But there are less risky bets
The new betting markets are coming thick and fast and the latest on the scene is whether or not there will be a hung parliament. The prices are 7/2 against there being one and 1/6 on there not.
To win a “yes” bet here Labour would have to get 323 seats or less. We are not particularly impressed by the price and there are other less risky ways of having a punt on Labour not doing as well as is currently expected.
Assuming the Lib Dems end up with about 70 MPs then the Tories and Labour will share about 550 seats. So if the Tories get 200 then Tony Blair should be leading about 350 MPs into the new House of Commons – a majority of 55 .
But if the Tories win just six more seats on top of this – meaning a Labour majority of 43 – then you can get 9/4 on one of the new Conservative Seats Markets. So for not that much of a reduction in your potential winnings – Â£225 rather than Â£350 on a Â£100 bet – you have a far safer punt at what look quite attractive odds for the risk involved.
The other way of doing this is a bet at 15/8 against Labour getting 345 seats or less on one of the Labour Seat markets. There are a couple of bookmakers with Lib Dem Seat Markets but there is not a lot of obvious value.
It’s at this moment, just when a market has been launched, that you can often find betting bargains.
The odds are not based on what punters are putting money on but on the assessments by the bookies of the possible outcomes. Sometimes they get it wrong – as we suggested last night with the 11/4 that was available for a time on the turnout being above 60%.
When we say that something is a “value bet” we think that risk of losing is less than the odds being offered.
Â© Mike Smithson 2005