Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Matthew Shaddick: Why the betting markets are over-rating Marine Le Pen’s chances

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Shadsy of Ladbrokes on how punters are viewing the French Presidential race

Ladbrokes are currently building up a very big liability on a Marine Le Pen victory in May’s French Presidential election. I’d be very surprised if that isn’t also the case with all of the other fixed-odds bookmakers offering odds.

I’m happy with that, as I can see some very good reasons why the betting markets are over-rating her chances.

1. It’s possible that a lot of people betting on her are not all that familiar with the electoral system. Plenty of media reports will refer to her as leading in the polls, and it’s true she is ahead in some of the first round voting intentions.But, in the second round match ups, it’s not even close; she’s typically polling 30pts behind the other likely runners. Trump and Brexit were never remotely that far behind in the run-up to those votes.

For various regulatory reasons, French voters are mostly going to find it very hard to place a bet on the election, so the people who really do know the system are minor players in this market

2. The Brexit/Trump winners are playing up their winnings.. Plenty of people have done very nicely out of betting on politics over the last couple of years. A Tory majority, the referendum and Trump all lined the pockets of the casual political punter who was prepared to ignore the “experts”, the polls and the markets. I can see that a lot of those are continuing to ride that wave with Le Pen. Maybe they will be right again, but more likely this factor will lead to her being over-bet.

3. Le Pen is the story as far as the media are concerned, certainly in the UK. No report on the election could possibly leave her out, but frequently nobody mentions Macron who, in my opinion, has a much better chance of becoming President. With some UK bookies, Macron is over twice the price.

If you want a better estimate of Le Pen’s chances, I’d look at the markets at Hypermind. Normally, evidence shows that prediction markets where cash is at stake provide better estimates but, in this case, I’m not so sure.

Hypermind is a French based “SuperForecaster” effort, which is one big plus. If you’d been following it earlier in the campaign you might be sitting on some very nice bets on Fillon, as their forecasting saw his chances improve much before the betting markets. You could have got 33/1 a couple of weeks before the Republican primary. He’s now odds-on.

Currently, Hypermind gives Le Pen a 12% chance of winning, which equates to about 7/1. Macron is showing as about a 24% chance – almost 3/1. He’s still a good bet at the bookies.

Matthew Shaddick (Shadsy) is Head of Political Odds at Ladbrokes


And now BuzzWord bingo on Trump’s Inaugural speech

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Can you guess the words/phrases he might use?

Well done to Shadsy, head of political odds at Ladbrokes, for getting this together – buzzword bingo on what’s almost certainly going to be the most watched and scrutinised political speech of 2017 – the Trump address at his inauguration on January 20th.

These require a huge amount of work by the bookie and and awful lot of risk. Trump has made very few set-piece speeches though his very extensive Twitter feed provides no end of clues.

He uses the word “corrupt” a lot and that seems value at 2/1 and I like hackers at 4/1 and BREXIT at 5/1. The 10/1 on “fake news” might be worth a punt.

Best of luck.

Mike Smithson


Why I’ve backed Diane Abbott to be next Labour leader

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

I can’t quite believe I placed this bet

Two of my underlying assumptions about politics in this country are 1) Jeremy Corbyn will be Labour leader at the next general election and 2) Were a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour party to lose a general election (especially if it is a comprehensive defeat) Labour will return to political sanity and appoint someone more centrist and electable, but what if those assumptions are wrong, cui bono?

I’ve decided it is Diane Abbott. Were Corbyn to stand down before the general election he’ll want to try and and hand over to someone who espouses the kind of politics and policies he does, so that benefits Diane Abbott, (to achieve this Corbyn will need to change the nomination process, so a candidate needs far fewer nominations than now.) Abbott is his long standing friend over several decades, political soulmate, and ally, which would be an advantage for her. She also has some other talents and advantages listed below.

