How one punter reacted to the bombings

How one punter reacted to the bombings

    Cheadle by-election price – Lib Dem RED: Tory BLUE

    Is the outrage going to help the Tories?

The above chart shows the dramatic movement in the odds on the Cheadle by-election yesterday before and after the bombing in London. This is on the Betfair betting exchange where individual punters back and lay without a bookmaker to set the prices.

So far the Cheadle market has attracted very little intetest and even though there is less than a week to go barely £2,000 worth of bets have been matched. That’s small beer and why we think that yesterday morning’s price change was the result of a single punter who concluded that that terrorist attack would help the Tories. From our reading of the market he – and we assume almost all political gamblers are male – probably risked less than £500.

As can be seen the Tory price had been trading at 4/1 to 5/1 while the Lib Dem odds had been in the region of 0.18/1 and 1/5 until yesterday morning’s events. Now the Tory price is 2/1 and the Lib Dems are on 0.26/1.

    Whether this view of the by-election is correct we will know next Friday morning – certainly, as the punter concluded, it could be used by the party’s opponents to attack the Lib Dem law and order policy portfolio.

I had been monitoring prices closely anyway and was planning a piece on the lack of interest in the Lib Dems. There do not seem to be many takers at these prices which indicates that holding the seat is not seen as a certainty. Whether the latest prices represent value I do not know.

Olympic betting. The idea that betting prices are a good guide to election outcomes was knocked on the head on Wednesday while the members of the IOC were voting on the 2012 games. Paris remained at about 1/2 right until the end and you could have got 3/1 on London thirty seconds before the announcement was made. Well done to the IOC for keeping the result secret.

Mike Smithson

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