Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Amy Klobuchar coming up strongly in Iowa and now within striking distance of the top 4

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

My 760/1 WH2020 shot enters the frame

My apologies for going off the GE2020 message but for me personally this morning the biggest betting news is this latest poll from Iowa showing that my wild longshot for WH2020, Amy Klobuchar,  has now moved up sharply in the Iowa polling and looks set to become a serious contender in the first state to decide.

To put this into context she has jumped from just 1% in the previous survey from this pollster to 10% now putting her closer to the clear front runners of Bernie, Biden, Warren and Mayor Pete.

As I recorded here two months ago I have a longstanding £20  bet at 760/1 on the Minnesota Senator, Amy Klobuchar, which I placed on the Betfair exchange in the summer. 

The Iowa caucuses take place on February 3rd and play a huge role in shaping the nomination races in both parties. It was Trump’s performance here in 2016 that showed that he was a serious contender for the GOP nomination. The lessons from previous races is that the time to rise Iowa is in the final period.

Klobuchar has been helped by the decline of Elizabeth Warren and the withdrawal from the race last week of Kamala Harris, the one time betting favourite. She is also benefiting from the increasing scrutiny that Mayor Pete is now experiencing.

Mike Smithson


GE2019 polling and betting update

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019


The betting markets firm up even more on a CON majority

Monday, December 9th, 2019

CON seats on the spreads up 5


On Betfair CON majority now a 75% chance

It has been a good final Monday on the betting markets for Johnson’s Tories with punters becoming increasingly convinced that the PM will achieve his objective of securing an overall majority.

This mood is inevitably reflected in the detailed single seats markets where there might be bargains to be had.

In polling terms the latest surveys have the CON lead between 6% (ICM) and 15% (Opinium). The ICM numbers had the impact of arresting some of the CON growth on the markets and it is a bit out of line.

Tomorrow we have the final YouGov MRP and I am expecting there there might be more Deltapoll single seat surveys.

Mike Smithson


A new betting strategy worth pursuing?

Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Don’t back Corbyn critics in seats they are expected to hold & back the Corbyn supporters in the seats they are narrowly expected to lose?

There’s a fascinating story in today’s Sunday Times

Momentum, the grassroots campaign group that backs Jeremy Corbyn, proposes on its online campaign map that canvassers travel to areas whose candidates are devoted followers of the Labour leader — even when the activists live in marginal constituencies where the party could win.

The campaign group says the map allows supporters to find “events in the marginal seat that needs [them] most” by entering their postcode or location.

However, an investigation by The Sunday Times has found repeated examples where this is not the case, raising the prospect that the tool is being used to prioritise supporting candidates who are sympathetic to Corbyn over winning seats at the general election.

In Scotland, Gerard Killen, — who resigned from Labour’s front bench in 2018 over Brexit and had a majority of just 265 — appears to have been abandoned as the residents of his constituency, Rutherglen and Hamilton West, were sent to aid the Corbyn-backing Hugh Gaffney’s seat, Coatbridge Chryston and Bellshill, where Labour has a majority of 1,586.

Other pro-Corbyn candidates also appeared to be being favoured on Momentum’s map last week. Supporters in 12 different constituencies were advised to canvass for Kate Linnegar in North Swindon, where the Conservatives had a 8,335 majority. Momentum is directing its supporters to help her despite the fact a YouGov constituency poll predicts the Tories will comfortably retain the seat.

Linnegar, who promotes Momentum on social media, has come under fire for sharing a Facebook post that said the anti-semitism crisis engulfing the party was a “smear campaign”.

Campaigners living in 11 constituencies were urged to canvass for Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt in South Thanet, where the Conservatives won by 6,387 votes in 2017.

Former MPs who have previously been deemed “hostile” to Corbyn appear to have support directed away from them.

These include Mary Creagh, who had a majority of 2,176 in Wakefield, and Emma Reynolds, who had a majority of 4,587 in Wolverhampton North East. The map does not direct supporters living anywhere in the UK to help either candidate.

The Sunday Times say this maybe down to incompetence than malice but still it will influence my betting outlook in the individual constituency markets. Corbynites who are at risk might be worth backing on the back of Labour’s resources being directed towards them and backing the party best placed to defeat Labour where the candidate is a Corbyn sceptic/critic (odds permitting of course.)

The longer term implications is that if this turns story turns out to be accurate then the Parliamentary Labour party will be more like Jeremy Corbyn than it has ever been which should impact on the next Labour leadership betting, a Corbynite succeeding Jeremy Corbyn, whenever he stands down, would seem inevitable.




After the debates, a plethora of polls and Andrew Neil – a CON majority remains the strong betting favourite

Saturday, December 7th, 2019 of movement on Betfair

Mike Smithson


LAB’s leadership rules will limit the number of nominees and could well ensure it’s an all-female battle

Saturday, December 7th, 2019

Starmer looks a clear lay to me

Irrespective of what happens on Thursday, there will be some form of Labour leadership election soon. Tom Watson standing down as Deputy Leader (and MP) alone ensures that. If Corbyn does well enough to retain the leadership then the contest to be his deputy becomes a contest to be heir-apparent; if not, we get the full-blown leadership contest more-or-less straight away.

A few notes of caution first. The election may well not be immediately. If Johnson forms a new government but with a sufficiently slim majority (or with no majority at all), there’s a fair chance that Labour could try to disrupt the passage of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement further, which is best done if senior Shadow Cabinet members are not at each others’ throats.

