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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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