  • She’s a polished television performer, honed after appearing on This Week alongside Andrew Neil, who I consider to be the finest political interviewer at the moment. Corbyn is a poor media performer, see this as an example of Corbyn’s poor handling of the media, Abbott will be an improvement on Corbyn.
  • She’s an educated lady, she read History under Professor Simon Schama at the finest university in the world, The University of Cambridge. I don’t think Corbyn has the nous or intellectual self confidence to deal with things outside his comfort zone, Ms Abbott has those qualities in abundance, regardless of whether you agree with her policies or not.
  • Unlike Jeremy Corbyn she will have experience of shadowing front bench roles were she to become leader, which is one of the reasons I think Jeremy Corbyn struggles in Parliament, he had no front bench experience prior to becoming leader, which I believe is unprecedented in recent times.
  • She doesn’t appear to have the more controversial back stories and comments that Jeremy Corbyn (and John McDonnell) have with organisations such as Sinn Fein,the IRA, and Hamas that should be so destabilising for Labour during a general election campaign.

The other assumption I mentioned above was that after a defeat/shellacking at a general election Labour would return to political sanity, but what if they don’t and decide to go someone with a similar political outlook to Corbyn. Again that benefits Diane Abbott.

As an opinion pollster, speaking exclusively in an entirely personal capacity and in no way representative of his employer put it about Corbynites ‘these days anybody who doesn’t get visibly aroused by the sound of an Enver Hoxha speech is a Blairite,’ whilst that view remains in the ascendancy amongst the Labour membership someone on the left of the Labour party will appeal to them as Leader, not a centrist nor someone on the right wing of Labour. The fact that Diane Abbott might be Labour’s first female leader and the first BAME leader of a major party might also appeal to the Labour electorate.

Less than 24 hours ago I placed some bets between 99/1 and 119/1 on Diane Abbott as next Labour leader, at the time of writing this thread, late on Saturday night, the bests odds on Diane Abbott being next Labour leader were 66/1 with Paddy Power, which implies a sub 1.5% chance of Diane Abbott being next Labour leader, I think the chances are higher, that’s why I’ve staked money on it.

Hat-tip to PBer RochdalePioneers for providing the inspiration for this bet and thread.


PS – In alternate universe Diane Abbott is Labour leader, in 2010 Jeremy Corbyn, not Diane Abbott, was the far left Labour candidate in the Labour leadership contest and received 7.42% of the vote, whilst in 2015 Diane Abbott was the far left Labour leadership candidate nominated to widen the debate in the leadership contest, and won.


At some stage some of the “will Trump survive” bets will be value

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

But I’m not tempted at the moment

In the days leading up to Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th we are going to see a lot of speculation on whether he’s going to survive. Certainly his links with Putin and the suggestions that the Russians might have tried to influence the election are causing much debate within his party.

Yet it is hard to assess whether this will lead to anything and I for one don’t like locking up cash in bets that could take years to come to fruition.

So for the moment I’m giving this a miss but will be watching things closely.

Mike Smithson


When LAB eventually gets over its Corbyn-madness Keir Starmer would be an effective replacement

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017



Nobody knows when Corbyn is finally going to step down but that surely is bound to happen in the not-too distant future. At some point the party will get over its temporary madness and decide that winning elections is once again a priority.

How and when that will happen is hard to predict. His uber-loyalists won’t have anything said against their man and woe betide anyone, as I’ve discovered in the past 24 hours, who raises doubts about JC’s electability.

I was one of the guests on Newsnight’s first programme of 2017 and made comments about the current leader’s electability that have sparked off attacks on me. Sobeit.

Looking round the one LAB figure who appears like a leader and is now clear favourite in the betting is Keir Starmer – the shadow BREXIT secretary – a position that should ensure that he gets a lot of coverage in the coming months. The problem with betting at this stage is that there is simply too much uncertainty.

Some bookies now have him down as tight as 11/2.

Mike Smithson


2017 opens for Corbyn with top union boss raising doubts about his performance and future

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Latest betting on whether JC will survive until General Election


A look at the next American Secretary of State market

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

A look at the next US. Secretary of State market by RKRKRK

The Betfair market makes Trump’s pick Rex Tillerson an overwhelming favourite at c. 90% to be confirmed by the US Senate.