Similarly, there’s a chance that the election could be delayed if Labour does form a government: holding the contest while trying to settle down into government, embark on a Brexit renegotiation and launch a radical domestic agenda is best not done concurrently with an internal contest – though it couldn’t be delayed indefinitely. The summer would be best.

However, while polls can be wrong and events can change opinion, as things stand, Labour will be remaining on the opposition benches. If so, current assumptions about how that election might play out are missing some crucial details.

When Labour changed the rules on nominations, lowering the threshold for candidates from 15% of MPs (and MEPs, if there still are any), to 10%, this was widely reported as a relaxing of the qualification. Yes and no. It will certainly make it easier for one – or maybe two – candidates to gain the required number of MPs’ signatures but that was not the only change made. In addition, in order to be validly nominated, a candidate must also receive:
– 5% or more of CLPs (Constituency Labour Parties) i.e. 33+, or
– At least 3 affiliates, including at least 2 trade unions, comprising at least 5% of the affiliated membership.

These may not sound particularly onerous for serious candidates but they are. In 2015, both Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper would have failed the affiliates criterion (Kendall didn’t receive any; Cooper did but they fell short of the 5% threshold). Cooper would have gained ballot access on the CLP nominations but Kendall wouldn’t.

One thing the rule change does is put huge power in the hands of four unions – Unite, Unison, the GMB and Usdaw – each of which comfortably meets the 5% threshold: a threshold it’s almost impossible practically to reach without one of those four onside. True, their nominations don’t see a candidate directly onto the ballot paper but there are enough smaller unions and friendly societies that it ought to be possible to make the requirement.

What of the CLPs? Shouldn’t 5% be easily reachable for any credible candidate? Not necessarily. In 2016, with only two candidates on the paper, Owen Smith won the support of only 53 CLPs, representing 8.2%. Had the antu-Corbyn vote been split, it’s highly unlikely that any challenger could have gained the nominations.

Note also that the rules strongly imply that these CLP and affiliate nominations take place before close of nominations – in other words, members and unions won’t necessarily know the final line-up when they’re nominating and could well back candidates who subsequently withdraw (or be split by such candidates that they end up not nominating anyone).

So, what of the potential candidates? The current favourite is Sir Keir Starmer, though the odds of 9/2 rightly indicate how wide the field is. I wonder though. If Labour is elected, he surely can’t contest the Deputy Leader election while negotiating Labour’s revised deal within three months – which means he won’t have the machine or endorsements others will gain, nor the office.

But either way, would he even get the nominations? I’ve no doubt he would be fine among MPs but as far as I’m aware, he doesn’t have close links to any of the big four unions and while you’d think he should gain the CLP support, I have my doubts. To me, Starmer appears to lack both an ideology and passion. In any election, but particularly an internal party one, that can be fatal when his opponents will be clearly from the left and speaking to a left-biased membership.

Even if he does gain the nominations, if it takes much longer than the media expect, that will knock the momentum out of his campaign while handing over the front-runner baton to someone else. (That ‘someone else’ is very likely to be a woman. Given Labour is painfully aware that it’s now the only major party not to have had a female leader, male candidates will begin at a disadvantage anyway).

All of which is to say that I think he’s substantially over-priced. For value, I would look more to Angela Rayner (12/1, Ladbrokes / BetFred), who has been prominent in the campaign, Dawn Butler (50/1, Ladbrokes), who is a close Corbyn ally and a declared candidate for the Deputy Leadership. To my mind, Rebecca Long-Bailey should be favourite and her current best odds of 11/2 (SkyBet) are about right but at half those of Rayner, I don’t think she’s twice as likely to win.

Of course, we don’t yet know either the timetable for the election (it might start next week; it might not be until 2023 or even later), we don’t know the candidates and we don’t necessarily know the rules – they could be changed again, both if Corbyn does win but also if I understand them correctly, the NEC itself has the power to change them unilaterally.

But as certainty firms up, so value will tend to dissipate – hence why it’s a good time to scenario plan betting beyond Thursday.

David Herdson


Tories drop five seats on the spreads following the Andrew Neil interview rumpus

Friday, December 6th, 2019

SportingIndex Commons Spreads

Punters think it will have an impact

Just before the Andrew Neil video attack on Johnson was published the Tories were trading at 344 sell and 350 buy on the Sporting Index Commons seats spread betting market. Those are now down five seats.

On the Betfair majority market the Tories are down just a point.

Spread betting is much more sensitive here because the more people are right the more they win and the more they are wrong the more they lose.

Whatever the markets still think that Johnson will have a comfortable majority but not quite as big is was seen yesterday.

Mike Smithson


Dominic Raab’s rock solid safe seat now a key GE2019 battleground

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

What happens when anti-CON voters decide to go tactical

There is little doubt that if the LDs are to salvage anything from from a hugely disappointing GE19 campaign a lot depends on what happens in Esher & Walton – the seat currently held by the Foreign Secretary and former BrexSec, Dominic Raab. A victory here would be the Portillo moment of the election and might just take some of the edge off Johnson’s likely victory.

The chart shows the result last time compared with with the two constituency polls that have been carried out – one at the start of November and one at the end.

Just about everything now depends on LAB voters and whether they decide to stick with their party or vote tactically.

Currently the Betfair sportsbook has the Tories on 1/2 with the LDs on 15/8. The latter was 11/4 on Monday. The odds are probably about right. If these polls are on the right lines, and both are in the same territory, then it is going to be close.

One thing’s for sure – there’ll be a big media presence at this constituency count.

Mike Smithson