Follow the money: punters finally getting on Abbott
In the hours following Sunday night’s Leaders Debate, a strange thing happened: punters started backing Tony Abbott for the first time since the election was called last Saturday.
In doing so, they not only pre-empted yesterday’s Newspoll but confirmed most of the analysis about the Opposition leader’s performance in the papers: it could’ve been a lot worse.
As someone who has been taking bets on elections for years, it was a hard to imagine a bigger game changer in a betting market than when the ALP changed jockeys just weeks out from this election campaign.
From the minute Julia Gillard walked into Kevin Rudd’s office and informed him he’d not only be moving forward but moving out of the Lodge entirely, all the money has been on Labor to win with bets of $10,000, $5000 and $2000 coming immediately.
While Kevin Rudd was on the ropes, punters were backing Tony Abbott and the Coalition strongly – despite the candidate implosions in key Queensland LNP seats, with Michael Johnson in Ryan and Hajnal Ban in Wright both departing under legal clouds.
More recently the head-to-head betting has shortened up further with Labor’s compromise over the mining tax seeing big bets of up to $80,000 solidifying the government as firm favourites at $1.28 and pushing the Coalition out to $3.50.
Punters clearly expected Abbott’s performance in the debate to be below par as we saw over $50,000 worth of bets arrive for Labor in the 48 hours before the debate but it dried up immediately after his better than expected showing.
As the landscape changes almost daily, punters are attacking Sportingbet’s 55-odd marginal seat markets, which saw a number of marginal Labor seats pulled out of harm’s way following the Gillard coup.
Western Sydney marginals like Hughes have seen a lot of action, with a tight contest being waged between the two major parties. Rising Labor star Brent Thomas is paying $1.85 to take the seat from the Liberals, who have selected Craig Kelly ($1.95) following the departure of Dana Vale.
In Adelaide, Steve Georganas has seen strong money from punters to hold Hindmarsh for the ALP and has now shortened into $1.22 against Jasmine Wood for the Liberals, who has drifted to $4.00.
Meanwhile, in Brisbane’s inner eastern suburbs Labor’s Kerry Rea has trimmed down from $1.70 to $1.50 to hold the seat of Bonner against the LNP’s Ross Vasta.
In the cities where the Greens are playing havoc on the major parties, punters have been regularly plunging bets of up to $10,000 behind Labor candidates such as Tanya Plibersek in Sydney who has shortened from $1.55 into $1.18 against the Greens’s Tony Hickey who languishes at $4.00.
The only seat where the Greens are seeing any serious money is Lindsay Tanner’s vacated seat of Melbourne, where Adam Bandt pays $1.60 to claim the seat over ALP newcomer Cath Bowtell who is at $2.20.
And in Sydney’s eastern Suburbs, punters have given Malcolm Turnbull the tick for his defence of Wentworth, shortening him into $1.20 against strong challenges from Labor’s Steven Lewis ($3.75) and Matthew Robertson for the Greens at $15.00.
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