Archive for the 'PB’s “The Money Says” Index' Category


Punters still fight shy of a hung parliament

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

342 – 347 Sporting Index
340 – 345 ExtraBet
346 – 349.5 Betfair Line market

218 – 223 Sporting Index
220 – 225 ExtraBet
213 – 218 Betfair Line market

53 – 56 Sporting Index
54 – 57 ExtraBet
53.5 – 54 Betfair Line market

This is the first PB Index for nine days and it shows only a four seat drop in the projected Tory majority since February 13.

The spread prices featured above shows thart the money continues to support a reasonable Tory majority even though this is a bit out of line with recent polling.

We are seeing the same characteristic that we’ve observed before – the Tory poll lead is getting smaller but there are few gamblers about prepared to back Labour.

The PB Index is an attempt to show how gamblers are viewing the coming election by extrapolating a projected outcome from betting prices.

Mike Smithson


PB Index: Con majority up 4

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

The Labour backers continue to stay away

Surprisingly, given, the latest ICM poll, the PB Index has seen a four seat upwards movement of the projected Tory majority. This has been mostly driven by changes in the latest prices from Sporting Index which now have CON 342 – 347: LAB 218 – 223: LD 53 -56 seats. The Extrabet market does not seem to operate at the weekend

The Betfair line markets is virtually unchanged.

So the roller-coaster February on the spreads continues with the market numbers being out of alignment with the latest polls when applied to a seat calculation on a strict UNS basis.

These might be pointing to a hung parliament but very few punters, it would seem, are ready to risk their hard-earned cash on it.

I just wonder whether Andy Cooke’s analysis on the previous thread might have had something to do with it.

  • The PB index seeks to extrapolate an election prediction based on how the betting markets are moving.
  • Mike Smithson

    Ukraine exit polls update:

    Now available at the Election Game:

    Double Carpet


    The PB Index moves back 4 seats to the Tories

    Friday, February 5th, 2010

    340 – 345 Sporting Index
    338 – 343 ExtraBet
    344 – 347 Betfair Line market

    220 – 225 Sporting Index
    221 – 226 ExtraBet
    215.5 – 221.5 Betfair Line market

    53 – 56 Sporting Index
    54 – 57 ExtraBet
    53 – 53.5 Betfair Line market

    Has the Ipsos-MORI aggregate moved the markets?

    After a week which saw a dramatic move against the Tories on the spread betting markets things have now settled down and it is the Tories who are seeing their spreads move forward.

    As a result the PB Index, which seeks to extrapolate an election outcome based on what the betting markets are doing, has moved upwards by four seats and is now showing a projected Tory majority of 36.

    Although this is progress for the blue team the projection only six days ago was for a majority of 50.

    There’s been no new polling in the intervening period but there has been the MORI aggregate data for all its 2009 polling suggesting that the swing to the Tories in Labour held marginals was running well ahead of the swings elsewhere – thus adding weight to the marginals-only polling which points to better than average swing to the Tories in the battle-ground seats.

    On top of that the markets have been steadied by Cameron’s more sure-footed performance at PMQs on Wednesday.

    I’ve had a pretty good punting week. I sold the Tories at 350 seats on Sunday night and closed down the contract at 338. I had the same twelve seat change with a Labour buy bet. Then yesterday I went back in again as a Labour seller and Tory and managed to trade at the markets’ lowest Tory level for nearly a year.

    Mike Smithson


    PB Index drops six seats after the weekend polls

    Monday, February 1st, 2010

    347 – 352 Sporting Index
    343 – 348 ExtraBet
    351.5 – 355.5 Betfair Line market

    212 – 217 Sporting Index
    213 – 218 ExtraBet
    211 – 214 Betfair Line market

    53 – 56 Sporting Index
    55 – 58 ExtraBet
    53 – 53.5 Betfair Line market

    But the money is still well ahead of the seat projections

    As suggested here on Saturday morning the tightening of the Tory polling position over Labour has had an impact on the spread betting markets – where punters “trade” in the number of seats the parties will get at the election.

    In the immediate aftermath of the Telegraph YouGov poll showing the lead down to just seven points there was a five seat drop on the spreads – which is equivalent to a 10 seat drop in the overall majority. That moved back a bit following the People’s YouGov poll but still the Tory position as we enter a new week is quite a bit down.

    Even at these reduced levels punters are taking a much more bullish view of Tory chances than three of the last four opinion polls and there seem to be very few gamblers about ready to risk their cash on Labour.

    A problem that pollsters still have is the form book. Only one of the 31 pre-election surveys since 1987 has over-stated Labour.

    The PB Index is calculated by taking the average mid-points on the spread markets and extrapolating that into a projected commons majority. The aim is to show where the money is going.

  • My betting – I’m a Tory seller at 350, a Labour buyer at 210 and a Lib Dem buyer at 50 seats.
  • Follow me on Twitter at @MikeSmithsonPB
  • Mike Smithson


    The money goes on a Tory majority of 56 seats

    Thursday, January 28th, 2010

    How gamblers are seeing the election

    There’s hardly been any movement for months on the PB Index – the site’s attempt to extrapolate a general election result from how political gamblers are risking their cash on the party seat markets.

    Here it’s all about the balance of money with some punters wanting to sell and others wanting to buy.

    The PB Index is worked out by taking the mid-point spreads on the Betfair party line market and the spread betting markets of which only Extrabet is open tonight.

    This is probably showing a Tory outcome slightly ahead of most of the polls.

