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Monday Call – August 23 2004 [next planned update Wednesday September 8]

August 22nd, 2004

big ben

    My General Election Bets

In this last article before my holiday I thought I would set out my personal General Election bets. These are mostly in line with the calls that we’ve made on the site. Some now look silly, some look really good value and some look over-priced – but they all seemed a good idea at the time of being made. They also reflect how attitudes to political outcomes have changed over the past year.

Labour to win most seats at 2/5 at the next GE. This is a banker but, alas, the price means no rich pickings and it’s nearly halved to about 1/4 since June – but this is a better return than the building society. Could it be almost as safe – judging by his actions Tony Blair seems to think so!Prices.

Lib Dem spread BUY bets at 58 and 60 seats which should give me a really big pay-out – the more seats above the bigger the winnings though with this form of betting it works the other way round if you’ve called it wrong. But the markets has moved so much that these bets could be closed down today and there’d still be a big profit. I’m staying in for my jackpot! Prices.

Sell spread bet on number of Labour seats. This will be the big GE bet and I’ve been waiting for the sell price to reach 350 seats before going in but now think that I missed my chance at 346 four weeks ago. I’ll bet when I think the price is best for maximum profit and minimal risk. Labour start with a notional 403 seats so the current sell price envisages 61 losses. Prices.

The Lib Dems to win most seats at the GE which thanks to a free bet for opening an account with the Blue Square is at effective odds of 132/1. Probably the most certain loser on the list but, heck, everybody has dreams and given the electorate has now fallen out of love with Labour as well as the Tories then anything could happen – but don’t put your shirt on it! Prices.

Labour to get less than 336 seats at 2/1 combined with the Tories getting less than 221 seats at 7/4. Unless there’s a big collapse of LD and Nationalist seats at least one of these bets is almost certain to come in and most likely both of them will. What’s elegant is that if Labour gets more than the stated level then the Tories are almost bound to get less – and vice versa. Whichever way you should win. As soon as I mentioned this on the site the bookmaker changed the odds to make it not worthwhile. Bet365 link.

The Tories to get 245 seats or more at 3/1 placed six months ago when YouGov had them at 39-40%. The often repeated claim that YouGov is biased to the Tories doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The pollster underestimated the party at the ’01 GE, the ’03 Scottish Parliament elections and June’s Euro Elections. The Tories have now slipped 6% and the bet is probably a loser. Bet365 link.

An autumn 2004 General Election date at 5/1 placed when the talk was of Blair standing down and a new leader who could go to the country straight away. The alternate scenario was that if Blair stayed it would be a good way for him “to draw a line” under Iraq and its aftermath. This might sill be right and prices have tightened.

100 bets and lays on Betfair “still party leaders” market that was set up while IDS was fighting for his job. On each of the four remaining options – Blair & Kennedy to be still there; just Kennedy; just Blair and “none” I have very substantial winnings to come. This has been a great market to trade in – buying and selling Blair and Kennedy with huge fluctuations whenever either has been under pressure. Prices.

Michael Howard to be Tory Leader at the GE – a range of bets from 5/4 to evens all placed on the afternoon of the IDS confidence vote when the David Davies betting exchange price just collapsed and it was obvious a deal had been done to bring Howard in without a contest. That afternoon you could follow precisely what was happening by looking at the live betting exchange prices. Barring an accident this must be a certaintly now. Prices.

Jack Straw to be “Labour leader at the General Election” at an average of about 30/1 placed when the talk was of Blair going and I’ve never been convinced that Gordon Brown will be his successor. It still could pay off but realistically Blair is going to stay and the bet is a loser.Prices.

And in the US – Democrats to take the White House. After, sadly, winning with a Bush bet in 2000I started backing the Democrats at more than 2/1 on the night of the Iowa caucuses in January. That event seemed to demonstate the determination of the party to put aside faction fighting to focus solely on winning back the White House on November 2. The price has now tightened to less than evens. Prices.

All told I think I’ll end up well in the black although I get really hammered on the BUY LD spread bets if they fall far short. 45 LD seats would be a headache – 35 seats a disaster.

Next planned article on September 8. Keep the comments coming in – they are the best part of the site and there are enough issues above to start many different threads.

Mike Smithson






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