Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, faces a second accuser

Monday, September 24th, 2018

By far the biggest political battle in US politics at the moment is the effort by the Republicans to ensure that Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy, Brett Kavanaugh, gets approved.

Because of the power of the court and the fact that members are appointed for life this has the potential of having an impact in the US that could last decades. The Democrats are doing everything to try to stall the process while the White House is pushing to get this through as quickly as possible.

Things have been made more complicated by accusations against Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct nearly forty years ago. The person involved is due to appear later in the week and now another woman has come forward.

From what I can see the only betting market on whether Kavanaugh gets approved is from PaddyPower which has it at 5/6 with way.

The Republicans have 51 of the 100 seats in the Senate so the approval requires all to back him. It is being suggested that one or two GOP Senators might not go with the White House.

Mike Smithson


With or without EU, will anybody follow Le Royaume-Uni’s lead?

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

This market on which countries will leave the EU by the end of 2025 from Paddy Power on first inspection seems like an excellent way to contribute to the Paddy Power bonus fund.

In terms of disasters for the United Kingdom a no deal Brexit is to picture the Hindenburg meets Chernobyl meets the fall of Singapore meets Solo: A Star Wars Story.

I’m not sure any country will be in a hurry to repeat Brexit, particularly those countries in the Eurozone. If you thought leaving just the Single Market and Customs Union was difficult just imagine leaving the Euro at the same time as well.

For example the 14/1 on France seems like an effective proxy on the Front National winning the 2022 French Presidential election, I’m not keen, ditto the 5/1 on Italy.

The one option I’m tempted to back is Hungary at 20/1. Following the contretemps in recent weeks involving the EU and Hungary it isn’t hard to see the situation escalating, particularly with Russia taking such a close interest in Hungarian affairs  and Hungary seeming intent to ignore all the norms that make a country a vibrant democracy.

With Brexit  delivered Hungary will lose Tory support inside the EU, Orban and Hungary will become even more isolated, but this is a market where I wish Paddy Power offered a no country, after the UK,  shall leave by 2025 option.



The biggest US midterms battle: Beto O’Rourke’s Texas effort to unseat Ted Cruz

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

The Senate race that could deprive the Republicans of their majority

Of all the elections that are taking place across the US in November the one that’s attracting the most attention is the effort by Beto O’Rourke to take the Texas Senate seat held by Ted Cruz. Overnight there was the first TC debate as featured in the video clip above.

What looked like a certain hold by the Republican is now being rated as a toss-up following an energetic and focused campaign by the Democrat who is raising a huge amount of money. The outcome could be crucial to US politics during the second half of Trump’s tenancy at the White House. Currently 51 of the 100 US Senators are Republicans and Texas could well be the state that determines the outcome.

The polls are now sending out mixed messages and while Cruz still remains the strong odd-on favourite it’s not going to be as simple for him as it first appeared.

Like in all elections the critical factor is going to be turnout and the excellent fundraising figures are a guide to the broad support that the Democratic contender is getting.

Because of the way the Betfair Senate majority market is defined the best bet, I’d argue,is to “lay” (bet that it won’t happen) a Republican hold.

Mike Smithson

Follow @MSmithsonPB


Salzburg: Betting across a range of relevant political markets has hardly moved

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Punters are hanging on to their cash

Given the enormity of what’s happened at the EU Salzburg summit I though it useful to look at reaction across a range of market on the Betfair exchange:

Next UK General Election most seats

It was CON 50% chance to LAB 45% on Betfair 24 hours ago and the position hasn’t moved

UK to leave the EU by 29/03/2019

This was a 63.5% chance 24 hours ago and is now a 62.5% one.

Year of next UK General Election

2019 was a 31% chance 24 hours ago and still is. Favourite remains 2022 at 36%

Theresa May Exit Date

2019 still the 52% favourite and hasn’t moved.

Prime Minister after Theresa May

Johnson remains joint 14% favourite with a Mr. Corbyn.

Mike Smithson


Ashcroft US poll finds 53% saying there are grounds to believe that Trump committed crimes that would warrant impeachment

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Nearly a half believe Trump campaign colluded with Russia & he was aware

A 6k sample poll of US voters has just been published by Lord Ashcroft and sets the scene for the important midterm elections that take place in the first week in November.

Currently the Democratic party is enjoying reasonable leads in generic Congressional polls and the betting is on the party re-taking control of the House.

But a much tighter battle is taking place for control of the Senate where about a third of the seats are up for election this year. Currently the Republicans have 51 of the 100 seats and the betting is that they will continue to have a majority.

What’s very likely to dominate US politics if the Democrats do as well in the House of Representatives as projected will be the ongoing rumbles and investigation into whether the Trump colluded with the Russians in his victory in November 2016.

The view is that if the Democrats do end up holding the House then impeachment proceedings could start and the Ashcroft polling seeks to test opinion on what American voters believe happened in that election.

As can be seen voters’ views are very much determined by whether or not they are Trump supporters.

Mike Smithson


My 66/1 longshot for WH2020 now favourite for the Democratic nomination and 2nd favourite for the Presidency

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

While I was on holiday I was grateful that TSE Tweeted my post from January 18th 2017, two days before Trump was inaugurated, on my long-shot bet for WH2020 – Senator Kamala Harris of California.

On Betfair Harris is currently a 16% chance for the nomination and 10% to become next president. In November 2016 she became the second black woman and first Indian American elected to serve in the Senate. She’s a former Attorney-General for California and is the daughter of an Indian-American mother and Jamaican-American father.