Historically nominees normally make it through – the last Cabinet nominee rejected by the Senate was back in 1989. However nominees also sometimes withdraw from the process- Obama lost 3 nominees that way: Tom Daschle (unpaid taxes), Bill Richardson (investigation for pay-to-play allegations) and Judd Gregg (Republican who changed his mind citing disagreements over stimulus bill and US Census).

But why might Tillerson be unsuccessful?

The politico story into how Donald Trump chose Rex Tillerson is a fascinating insight into his decision making process. But it also reveals how quickly that decision was made – which suggests a lack of proper vetting.

It’s clear that Tillerson’s extremely close relations with Russia will prove an issue. Obama has ordered a review into Russian interference which will ensure media focus on Russian relations. Will the Senate hearings turn up other issues from Rex’s past?

Tillerson’s nomination must pass through the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and then pass a vote in the Senate. Republicans have a 10-9 advantage in the Committee so only one Republican needs to join the Democrats to block his nomination.

However Tillerson does have the support of the Committee Chairman Bob Corker- who has also stated his committee will not demand to see tax returns. Tillerson also has support from GOP foreign policy heavyweights Condoleeza Rice, Robert Gates and James Baker.

For the nomination to fail in the wider Senate vote would require three Republican rebels as well as a united front from Democrats. Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have both stated they intend to push stronger sanctions against Russia in the next Congress. They will hardly be keen then to approve a Secretary of State who has previously lobbied to have Russian sanctions lifted.

Marco Rubio is another potential rebel– he says he has “serious concerns” – but unlike Graham and McCain he still has Presidential ambitions to consider. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford has also expressed some reservations.

Democrats are fuming at Trump’s rejection of Russian interference in the election and may sense the prospect of dealing Trump a major defeat early on. Graham and McCain have little to lose from opposing Trump, but I suspect other Republican Senators will be hesitant and will seek strength in numbers if they do choose to rebel.

It’s not likely that Tillerson will fail- but I think it’s tempting at the available odds. I’ve laid Tillerson a little and also taken a small punt on Romney at 119/1.

Please do your own research before betting – this article may contain mistakes!


A 20/1 tip to start off 2017

Sunday, January 1st, 2017


Why I’m taking the 20/1 on Farage being UKIP leader at the end of 2017

Betway have some specials up on what will happen to UKIP in 2017, the one that caught my attention was Nigel Farage to end 2017 as UKIP leader at 20/1, much like a persistent rash, Nigel Farage regularly returns as the next UKIP leader. Ladbrokes make it 3/1 that Nigel Farage will be the next UKIP leader, so by my reckoning the 20/1 on Farage to end 2017 as UKIP leader is value and here’s why.

2017 will be the year Mrs May will have to explain what Brexit actually means and I suspect whatever she proposes it will not satisfy Nigel Farage and the more passionate leavers and that might help UKIP find a role (and votes) in the post Brexit world, but is Paul Nuttal the man best to exploit that? I have my doubts, especially if Doctor Nuttal performs poorly in the by election in the Leave supporting constituency of Leigh.

Intriguingly there is the belief among many Tories that charges are inevitable relating to Thanet South, and a successful prosecution would lead to a by election. In the past governments have lost by elections in seats with majorities even larger than the majority in Thanet South, I can see Farage standing in the resulting by election and winning, that would give UKIP their first MP that wasn’t a defector-incumbent.

Whatever you think of Farage, he is undoubtedly political box office, especially if he retains his close links with President-Elect Donald Trump, coupled with him finally becoming an MP, it would make sense for Farage to regain the UKIP leadership, especially with no European Parliament elections in 2019 for UKIP to win to cement their status as a major party in a general election.

The odds imply that it is less than a 5% chance that Farage ends 2017 as UKIP leader, for the reasons above, my view is that the chances are higher, if  you agree, take the 20/1.