From a look at the betting markets, punters seem to have lined up with pundits to call this week a nil-all draw.

Long shot: Punters still can't see Tones going the distance. Photo: Gary Ramage

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 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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    • Macca says:

      08:40am | 20/08/10

      @Michael Sullivan, based on these numbers, if the punters are correct in every individual seat, The Government will return with 76-72. That seems about right to me.

      What is betting looking like for the seat of Melbourne with the Greens candidate?

    • Jacki says:

      11:06am | 20/08/10

      A vote for the Greens is a vote for Labor…
      NO MORE I say

    • Steely Dan says:

      12:40pm | 20/08/10

      A vote for the Greens is a vote for the Greens. 

      Preferences are up to you.

    • Michael says:

      11:20am | 20/08/10

      Macca, we’re got the Adam Bandt for The Greens strong favourite at $1.50, with Labor’s Cath Bowtell out at $2.40. So punters are calling a bad loss for Labor in Melbourne!

    • Chaos says:

      12:08pm | 20/08/10

      Off the top of my head:

      2009 - WA election Colin Barnett topples Alan Carpenter.
      1999 - Jeff Kennett looses to unknown Steve Bracks.
      1993 - Hewson looses the unloosable election to Keating.

      Don’t bet your house on Labour, the bookies make mistakes.

    • Robert says:

      12:35pm | 20/08/10

      So working on 76 to 72 does that mean that if the greens win in Melb and the 3 other independents all vote with Libs/Nats does that mean Labour cannot get anything thru the house

    • Murphy says:

      12:46pm | 20/08/10

      Labor are now saying they could limit the loss in Qld to only 3, probably the 3 you have just mentioned, but could lose 9 in NSW.  Pick up 1 in Victoria, lose 1 in WA - leaves Labor just one shy of losing their absolute majority. They dont come any closer than that.

    • Chris says:

      01:40pm | 20/08/10

      Betting market has now tightened to: Labor $1.46 v. Coalition $2.68.

      If Labor wins it will be by 3 seats or less.

    • DaS Energy says:

      02:16pm | 20/08/10

      Racked in turmoil and forced to choosse the punter will subconciously mark the boxes just like before. Julia is reliant on it.

    • MarK says:

      02:26pm | 20/08/10

      @ Michael Sullivan

      Could you be good enough to link us or fill us on on the start market price flucuations for the last few months.

      I noted that the Libs at $1.70 were pretty strong favourites with 6.5 seats start, what has the money told us there over time?

      I think that is an interesting market and makes laying Labor outright in the $1.35 area a good bet for you guys.
      PS thanks for you excellent articles. I always look forward to reading them mate. Hope you keep a shilling or two tomorrow.

    • Carnegie says:

      07:30am | 21/08/10

      Hi MarK,

      Just in case Michael doesn’t get back to you - I have watched the markets closely for the past couple of months. Just prior to Rudds axing it was Labor $1.50 Coalition $2.60, within 24 hours of Gillards instillation it was Labor $1.25 Coalition $4. The next big change came with the leaks Coalition into $2.45 Labor out to $1.55 (that has been their peak price). After we got the new Julia and ice cold Rudd meeting Labor slowly tightened in to $1.28 and the Coalition got back out to $3.8, that was the case as late as Thursday. Since then there has been a late shift in momentum with the Coalition trimming in to $2.4 Labor out to $1.55. The market has settled this morning at $1.50 Labor Coalition $2.55.

      In terms of the line (start) when the Coalition was $4 in the head to head, the start was 12.5 seats, as late as last week it was 8.5, then 6.5 once that was knocked off, it was 4.5 and this morning it is 2.5.

      All in all it points to a very close election!

      As far as I’m aware the nearest you will get to fluctuations is Betfair. They have graphs similar to stock exchange type graphs that track both fluctuations and volume.

    • MarK says:

      09:44am | 21/08/10

      Cheers Carnegie i will look that up.


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