The punters: Labor to win, with a major loss of skin
From a look at the betting markets, punters seem to have lined up with pundits to call this week a nil-all draw.
While the campaign descended into a Fromelles-style bloodbath, the negativity of both sides also stagnated the head-to-head betting market and we’ll go to the polls with Labor paying $1.28 to win, and the Coalition pegged at $3.60.
You’ll remember that last week saw Julia Gillard’s campaign finally stem the haemorrhaging that saw her odds on next PM drift out to $1.62, which was as bad as they got under Rudd. Once Sportingbet took over $400,000 on Labor in a week including a bet of $200,000, they were always going to head into the election as favourites.
Punters are also backing a swing to the Coalition of between 0.01 to 0.99 and 1 to 1.99 percent. Both options are equal favourite at $3.25 on our two party preferred market. Of course, this will not be enough to deliver them government in their own right.
So our final wrap-up before polling day should be a straightforward matter of calling the election for Labor, except extraordinary last-minute betting in marginal seats has painted a very grim picture for the Gillard Government going into their second term.
The big story was John Alexander upending Maxine McKew in the Bennelong market, coming in from $2.25 to become strong favourite this week at $1.60. McKew has drifted from $1.53 out to $2.25. Given the timing, it has been hard to point at any other factor than a cynical voter backlash at the Parramatta-Epping rail link proposal.
But elsewhere was where the real story is unfolding. It is as though punters are examining the marginals and making bets based on what they know on the ground, rather than trusting national polls.
This week we saw the odds close on another six candidates who now look like knocking off sitting Labor MPs as punters backed them into favourite.
In outer south-western Sydney, Labor’s Nick Bleasdale looks like losing Macarthur to local policeman Russell Matheson. Matheson has been backed from $1.90 to $1.45 with a string of bets of four figure bets, and now looks like taking an important NSW seat for the Libs.
Meanwhile in Sydney’s outer north-west, the heavily redistributed seat of Macquarie looks like being taken from Labor following the retirement of Bob Debus. Punters reckon that Susan Templeman will not manage to hold Macquarie, as Liberal Louise Markus has gone from $1.85 to $1.30 with 90 percent of the money going behind her.
On the NSW Central Coast, Labor are all but gone in ultra-marginal Robertson with Liberal Darren Jameson receiving a torrent of big bets behind him, driving his price from $1.50 into short-priced favourite at $1.20.
Elsewhere around the country, new candidate Mike Brunker looks like losing Labor’s grip on the Central Queensland seat of Dawson following the retirement of predecessor James Bidgood. Punters have ignored the media controversy surrounding LNP candidate George Christensen and have backed him from $1.70 to $1.48. He has received 70 percent of the money and a couple of big bets, including one of $5000.
Nearby Flynn looks like it could be a one-term wonder for Labor, with Ken O’Dowd looking close to home for the LNP in the minds of punters. O’Dowd has been backed from $1.80 to $1.33 with plenty of strong bets and about 95 percent of the money over the campaign.
Further north in Leichardt, punters are also calling last drinks for Labor’s Jim Turnour who picked up the seat in 2007. Former member Warren Entsch has been very effective for the LNP in Leichardt, which has been one of our biggest betting seats. Punters have backed him from $1.90 into $1.35 with about 78 percent of the money and a string of $5000, $4000 and $2000 bets.
On the plus side for Labor, in Victoria Fran Bailey’s seat of McEwen is looking like finally turning their way, with Rob Mitchell shortening from $1.80 into $1.35 under a serious weight of money.
In saying all that, I am sticking with the punters who rarely get elections wrong and predicting a Labor win but with a severely reduced margin.
Whatever the election outcome, this has been one of the most intriguing betting elections for years with enormous changes in fortunes and to all the punters, I hope your bets come in on Saturday.
The Sportingbet Decider at www.sportingbetdecider.com.au provides a definitive form guide for 55 seats in play at the 2010 federal election; including seat history, profiles of the main candidates, location and an analysis of key issues that will affect the outcome.
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