    Mike Smithson


    CON MAJ moves down 8 seat on PB Index

    Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

    The PB Index: CON MAJ 52 (-8)

    When we last calculated the PB Index just four days ago the differing numbers from the two weekend polls seemed to be cancelling each other out – at least in the eyes of punters wanting to risk their money.

    But that’s all changed following the publication of the Guardian ICM poll which had the Tories unchanged on 40% but saw the Labour share move up two to 31 points.

    The PB Index, is calculated by taking the average of mid-points on the main commons seat betting markets and then extrapolating them into a General Election outcome.

    What seems to have happened, as our regular betting poster URW has observed, is that some hefty amounts of money have gone on Labour on one of them – Sporting Index – where the spreads have moved from CON 352-357: LAB 208-213: LD 50-53 on Sunday to the latest CON 345-350: LAB 215-220: LD 50-53

    Interestingly there’s hardly been any change at all on the the Betfair commons seat line market where the main Tory and Labour spreads have stayed exactly the same at CON 352-360: LAB 208-214.

    There’s one poll that was taken over the weekend that’s still to be published – the December Ipsos-MORI monitor. Last month we had to wait nearly a week to get the numbers which appeared in the following weekend’s Observer. It looks like the same is happening again which is frustrating – because when it comes out it will be quite old. But that’s the polling business.

    Mike Smithson


    The polls: Punters give their verdict

    Sunday, December 13th, 2009

    The PB Index: CON MAJ 60 (nc)

    After a night which has seen two very different views on the state of political opinion in the country what better than to look at how punters are reacting. Are they putting their cash behind the YouGov 40-31-16 or the ComRes 41-24-21? That’s a huge variation in the Labour share which it is hard to explain.

    Today’s PB Index, which is calculated by taking the average of mid-points on the main seat betting markets and then extrapolating that into a General Election outcome, shows no change on the projection of December 3rd – the last time that we covered it.

    During that period we have seen almost all the main pollsters producing new surveys and, of course, Labour’s critical PBR statement last Wednesday.

      The Sporting Index spreads are: CON 352-357: LAB 208-213: LD 50-53 seats.

      On the Betfair line market it is CON 352-360: LAB 208-214: LD 51-52: SNP 9.5-12.5: PC 4.5-5.5

    I have now closed down my Labour buy spread contract at 208 seats – one more than the level that I bought at. So there’s a minuscule to pick up and which I can get immediately. My only other spread position is a Lib Dem buy at 50 seats which I’m staying with.

    My understanding is that there are at least two major polls in the field at the moment and we should get the figures early next week. One of them is from Ipsos-MORI which last month sparked off the hung parliament talk when it had C37-L31-LD17.

    Will MORI be narrow or wider? My guess is the latter but who knows?

    Mike Smithson


    A tale of two markets by Peter the Punter

    Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

    CON 358-363 LAB 202-207 LD 52-55

    Betfair GE Party Line
    CON 350-355 LAB 205-207.5 LD 50-54.5

    Why are the prices so different?

    Has anybody else noticed the discrepancy between the GE Spreads and Betfair’s ‘Party Seats Line’? The mid point sell of Labour on SPIN is 204.5; on the PSL it is 207.25.

    Not a lot of difference, you might think. But hold on. The PSL sell price should always be *lower* than the spreads, not higher, as it is now. The reason for this is the very different nature of the risk.

    The spreads don’t really reflect the actual result people imagine will occur. Punters have to factor in the relative risk in taking a position. Labour’s spread price is so low that the potential theoretical profit is much smaller than the theoretical loss.

    So, even if you have a pessimistic view of Labour’s chances, as I do, you may still be reluctant to sell at the current price of 202 because it’s hard to imagine a profit of more than, say, 50 points and the theoretical loss if things turn the other way is enormous, and even if you think the chances of that happening are slim, you might still be reluctant to risk it and/or tie up funds, especially if you have to stump up margin payments.

    It is for this reason that anybody looking at the SPIN prices as a guide to Labour’s probable representation after the next GE would need to knock off about 25 seats to arrive at a more realistic estimate.

    The PSL carries much less risk and is therefore a much more accurate guide to what punters think the final GE result will be. In the PSL market, you are always betting evens. Your potential losses are limited to your stake and you therefore know exactly what they can be when you place the bet. In other words you are guessing ‘higher or lower’ when you make the bet and the market is a true snapshot view of what punters expect to happen. No adjustment is necessary to arrive at punters’ estimates of the eventual GE outcome.

    Unless somebody can point out the logic in my argument, it seems that the SPIN and PSL sell prices for Labour (and by implication their other prices too) are inconsistent.

    One of them has to be wrong, and by quite a wide margin. Which one? My guess is that it’s the PSL. My own guestimate of Labour’s GE result is about 180 – and I think I’m being generous. I won’t sell on the SPIN market at the current price of 202 because the risk isn’t worth it for, say, 22 points and in any case I am well stocked up with Labour sells at better prices. But I will jolly well sell on the PSL market, and I have done. When Labour are trounced at the GE, as I am sure they will be, I expect to pick up a bonus £500 from my PSL sells, in addition to my SPIN profits. Unless Labour’s fortunes reverse dramatically, this looks like a surefire win.

    Why is the PSL so far out? I think people just don’t understand how it works. This is reflected by the poor liquidity. That will change as the election approaches. Meanwhile, I would suggest to other political punters out there that there are bargains to be had (in decent sums) on the PSL market if you don’t mind tying up a few quid until the GE.

    Happy punting!


    Peter the Punter

  • Note from Mike: Peter is out tonight but will join the discussion later