STAY in school kids, don’t gamble. Stay away from those numbers rackets… but if you think Glenda Jackson will still be in Parliament past May, here’s a chance to get rich quick. All the major bookmakers have her as third favourite with the chance to more than double your stake.
You can get odds of 13/5, 5/2 and – see Ladbrokes’s price list above – 9/4 on a Jackson victory if you shop around. So, who’s the favourite then? It’s a fluctuating market but last night it seemed clear that the bookmakers are wary of offering long odds on Lib Dem challenger Ed Fordham. The best you can get is about 11/10 – a price so short you’d have to throw down a massive stake to make any serious money. In his latest election circular, Conservative Chris Philp says the bookmakers have him in the lead, quoting a William Hill price of 11/8. It’s unusual for one High Street name to be so out of step with the others but I couldn’t find the price list on the main website to check. It would be interesting to know if there has been any movement on the market. What was easier to find, was Paddy Power and Victor Chandler also offering slim pickings on Fordham, 2/1 on Philp and a money-making opportunity on Jackson.
There is a betting website where I did find Chris Philp as favourite last night. That was Betfair, where he has a narrow advantage over Fordham. The caution here, however, is that the odds on that site aren’t set by professional bookies but by calculating users of the site. People sign up and trade bets on Betfair, cutting out the middle man in the hope of collecting more cash. As such, you will see more fluctuations here than anywhere else – and it could also be the best place to rake in the biggest dividends whoever you think will be first past the post.
So it’s great news for Fordham. Maybe. If you were him, you’d certainly be pleased to be highly fancied in an area which Labour has held for 18 years. But the bookies have bungled their bets over elections in the past and all parties will be more interested in opinion polls and the feeling which naturally emanates from doorstep canvassing. And if the Lib Dems were to shout from the rooftops about how the bookies have them in pole position, the obvious thing to do is to look at what the same people are saying about Holborn and St Pancras – and that’s not happy reading for anybody with a yellow rosette. The party insists they can beat Frank Dobson but Ladbrokes et al clearly think otherwise. Jo Shaw is a 3/1, 5/2 outsider.