Betting interest in the contest to decide who will become the next Conservative Party leader is at fever pitch £11.8m has been wagered on the contest at Betfair alone. Despite the recent media storms, Boris Johnson still remains the firm favourite at 1.4 (89.2%) compared with 6 (16.7%) for Jeremy Hunt (pictured) 7.4 (13.5%). Bet 365 is offering slightly more generous odds of 1/5 (85.7%) on Johnson; the best odds that you can get on Hunt is 4/1 (20%) from Ladbrokes.
In terms of the vote share, Ladbrokes is offering 20/1 (4.7%) on Johnson getting less than 40% of the vote, 5/1 (16.7%) on 40%-50%, 3/1 (25%) on 50%-60%, 7/4 (36.3%) on him getting between 60%-70%, 3/1 (25%) on 70%-80% and 12/1 (7.7%) on his getting more than 80% of the vote. Paddy Power takes a similar view on the vote share Johnson is likely to win. It is offering 12/1 (7.7%) on less than 40%, 7/2 (22.2%) on 40%-49%, 3/1 (25%) on 50%-59%, 9/4 (30.8%) on 60%-69%, 10/3 (23.31%) on 70%-79%, 9/1 (10%) on 80%-89% and 20/1 (4.7%) on 90%+.
Early polls suggest Johnson has the support of around 60% of Conservative councillors, but I think this will come down as his many weaknesses and characters flaws are exposed. I think that it's more likely than not that he'll get less than 60% of the vote. I'm therefore going to recommend that you bet on Johnson getting either 40%-50% or 50%-60% with Ladbrokes at 5/1 and 3/1 respectively. This works out at combined odds of 50%. To split a £10 betting unit properly, put £3.33 on 40%-50% and the rest on 50%-60% (the bet is void if either candidate withdraws).
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
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