Betting on politics: Two Scottish bets

Political betting expert Matthew Partridge weighs up the odds election results in Scotland.


Ruth Davidson's Scottish Conservatives are looking to make headway
(Image credit: 2017 Ken Jack)

The last few days have been a busy time for this column with no fewer than seven combined bets coming due (eight if you had bet singly). Regarding last Thursday's local elections, I correctly predicted Labour victories in Greater Manchester and West Merseyside, while the Conservative candidates triumphed in Cambridge & Petersborough and the West Midlands. However, the Liberal Democrats put in a surprisingly poor showing in the West of England, coming in third place with only 20.2% of the vote.

Macron's landslide victory on Sunday means that both my tips that you should bet against Le Pen which I recommended in November and my more recent suggestion that you should back Macron at evens paid off. Overall, this series of bets would have made an average profit of just over 20% (though you would have only got 7% if you had treated the Greater Manchester bet as two separate bets).

I'm now advocating two Scottish bets. The local election results, as well as the latest polls, suggest that the SNP have fallen back quite a bit from their 2015 high-water mark, perhaps because the Scots don't want another independence referendum. By contrast, the Conservatives have surged, becoming the second-largest party. So you should take William Hill's offer of 1/4 (80%) on the Tories to hold Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale.

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Edinburgh South, Labour's sole remaining seat, is slightly more complicated because Labour's collapse means it has now become a three-way marginal. While I think pro-union tactical voting will see them through, I'd make a combined bet on both Labour at 11/8 (42%) with Sykbet and the Conservatives with Coral at 3/1 (25%). This works out to combined odds of 67%. In this case you should put £6.27 of a hypothetical £10 betting unit on Labour and £3.73 on the Conservatives.

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri