economic mood was indicating a slowing economy well before Le Royaume-Uni voted to leave the European Union.



George Osborne, the modern day Winston Churchill?

Thursday, September 1st, 2016


If Brexit does turn out be an economic mistake then could country turn to the man who warned about the risks of Brexit?

We’ve been here before, a charismatic former Tory Chancellor who warned the country and Tory party against a particular course of action, his counsel was ignored, he was exiled on the backbenches whilst his warnings initially proved to be incorrect.

But in the fullness of  time it was proved Winston Churchill was right and the appeasers were wrong, we might see something similar, if like the appeasers, the Brexiteers initial correct assessments make them act in a de haut en bas manner. Hubris will not go down well with the electorate, especially if the Brexit deal proves particularly sub-optimal for the UK economy.

A minor slowdown could be explained away as part of the normal economic cycle, but a longer and deeper recession is probably George Osborne’s best hope of becoming Tory leader and Prime Minister, like Winston Churchill when the country is in need will they call for the man who was proved right? William Hill have George Osborne at 20/1 to be next Tory leader, I’ve had a bet.

I suspect even Osborne’s many critics would agree with the Churchill comparison, after all after Churchill’s first general election as Tory leader, the Tories lost nearly 200 MPs as Labour took power in a landslide.



How post BREXIT the bookmakers are looking at WH2016

Friday, August 26th, 2016


A certainty – maybe not

With three months to go until election day, people all over the world are lining up to place their bets on who’s going to take on the role of the 45th president of the United States after Barak Obama’s two-term presidency. Up until now, the odds have been everywhere – Donald Trump may have started off with odds that would make you a millionaire if he was elected, but right now, the fact that he could soon be leading one of the most powerful countries in the world is both scaring and exciting millions of people, depending on which side you’re on. But, if the odds are anything to go by, Hilary Clinton is still in the lead, with the wife of former U.S. president Bill Clinton polling strongly during the move along the campaign trail, giving her a solid lead over Republican nominee and immigrant-proof wall-builder Donald Trump.

Is Clinton in the Lead?

It would be safe to say that Hilary Clinton is currently taking the lead, however, when it comes to political betting, it’s always good to remember that sometimes, elections can go a completely different way from how the majority of people envisioned. One of the best recent examples of this is the EU Referendum in the United Kingdom, with bookies placing massive odds on the public voting to leave – a ‘remain’ vote was definitely the favourite, a mistake which cost dearly as the 23rd June saw Britain decide to Brexit with a 52% majority vote. The CEO of Bookmaker Ratings, Paruyr Shahbazyan, said at the time “the shock of Brexit definitely surprised a lot of bookmakers. It’s likely the bookies will be setting tighter odds for the US election, just in case”.

When it comes to the U.S. presidential election, Clinton appears to hold a considerable lead in several of the key states, including New York and California – states which have the most and third-most electoral delegates. However, Donald Trump is currently reigning supreme in Texas, the state with the second-most electoral delegates.

Is the Gap Closing?

Although Hilary Clinton seems to be firmly in the lead, the Republican Convention saw the presidential odds begin to tighten. After Clinton’s extended period of being dominantly in the lead according to the odds, Donald Trump has started to close the gap and creep a little bit closer to being in the lead. And, the bad news for Clinton supporters is that whilst Trump’s odds have been rising, Clinton’s have been doing the exact opposite and falling. Of course, if your money is on Trump to win the presidential election, this is great news for you. However, let’s not forget about Republican newcomer Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative who has recently announced that he will be running for president as a conservative alternative to Donald Trump – great news for anti-Trump Republicans who were unsure of which way to vote.


It’s safe to say that this year’s presidential election in the U.S. will be a stand-off between billionaire media mogul Donald Trump and former First Lady Hilary Clinton, who will become the first female president of the United States if she is elected. It’s worth noting that Clinton’s odds have not yet fallen below those of Donald Trump, as her potential position as the first female president has incited millions of vote from women who want to finally see another woman in power.

On the other hand, Donald Trump was the only presumptive nominee for a month after Ted Cruz and John Kasich both suspended their campaigns within twenty-four hours of one another back in May. Although Clinton gained enough delegates to win the nomination before the Democratic Convention, her opponent Bernie Sanders vowed to take his campaign all the way to Cleveland, before losing the final primary by a huge margin in the District of Columbia on June 14.

The Presidential Race

This year’s presidential race has certainly proven to be one of the most interesting of all time, with many of the candidates defying the odds to win or lose at different points. From a betting perspective, Clinton has always been a firm favourite to win, however, Donald Trump, who’s now the bookies’ second favourite, was just a ludicrous long-shot when he first announced that he would be running in the election. So far, the race for POTUS has taught us one thing – anything can happen!

Who are you backing to win?

Vince D


The latest Farage farrago, Douglas Carswell is accused of helping the Tories defeat Farage in Thanet South

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Can or will Douglas Carswell remain a UKIP MP if senior Kippers are making these allegations?

Forget traingate this is the political story of the week, although I can sympathise with those who say a UKIP internal squabbling story is up there with a dog bites man story, but this story has achieved that rare feat, leaving me lost for words.

Senior members of Ukip have accused the party’s only MP of helping the Conservatives defeat Nigel Farage in South Thanet in the general election last year, according to Ukip’s main donor, Arron Banks.

Farage, then the leader of Ukip, was beaten by the Tory candidate, Craig Mackinlay, after a controversial campaign in the Kent constituency.

Banks’s company has written to Kent police with the allegation that Douglas Carswell, the Ukip MP for Clacton, helped the Tory campaign retain the seat. It details allegations that Carswell downloaded Ukip data for South Thanet and passed it to the Conservatives, enabling them to do “push polling” of key voters.

Push polling is when an apparently unbiased telephone survey spreads negative rumours about a candidate.

Carswell defected to Ukip from the Tories in 2014 but has had a fraught relationship with both Banks and Farage.

According to the letter, Carswell was granted access to the Ukip database but then only accessed the South Thanet data.

A letter sent to the police by Precision Risk & Intelligence, where Banks is chief executive, claims that “we have evidence of excessive spending by the Conservatives and secretive dealings between them and a senior Ukip representative to collude against Mr Farage”.

It should be noted that Douglas Carswell has quite pithily denied these allegations, he said “There is no basis in these claims whatsoever. We should just be relieved that those responsible for the disastrous campaign in South Thanet were not responsible for the successful referendum campaign.” 

But given that these allegations it might be worth looking at this market being offered by Ladbrokes on Douglas Carswell resigning the UKIP whip in 2016.

Carswel Whip

Given the time constraints it is no bet for me, even given Carswell’s past form for leaving political parties and the allegations made against him this week, the bet will not pay out if he is expelled from UKIP. UKIP does have a history of kneecapping* the internal opponents of Nigel Farage, as Suzanne Evans, the Lady Jane Grey of UKIP, can attest to.


*That’s a metaphorical kneecapping, not a literal one.