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Why Ukip will stay odds-on to win most votes at EP2014 even if none the polls have them in first place

May 19th, 2014

The bookie view of political betting

In the past fortnight the political specialist at Ladbrokes, Shadsy, has launched a blog called “The Political Bookie – NEWS FROM LADBROKES’ POLITICAL ODDS DESK”.

It is turning out to be a fascinating read providing great insights in political betting from the bookie perspective. One recent article was on Thursday’s battle for the London Borough of Richmond where Ladbrokes were initially offering 20/1 that the LDs would take control and how this has tightened very sharply because of the weight of money going on the yellows.

The above chart is from his latest piece on Ukip/EP2014 betting and shows how much has been wagered on the different parties. This is from Shadsy’s post

“I tweeted a couple of days ago that the betting markets were losing confidence in UKIP. That may sound a bit silly, given that they are still odds on. But Ladbrokes have been best price (inc Betfair) for most of the last week and the three and four figure bets have certainly started to dry up in the last couple of days.

You often hear people talk of the polls being “all over the place”; usually they are talking rubbish and everything can be explained by margins of error. In this case, it’s probably fair comment with ComRes putting UKIP on 35% but ICM at just 25%. If Anthony Wells is at a loss to explain these variations, there’s not much point any of the rest of us trying. Having a bet now is almost like having to bet on competing polling methodologies and most normal people don’t have much of an opinion on that

Most layers will currently be sitting on a big loss if UKIP top the polls, so there won’t be a lot of appetite for taking much more, even if they think the odds are too short…..”

So when people try to use betting odds as a guide to what’s going to happen you have to factor in a bookie’s overall position on a market – another reason why political betting can offer such great opportunities to smart punters.

Keep up the good work Shadsy.

Mike Smithson