Betting on politics: odds on Labour’s total seats

Matthew Partridge looks at how many seats the bookies think Labour could get in the upcoming election.

With the election campaign well under way, it's a good time to look at some of the best bets on the Labour Party. Ladbrokes is offering odds on the outcome of a "Vote Match" between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. At the moment it is offering 1/6 (85.6%) on Labour getting more votes, and 7/2 (22.2%) on the Lib Dems. With the Lib Dems stuck at 15% in the polls, and with the millstone of their time in coalition with the Tories still hanging around their neck, I'd say that you should bet on Labour to win this particular contest.

In terms of vote shares, I think that Labour's absolute bottom is 25% of the vote, so I'd bet on Labour to get 25%-30% at 11/4 (26.7%), 30%-35% at 11/4 (26.7%) or 35%-40% at 5/1 (16.7%) with Paddy Power, and between 40%-50% of the vote with Ladbrokes at 10/1 (9.1%), for combined odds of 79.1%. To weight your bets properly, split a £10 betting unit by putting £3.37 on 25%-30%, £3.37 on 30%-35%, £2.11 on 35%-40% and £1.15 on 40%-50%.

At the moment Paddy Power is offering 5/6 on Labour getting more than 206.5 seats, and the same odds on them getting less. Ladbrokes is even less optimistic, suggesting putting the over/under at the slightly lower level of 204.5. I think Labour will do better as Boris Johnson will have more trouble than you'd think making inroads into the north of England. So I'm going to suggest that you take Ladbrokes' odds and back Labour to get more than 204.5 seats.

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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