Since then she has gained huge prominence in the US following her grillings of Trump’s nominees for high office. The clip above is from the hearing last week on the President’s nominee for the Supreme Court. This is what I wrote about her in January 2017 –

“My reading of the Democratic party 2020 race is that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will simply be too old to contemplate running. Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren (15/2) is currently favourite and she’s likely to play a big part in her party’s opposition to the incoming president. She was strongly tipped to run last year but didn’t. Maybe 2016 was her best chance.

Michelle Obama (8/1) is also being tipped but somehow I can’t see her taking the plunge.

For bets that won’t mature for nearly four years I like long-shots and have 53 year old Harris at 66/1 for the Presidency and 40/1 for the nomination. As I write these odds are still available and might be worth a punt.”

My other longshot bets for WH2016 are on the current Governor of Colorado, John Hickenhooper. My longest price is 270/1. After looking at some TV interviews I love his laid back-self-deprecation and he has already started to indicate that he’s thinking of a run. I think that he would be appealing to primary voters and Trump would find him difficult to deal with.

What the Democrats want more than anything is to get the current incumbent of the White House out.

Mike Smithson


Betfair punters make it about an evens chance that TMay will be out next year – I’m not tempted

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

A no confidence move is highly risky for any plotters

One of the great jobs of returning from a longish holiday is reviewing how things have changed while you’ve been away and the biggest move over the past three weeks is how the Chequers Brexit plan is gathering support. Maybe the Mail was following rather than leading. TMay’s big gamble might just succeed.

What is this going to do to her future career prospects?

It is being widely said within the Conservative Party that after Brexit, March 29th next year, Mrs. May will go and there will be a leadership election. I’m not convinced. She’s mentioned a couple of times that her plan is to stay on and what is the party going to do if the woman who has by then delivered Brexit wants to stay put?

Are we really going to see an attempt to oust her if she makes it clear that she won’t go of her own accord?

To get rid of Mrs May 15% of MPs have to write to the chairman of the 1922 committee demanding a confidence vote. The key number is not the 15% of MPs but whether the desire to oust her is backed by 50% plus one of the Parliamentary party – 158. The downside for ousters is that if there is a confidence vote that she survives, even by just a single vote, Mrs May would be safe in the job for a further year. So those wanting her out could actually be giving her greater job security.

These latest rules were created when William Hague was leader in the first Blair government are totally different from that which is existed in Mrs Thatcher’s time something that many commentators don’t seem to appreciate.

The overwhelming factor in the event of a confidence vote will be who would be the successor and here the party is totally split.

    If ousting May is perceived to increase the chances of Johnson becoming leader that will surely inhibit many CON MPs from voting for TMay to go in a confidence ballot.

The former mayor who uses terms like suicide vests to describe Mrs May’s Brexit approach has far less support amongst his parliamentary colleagues than might be appreciated.

I wonder as well if TMay might be helped by the “time never being ripe” for a leadership contest. If she went soon after March 29th that would conflict with the May locals. It was the “this is not the right time” element in the 2008-2010 period which helped Gordon Brown to struggle on. There was always a reason why a leadership election shouldn’t happen and eventually we got to the election itself.

The need for 158 CON MPs to back it and the consequences of a failed move make the no confidence option unattractive. It is no wonder that it hasn’t happened so far.

I’ve already lost money betting on this market (I was on a 2017 exit) that I’m not going to risk any more.

Mike Smithson


Ruthless People. The Conservatives lose a leadership contender

Monday, September 17th, 2018

I have an announcement to make. Sadly I do not foresee circumstances in which I shall be standing to be leader of the Conservative party. This is no doubt a great loss to them, despite my having no ministerial experience, not being an MP or even being a member of the Conservative party. But they will have to struggle on without me.

The bemusement you are, I expect, feeling was not matched when Ruth Davidson similarly ruled herself out. Perhaps it was because she is a member of the Conservative party. After all, she has the other two disqualifiers, just like me. There are 316 MPs more immediately eligible, of whom at least half will have had more governmental experience. Why should her disavowal attract so much attention?

This can be explained partly, of course, by the basis on which she did so. As has been widely acknowledged, she has been incredibly open about her past struggles with mental health, an openness that will help change attitudes to a set of serious problems that are far too little discussed. She may have helped to save lives with her words. Few politicians achieve as much.

Still, the question can’t be dismissed: why is this major news? The answer is simple, and worrying for the Conservative party: they have a serious lack of talent. A charismatic outsider with a winning track record looks much better than most of the alternatives. Theresa May only remains in office because the alternatives look dire. Unsurprisingly, Conservatives are looking to see whether the grass is greener.

Ruth Davidson’s hypothetical candidacy is symptomatic of that bigger problem. Jacob Rees-Mogg, an MP who has not yet climbed as far as unpaid bag-carrier in government, has been among the favourites for next Prime Minister. He too has disavowed leadership ambitions, so far without harming his betting odds very much.

Others have seen the gap in the market. Last week George Freeman, an MP who had previously served in unblemished obscurity, helpfully announced that if called upon he would stand. The nation no doubt is grateful for his sense of duty.

When Theresa May goes, whether sooner or later, she will in all probability be replaced by a candidate with substantial experience at the highest rank, however lacklustre they might otherwise be. The paucity of quality of the field, however, suggests that the Conservatives will be likely to make heavy weather against Labour.

What of Ms Davidson? Having announced that she does not want to be Prime Minister she has benefited from a wave of sympathy from a public that finds a great renunciation a compelling story. It does raise a further awkward question, however: if she is not up to being Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, why does she think she is up to being Scotland’s First Minister? She had better have a clear answer.

Alastair Meeks