Well it was one hell of a weekend of betting and I don’t really know where to start!
General Election Betting
Perhaps best to start with the election. I am still in the process of picking my jaw up off the floor. I
don’t think anyone was predicting a Tory majority. Certainly not the pollsters and so-called experts anyway. Even David Cameron seemed genuinely surprised.
I think if there’s one thing we can take away from this election from a betting point of view it is never to trust the pollsters again. The result makes a mockery of their entire industry and makes you wonder what the point in them is.
So how did they get it so wrong?
Well obviously they grossly underestimated the “shy Tory” effect – by a margin of a good few points and simultaneously overestimated Labour and Lib Dem support.
I think ultimately there is a big difference between calling someone up and asking them how they are going to vote and what actually happens in the polling booth.
For many undecided voters – and it seems there were a lot them this time – it probably comes down to a “gut instinct” on the day about who they really want running the country. On this occasion I very much suspect it was the combined effect of a fear of the SNP and worries about Labour’s economic competence that just shifted these voters’ instincts on the day.
The only other explanation is that people are lying to pollsters en masse – but I don’t think that is the case.
Next Labour Leader Betting
It is a very troubling result for Labour. With the boundary changes the Tories will introduce shortly, coupled with SNP dominance in Scotland, it is very hard to conceive of how Labour are going to win a majority in 2020.
Clearly they will need to campaign much more on the centre ground to capture the middle England voters they failed to gain the support of this time. Blair did this so successfully and it was the key to his three election victories.
It is no surprise then to see supposed “Blairites” dominate the betting for Next Labour Leader. Topping the list is Chuka Umunna at 2/1 and he seems to be a strong candidate.
Much more charismatic than Ed Miliband, he is already talking about Labour needing to be more business-friendly and it seems like he has the backing of New Labour grandees like Lord Mandelson.
Other “Blairites” to note are Tristram Hunt (currently at 10/1) and little-known Liz Kendall at 7/1, who gave an excellent performance on the Politics Show with Andrew Neill on Sunday.
She said Labour needed to stop sounding like the “moaning man in the pub” and was even asking Neill some questions – it was quite refreshing.
I have had an interest in Hunt and Kendall at 14/1 and 16/1 respectively. I may trade these positions out as although I considered them both to be excellent value at those odds, I still have grave worries about the influence of the unions on Labour’s selection process and I fear they may put the more left-wing Andy Burnham – currently at 11/4 – into the Leader’s office.
Whatever happens it should be an interesting race and for once there are some varied characters seeking the position rather than the usual staid political figures.
Golf – Players Championship
On to other betting from the weekend and what a cracking performance from Rickie Fowler to win the Player’s Championship! Playing the last three holes in 4 under, he then went on to birdie the dreaded 17th hole twice in the playoff.
It was great to see him respond to his critics after being labelled “one of the two most overrated players in the world” by the golfing journos. That shut them up good and proper.
Fowler is now a best priced 25/1 for the US Open after being 50/1 just a week ago. I think he could be a good bet however for the Open Championship at 25/1. His brilliant putting will stand him in good stead at St Andrews and he has shown an aptitude for links golf before.
Tennis – Madrid Masters
Andy Murray pulled off what in previous seasons would have been a massive shock by beating Nadal in straight sets in the final of the Madrid Masters.
The Spaniard used to be virtually unbeatable on clay but this season his form has been really poor and it seems like for the first time in many years he will have a real job on his hands to retain his crown at Rolland Garros.
Certainly the bookies seem to think so and have installed Djokovic as the 10/11 favourite, whilst Nadal is 11/4.
I think Murray represents value at 9/1, as although he may not win it, if he progresses to the latter stages – which he very much should do – that price will be half its current level and you could trade out nicely for profit.
Well the Premiership is properly petering out and will be one of the dullest ends to the season on record.
The only thing yet to be decided is the final relegation place and it seems like it’s between Hull, Newcastle and Sunderland. The bookies have Hull as strong favourites to be relegated at 2/5 and their recent form has certainly been worrying for their supporters.
It’s a tough market to get involved in, as although I think Hull will probably go down there is not much value in backing that at 2/5.