general election betting odds

General Election Betting Preview

With the General Election tomorrow we thought it would be a good time to cast our thoughts over the betting prospects for the politically-minded punter.

You might be thinking the value is all gone at this stage and on the whole you would be right. For instance, we backed no overall majority over a year ago at above evens and it is now around 1/7.

We also went with the Tories to win most seats at round evens and that is now 1/5. 

However, whilst some of the value may have gone on the main markets, there are still opportunities to make a profit.

Next Government Odds

The question of who will form the next government is a thorny one. Much of the press is working itself into a lather about “legitimacy” saying the party that has the most seats should have the right to govern.

Well as much as this may be the case in theory, ultimately the situation comes down to being able to get a Queen’s speech passed. If you don’t have enough votes in Parliament to do this, you will lose and face reelection. 

That would be a humiliating fate for whichever leader tried it, with no doubt dire repercussions for them personally and also their party.

So you can rest assured neither side will want to form a government unless they are confident they definitely have enough votes to get a Queen’s Speech through Parliament.

For Cameron, this means almost certainly another coalition with the Lib Dems will be needed. Clegg has strongly indicated in recent days that he would prefer another coalition with the Tories. If the Tories get between 285 and 290 seats, this is a real possibility as the maths will add up for them.

For Miliband, it seems highly unlikely that Labour will win outright, but combining SNP support with a few of the other smaller parties could well be enough. If Labour gets around 265-270 seats, this is a highly likely outcome.

But Miliband won’t go into coalition with the SNP for fear of the backlash in the rest of the UK.

So we are left with the two most likely options on the basis of current polling, which has the parties neck and neck: either another Tory/Lib Dem coalition or a Labour minority.

You can hedge these two positions nicely to guarantee a profit.

A Labour minority is available at 9/4 currently whilst a Tory/Lib Dem Coalition is priced at 5/2.

Total Seats Odds

Final polling has the parties neck and neck or the Tories in a one point lead. There are now sophisticated tools that predict seat totals not just based on polls but on previous trends like the “shy Tory” factor and incumbency effect.

These tools give the Tories about 277 seats and yet you can get even money with Stan James that they will get less than 287.5 . This seems like a good bet to me. Many people are expecting the Tories to do better than the polls suggest, perhaps harping back to 1992. But modern polling has come on a lot since then and as I say, the general trends towards the Tories have been factored in by election prediction models.

Using the same models, Labour are predicted to get around 267 seats. You can get a general price of 5/6 that they will get between 251-275 seats, which seems a good bet to me. I would be surprised if they get more than 275 seats with the SNP predicted to do so well in Scotland.

Finally the Lib Dems are predicted to face disaster but recent constituency polling has showed them doing a little better than the national polls would predict. You can get 10/11 with Skybet that they got over 25 seats, which seems a good bet to me. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them with 28 -30 seats when all the votes are counted.

Seat Betting

I also expect Clegg and Farage to win their respective seats. It looks like the Tories are going to come out in force to tactically vote for Clegg and Farage should just do enough to win UKIP’s biggest target seat. 

You can get evens the Clegg/Farage double with William Hill.

Whatever happens it is due to be one of closest elections ever and should make for interesting viewing. Oh – and don’t forget to vote! 🙂 

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