General Election 2019 Betting Tips:
|Lib Dems to win Wokingham||11/4||Unibet|
|Lib Dems to win South Cambridgeshire||6/5||William Hill|
|250-299 total Conservative seats||8/1||Ladbrokes|
It's been a chaotic start to the General Election campaign and that's putting it mildly. Gaffes aplenty from prominent politicians, including PM Boris Johnson himself, candidates stepping down for past racist or misogynistic sentiments, and some downright dishonesty. It's already shaping up to be the ugliest fight in living memory making for a very turbulent and somewhat confusing political betting picture.
That's the noise but what's the signal? To many, this is Brexit Referendum Mk II. The Remain Alliance – comprising Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru – have agreed to stand down candidates in order to boost the chances of the others.
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Meanwhile, Nigel Farage has announced that his Brexit Party won't take on Conservative incumbents with Labour-held seats their prime target. This isn't as seismic a shift as it would appear as, at the time of writing, they will still contest Tory-target seats and potentially split the pro-Leave vote.
As for Labour, they continue to try to appeal to both sides of the debate. Jeremy Corbyn has announced that – should there be a Labour majority - he will renegotiate a deal to leave the EU and then put that to a second referendum. It's not complicated, but his chances of achieving that majority are close to zero.
Are The Polls Truly Representative?
Since the flag fell on the start of the campaign, confidence among Tories has rocketed with the odds of a Conservative majority being slashed from 5/4 to 4/7 with Paddy Power. Despite a disastrous start with the resignation of Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns and the well-publicised doctoring of Keir Starmer's interview on GMB, they seem to have ridden this out and the polls are very much in their favour.
But how much can we take from these polls which, lest we forget, got the 2017 election so badly wrong? The picture is far more complicated than simply saying, “The Tories polling 38% gives them a majority”.
The Britain Elects poll tracker - now updated.— Britain Elects (@britainelects) November 9, 2019
Labour appears to be the beneficiary of this week, up 1.4pts:
CON: 37.8% (+0.2)
LAB: 27.0% (+1.4)
LDEM: 16.0% (-0.5)
BREX: 10.1% (-0.7)
GRN: 3.4% (-0.1)
Chgs. w/ 04 Nov pic.twitter.com/fhlDnNJdtR
In 2017, they performed unexpectedly well in Scotland, increasing their number of seats from one to 13 largely thanks to Ruth Davidson. But the Remainer has left the scene and the SNP is buoyant. Nicola Sturgeon wants a mandate for a second independence referendum and, citing how Scotland has been “ignored” since the Brexit referendum result, she might just get it. All of those Tory seats are in danger, as is Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson's of East Dunbartonshire for that matter.
Then we go to the south of England where there are a number of Lib Dem-Tory marginals. For instance, former Tory London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith looks almost certain to lose his ultra-Remainer Richmond Park seat. He's 4/1 with William Hill to win again with the Lib Dems' Sarah Olney a best-priced 2/9 with Bet365 to take it.
I can't see foreign minister Dominic Raab losing his 24,000-vote majority in Esher and Walton but to be even talking about that prospect in the heart of the true blue Surrey stockbroker belt should ring alarm bells for Tory majority backers. The Lib Dems' Monica Harding is a 5/1 shot with Ladbrokes if you're interested.
The polls cannot give you this sort of detail. Nor can they examine how much local issues will play a part. So what can we take from this as regards your General Election betting mode of attack?
2019 General Election Betting Advice
Before I give some tips on the election, a few words of advice. Try to ignore the lurid headlines and soundbites and, to some extent, the polls. On the other hand, some of the local polling may turn out to be very informative.
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Any sort of edge is vital in betting and local knowledge is definitely one. The betting sites appear to be basing their prices largely on past election results and national polls. For instance, I cannot fathom why Labour to hold Hayes and Harlington, the seat of deputy leader John McDonnell, is 1/9 with Betfair.
The constituency voted in favour of Leave (59-41) in the Brexit referendum but last year looked to have switched to Remain. If there's a seat on board with Labour's position, it's this one and the Tories need to overturn an 18,000 majority while the Lib Dems don't have a presence. On principle, I can't tip up anything this short but McDonnell should be a 1/33 shot.
Information is key and local issues – which won't be reported in the national media - could have a big bearing. I've personally looked most at seats in and around Reading, where I used to live, as I feel I have a bit of a handle on issues, demographics, and things which may affect an election. And right next door is Wokingham which could be the most interesting vote of the night and should give an indication as to whether Johnson gets his coveted majority.
