Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Get ready for the no deal Blame Game

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

There’s little doubt that the Mail’s front page this morning correctly sums up the current position in relation to brexit with just 8 days to go. Given what the EU response was to Theresa May’s request for more time and her ongoing desire to get her deal approved then there must be an increasing chance that No Deal becomes what happens.

If what we have been led to believe a No Deal would entail that looks like a catastrophe which will impact on the lives of millions of people. Inevitably, if this indeed what happens, there’ll be a massive blame game.

Theresa May with her complete rigidity has continued to use everything to just to get her deal through and has not been ready to countenance any change or deviation. Corbyn’s not helped. Last night he refused to attend a meeting of party leaders to try to sort things out because Chukka was there. How petty but perfectly predictable. These events will be remembered.

It was always said that May’s plan to get her deal agreed was to take the nation to the cliff edge with agreement to her deal being the only option. Maybe that will work. She’s certainly not deviating from the plan

In all of this TMay has been hugely helped by the ERG’s move in December to no confidence her. She survived, of course, and at the same time got 12 months immunity from such a move being repeated.

No deal remains a 20% chance in the betting. That might increase during the day.

Mike Smithson


On a huge day of political betting a no deal Brexit on March 29th move from a 12% chance to 22% in fourteen hours

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

The other big market movement today

Mike Smithson


The betting chances of Commons agreeing deal before March 30th move up sharply to 43%

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

The main betting mover on another day of high drama on brexit has been on the when will the Commons pass a brexit vote market.

Before PMQs this was rated as a 26.8% chance and then with what Theresa May said and other indications this has now gone to 43%.

There seems to be increasing confidence that Theresa May’s long term strategy of getting her deal because the alternatives are worse through might just succeed.

It is quite extraordinary how Mrs May has been so unbelievably rigid in her approach right from last November when the discussions on the main deal ended in Brussels.

Mike Smithson


Not before 2022 now joint favourite with Q2 2019 for when Brexit happens

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

So much potentially could happen in the ten  days that remain between now and March 29th it is inevitable that there has been an enormous amount of movement on this Betfair  market on when Brexit will actually happen.

As can be seen Q2 2019 has dropped very sharply in the last few days partly in response to the difficulty Mrs May has had in getting support for her deal and partly due to the assertions yesterday by the Speaker.

Tonight the speculation is that the postponement that the government is planning seek could end up as 2 years which is far in excess anything that the hardline leavers wanted.

I find it very difficult to read the current politics and I’m sure that I am not alone. The likely failure to meet the March 29th deadline is almost certainly going to lead to Brexit being less likely to happen.

In all political betting it is wise to check the actual terms of the market and this is Betfair’s  definition on this one below.

“For the purposes of this market leaving the EU is defined as the date when the treaties of the EU cease to apply to the UK. Examples of when this might occur include, but are not limited, to: the date specified in a withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU; the end of the two year negotiating period (29/03/2019) as set out by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (or any extension to this time period); or the date of the repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act. If more than one of these events were to occur, this market will be settled on the first of these events to occur. In the case of the two year time period in Article 50 being extended, via a unanimous vote by all EU Member States, we will settle this market on the extended date. This market will settle when the UK leaves the EU even if parts of the UK (e.g. Scotland, Northern Ireland) leave the UK or receive special status within the EU.”

Mike Smithson


Matthew Shaddick of Ladbrokes on the WH2020 betting phenomenon of Andrew Yang

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Why the US betting support?

The 2020 US Presidential Market is gathering steam right now with most of the top-tier Democratic possibles having announced their candidature. Just waiting on Joe Biden who has recently become favourite for the nomination at Ladbrokes. No doubt his price will drop a little further if and when he announces, but the bigger impact on the overall market would be if he says no.

Oddly though, the biggest loser with Ladbrokes would be someone who the vast majority of US voters have never heard of, and typically polls at 1% (if pollsters even bother to include him):Andrew Yang.

He’s been backed down from 200/1 into 33/1 to be elected President and now shows at just 16/1 fifth favourite to be the Democrats’ nominee. Amazingly he’s now ahead of people like Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker in the betting.

He seems like a smart guy and is pushing a few unique policy positions, notably Universal Basic Income. His odds are no doubt massively influenced by his appeal to a young, internet savvy fan base and this feels a lot like the huge 2008 gamble on Ron Paul to become President. Despite hovering at around 5% in polls of Republican voters for most of the run up to the primaries, Paul got down to around 12/1 in the outright Presidential odds as an army of fans backed him to win.

Also, take a look at how highly American punters like Yang’s chances. Here are the latest odds from PredictIt.

