Are the markets moving into closer alignment with the polls?

Are the markets moving into closer alignment with the polls?


    Is now the moment to resume spread-betting?

Ever though Labour has been in serious trouble since March budget there has been a marked reluctance punters to acknowledge the evidence of the polls and bet on the Tories and against Labour on the commons spread betting markets.

Quite why this should have been I do not know especially if you compare the above seat numbers with UKPolling Report projections of what the latest polls suggest if there was a uniform national swing. The Tory seats won range from ICM’s 378 to Ipsos-MORI’s 455.

The last couple of days, however, and we have seen a sharp move to the Tories with the spread moving up four seats. This does not seem to be in response to anything like a new poll or other political development. Maybe it is just that as we get closer to the election and the polls remain static that punter confidence in a big Tory victory has started to increase. Maybe now is the time to bet.

The commons spread markets are the places where the numbers of seats the parties will get at the general election are traded like stocks and shares. There are always two figures shown – the higher one is what you “buy” at the while the lower one is what you sell at.

Your profits or losses are based on the difference between your “trade level” and what actually happens. So if you buy the Tories at the latest 352 seats and they end up with Ipsos-MORI’s 455 then you would make the difference multiplied by your stake. In this example that would be 103 seats – so if you are on at £20 a point you would pocket £2060.

Three elements make this especially seductive for punters. Firstly you can get out of your bet at any time. If you have bought and the level moves up you can then sell and pocket the difference there and then. You don’t have to wait until the general election.

Secondly two of the main bookmakers, Sporting Index and IGIndex offer credit terms so you can bet without have to put up cash now.

Thirdly with this form of betting the more you are right the more you win. Alas the reverse is also true – the more you are wrong the more you lose.

These markets are where the serious general election betting takes place and are the ones that I play all the time.

My approach is to sell Labour seats rather than buy Tories ones. This is because I expect more movement here with Labour losses to the SNP, PC, the Lib Dems as well as the Tories.

Be warned! Two days before Brown called off the November 2007 general election I bought Labour at 332 seats. That went down considerably in the days that followed and I took a hit getting out at 318 seats. Thus my loss was fourteen times my stake level which I recall was about £100. This form of betting can be very costly if you get it wrong. (I’ve made up up the losses several fold since as Labour has edged downwards.)

Be advised. One of the main income sources that keeps PB going is the commission the site receives from Sporting Index for new accounts opened through links on the site.

Mike Smithson

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