John Redwood has been MP for Wokingham since 1987 when Margaret Thatcher was PM. He is one of the most prominent Brexiteers and memorably tried (and failed) to sing along to the Welsh national anthem when Welsh Secretary under John Major. He was one of the Eurosceptic “bastards” Major fought with repeatedly over the Maastricht Treaty and unsuccessfully challenged him for the leadership.
Redwood's main rival is Phillip Lee who crossed the floor from the Tories to the Lib Dems over Brexit. Instead of fighting for his current seat of Bracknell, he has been parachuted in to take on Redwood in a constituency which voted 56.7-43.3 in favour of Remain.
Survation polled Wokingham, which has long been a safe Conservative seat, at the start of November and found that Redwood was narrowly in front. But if you add the Lib Dem, Labour and Green votes, you get more than the Tories and the Brexit Party combined:
NEW: We conducted a telephone method constituency poll on behalf of the Liberal Democrats in Wokingham (John Redwood). Results have now been published and so under @BritPollingCncl rules we are releasing the results and tables.— Survation. (@Survation) November 6, 2019
Get the data:https://t.co/rIyXXYNOG7pic.twitter.com/wMJ06CpqF1
A lot has been said about tactical voting and there are some seats where it could make a difference. Labour finished second here in 2017 but they're not even close this time around. They may not be formally joining a Remain Alliance but surely no self-respecting Labour voter would pass up the opportunity to remove Redwood who is a strong advocate for a No Deal Brexit. I think he is in real trouble and the 11/4 with Unibet looks big even without a Brexit Party candidate.
The price might not be as tempting, but the Lib Dems to take South Cambridgeshire also looks good based on recent local polling.
South Cambridgeshire, constituency voting intention:— Britain Elects (@britainelects) November 6, 2019
LDEM: 40% (+21)
CON: 36% (-16)
LAB: 12% (-15)
BREX: 7% (+7)
GRN: 4% (+2)
via @Survation, 04 - 05 Nov
Chgs. w/ GE2017 result
This was pro-Remain defector Heidi Allen's former seat but her prospective Conservative successor Anthony Browne is under something of a cloud over a Spectator column in 2003 which Labour have called “disgusting racism”. He will certainly take a knock – he could even be replaced – and I think the Lib Dems at 6/5 with William Hill looks excellent value for what should be an odds-on chance.
Taking a look at the bigger picture regarding General Election odds, it's clear the Tories will win the most seats. But I have my doubts over whether they can win the 326 required for a majority. They will no doubt regain seats in the North and the Midlands, but the South and Scotland could upset the applecart.
Johnson's public persona is potentially a liability although I get the impression, like Trump across the pond, his base doesn't particularly care what he says. His garbled attempts to explain customs in Northern Ireland and the delayed report into alleged Russian election interference don't appear to have dented his popularity.
We all thought Theresa May would secure a whopping majority at the start of the 2017 campaign. The Conservatives won 43.5% of the vote (considerably more than Johnson's current numbers) but Labour's surge to 41% (with UKIP faring far worse than predicted) stopped her getting that majority.
It wasn't until three weeks before the election that Labour started to make inroads. In the final polls before election day, only Survation had Labour pushing the Tories close with most pollsters having May at least seven points in front. One thing we do know about Corbyn is that he is a good campaigner and he's already shown that he's ready to press the flesh and engage more on the ground than Johnson.
It is very hard to predict what will happen over the next few weeks, but I can't see any more upside for the Conservatives while I can for Labour. Given how many marginal seats there are, this could have a big effect on the final outcome. And the market shift in favour of Johnson in recent days has been an over-reaction, in my opinion, with plenty of miles left in this race.
So, where's the value? Well, I think I've found some in Ladbrokes Conservative Seat Totals market. There are only three runners in this: 250-299, 300-349 and 350-399. The Tories won 317 seats in 2017 and, while the current thinking is that they will build on this, I'm not so sure given the uncertainty in the South and Scotland.
300-349 is a worthy favourite at 6/5, but 350-399 at 6/4 looks too short. and 250-299 massive at 8/1 with Ladbrokes with Ladbrokes. I fancy these will adjust in the coming weeks with the favourite hardening, 350-399 drifting to 2/1 and 250-299 heading towards 9/2. So take the 8/1 with Ladbrokes while it's there.
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