That makes him about 9/1 on the only platform that US citizens can legally bet on politics. Although people from outside of the US can’t trade on PredictIt, it will have a knock on effect on the rest of the worldwide betting market, as a lot of people will no doubt assume that the US facing odds are more accurate. I think there’s a big problem with this though which arises from the very restrictive terms on which PredictIt allows people to bet. For regulatory reasons, they don’t allow people to have more than $850 at stake on any one contract, which hugely limits the ability of layers to resist market moves on outsiders like Yang (who probably has a lot of small-staking fans).

PredictIt also has some quite high commission charges, which makes it quite hard for anyone to correct any arbitrage opportunities, even if they could get access to US and non-US odds. So, we might continue to see some pretty big differences in the two markets right up until election day.

On the plus side for Yang, the rules for who gets in the Democratic debates later in the year mean he’ll probably make it (because of the number of individual doners to his campaign) whatever his opinion poll rating shows. Perhaps that will give him a big boost, although he probably wouldn’t get more than a few minutes to say anything very much.

I won’t be backing him, but I have had a bit of money on another little known outsider, Pete Buttigieg, who I think might have a better chance of making a run for it. Ladbrokes have him at 50/1 to be elected POTUS. Don’t know if anyone has any past examples of 50/1 Presidential election winning bets?

Matthew Shaddick


The betting money’s going on the Commons approving the deal

Monday, March 18th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

Up from a 16% chance to a 32% one in five days

At the start of another dramatic week on Brexit in the Commons there has been more news of CON MPs saying they are ready to back the deal just 10 days away from the Article 50 deadline.

What we don’t know is whether there will be enough of them in order to push the total beyond that which is required for Mrs May to get a majority. She’s failed before but this time with the deadline hovering before everybody it might just be that this goes through. At least that is what the betting markets are starting think as seen in the chart of the Betfair Exchange above.

It has been fundamental to Theresa May’s strategy throughout that when faced with the prospective of No Deal and possibly the loss of Brexit altogether her party would get together behind backing what she has been trying to get agreement for for months.

Will it work? Will some LAB or other party MPs either abstain or shift over to her side? The Indy’s John Rentoul, who has been keeping a close eye on the actual numbers, was suggesting yesterday that the only way this could go through if was if a number of Labour MPs moved to back it.

The view is that this will only happen if the chances of it succeeding look pretty good. There’s no point in being a LAB rebel and “voting with the Tories” quotes if it ends in failure.

Meanwhile there is this:

Mike Smithson


Betting on a Peterborough by election in 2019

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

A 16% return in just over a month?

This market by Ladbrokes is not on the result of any potential by election but whether there will be one in 2019. The recall petition in Peterborough opens on Tuesday and ends on the 1st of May 2019 meaning this bet will pay out in a little over six weeks.

I think the nature of the conviction and claiming a salary whilst in prison would enrage voters in all circumstances. Coupled with the polarised nature of the country over Brexit now matter how she votes (or abstains) on Brexit she’ll annoy voters which might see a few more signatures collected.

The dynamics of North Antrim clearly don’t apply here where the first ever recall process occurred but insufficient signatures were received to trigger a by election. With both parties urging the convicted criminal Fiona Onasanya to stand down as an MP so I think the threshold of 6,967 signatures to trigger a by election will be reached.

If you want to understand how the recall process works click this link.




With the top 2 in Newport West looking pretty certain the interesting bets are the LAB share and which party comes third

Friday, March 15th, 2019

But we can’t let a by-election go by without a punt

One of the features of this Parliament has been the relative absence of by-elections. In the 21 months since the general election they have been just two and now a third one is due to take place on April 4th in Newport West to fill the vacancy created by the death of Paul Flynn.

The seat has been in LAB hands for some time and at the last election Flynn took it with 52.3% of the vote with the Tories on 39.3%. It’s hard to see this order changing with LAB retaining top spot.

In the Ladbrokes LAB vote share market listed above the 40 to 50% segment is the 5/4 the favourite which seems about right.

Third place is much more interesting particularly as we are talking about the contenders perhaps only getting hundreds of votes rather than thousands. At the general election in June 2017 UKIP came in third place with 1,100 votes followed closely behind by Plaid Cymru with 1,077.

Given that the turnout is likely to be much lower than the 65.5% of last time then the 3rd place could easily be down to 500-600 votes only a short distance ahead of the fourth and other places.

On the face fit the party that looks most interesting to me is Abolish the Welsh Assembly which only has to appeal to a very small proportion of voters to make it into that 3rd place shot. That’s my small bet at 5/1.

I don’t have any outside information on this so this is not a serious flutter.

Mike Smithson