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How to turn £33 into £34 very slowly

Posted on July 16, 2015 by

Alert contributor Calum Ferguson tells us the first bookie to come out with odds for the 2016 Holyrood election is Ladbrokes. Fortune-making opportunities seem limited.


(Click pic to enlarge.)

You can get just 5/2 on the SNP taking every single constituency seat in the land (they currently have 53 of 73), and a mere 1/12 (ie you have to wager £12 to win £1) on an absolute majority.

That seems incredibly stingy given that you need 66 seats for a majority and even on current polling – TNS today gives them 60% to Labour’s 20% – they’re only projected to get about 71, so the Nats’ margin for error is actually pretty small.

On that basis 6/1 for “no overall majority” looks like the value bet, but to win on that you’d need Labour to improve significantly on their 2011 showing, and that’d be a bold punt indeed. 2/7 on the SNP failing to win all 73 constituencies probably offers the best realistic chance to make a profit (of 29%), because they’d only have to miss out in one seat (probably in the Northern Isles or the Borders) for the bet to pay out.

If you’re more of a gambler and fancy a long shot, 3/1 on the Tories to finish with more seats than Labour might well be worth a tickle. But betting on the SNP to win most seats (£33 to win £1) is a bet so bad that even in this low-interest day and age, you’d probably make more money putting your cash in an ISA.

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  1. 16 07 15 13:17

    How to turn £33 into £34 very slowly | Speymouth

  2. 16 07 15 14:21

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31 to “How to turn £33 into £34 very slowly”

  1. Kieran Cameron says:

    Shame I missed out on their earlier offer for Corbyn to be next Labour leader at 100/1 before they slashed it down to 7/2. Would have been a fun one to watch.

  2. Croompenstein says:

    Wait till SLab put Creepy Jim on the list and the odds will tumble 🙂

  3. mogabee says:

    Interesting. But I find I get much better results by just crossing my fingers!

    And getting out there leafleting etc. of course. 😀

  4. Desimond says:

    But with that £1 you could buy Kezia a Macaroni Pie as commisseration

  5. JBS says:


    Maybe if Murphy were to go back to University he could get a First Class Honours degree, like a certain newly-minted SNP MP I could name.

    Then again…

  6. Craig Wilson says:

    Yeah but ISAs aren’t fun, are they?

    33/1 it is then. Sturgeon would have to personally punch 10,000 foxes square in the jaw for the SNP not to be largest party.

  7. Les Wilson says:

    Says it all really!

  8. heedtracker says:

    This calls for an “important intervention” from you know who in you know where. That’s Crash Gordon in his Kingdom of Fife manse, waiting, watching, plotting, maybe going to the golf later.

  9. Kevin Evans says:

    This just adds to the farce that is UK politics

  10. Clootie says:

    Gambling: “A format for getting nothing for something.”

  11. Dr Jim says:

    But But But, The NHS, Colleges, erm Stuff

    Once the SNPs record in Government is scrutinised by The BBC Labour Party surely the odds in favour of the SNP will

    (Definitely go even higher!!)


  12. David says:

    Before all the tactical voting nonsense and who should get list votes etc. under the voting system what is the most MSPs the SNP can get.

  13. GallusEffie says:

    Craig Wilson @1.26

    THERE’S the next Chris Cairns cartoon!

  14. Marcia says:

    The latest polling just released show the SNP still doing well;

  15. Socrates MacSporran says:

    The only bet on their which I might be attracted to is that 3/1 shot on the Tories having more seats than Labour.

  16. Jamie says:

    Does anyone know if Solidarity or SSP have any chance of sneaking a seat? Surely they can rustle up one? The polls don’t seem to even mention them but they are not usually that far off in recent years. Would be good to have some socialists in parliament. They could get some of the labour voters who have been left by labour but can’t bring themselves to vote SNP?

  17. Jamie says:

    David – in theory, if 100% of the electorate voted SNP they would get all seats. But because that is very unlikely, I think how it works is if you win all constituency seats you can not get a regional one so in theory the max you can get is 73. You can only get a regional seat in e.g Lothians if you did not win all Lothian constituencies. I think that’s right and I hoped that helped.

  18. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Hi David.

    Entering the polling results from Marcia’s ‘Scot Goes Pop!’ link, into the calculator at the link below, gives this result.

    SNP – – -75 seats
    Labour – 27
    Con – – -15
    Lib-Dem – 5
    Green – – 7

  19. Gerry says:

    2/7 is the telling odds in the picture above. Ladbrokes presumably think that labour could sink even further in Scotland. Odds change with bets laid but that they have opened at this rate will make dismal reading for SL. The SNP have keen new boots on the ground whilst SL are still running barefoot scared. It is the utilisation and mobilising of these new found grass roots activists that may just seal the deal next year. And make no mistake – the future independence of our nation CAN be sealed next year.
    I for one will be knocking on doors far and wide spreading the SNP message of hope, for every knock will be a step toward our freedom.

  20. crazycat says:

    @ Jamie

    I think how it works is if you win all constituency seats you can not get a regional one so in theory the max you can get is 73.

    That’s not true; each region is calculated separately, and in 2011 the SNP won all the constituencies in the North-East and had a high enough list percentage to acquire a list seat in addition.

    So if there is no barrier to doing that in an individual region (how could there be? the list seats are allocated taking into account constituency results, aiming for proportionality across all the seats in the region) there cannot be a prohibition on doing so overall.

  21. Ken500 says:

    1/33 The bookies are getting folks money for 10 months, with hardly any interest. It would be better in Premium Bonds luckier than the lottery.

    Not the untrustworthy Greens, who renege on their own policies, against the majority wishes and against the public interest. The new LibDems. They often masquerade as LibDems. Save the world, they couldn’t even save themselves.

    Vote SNP/SSP/Tommy Sheridan.

  22. Andy Nimmo says:

    I hate to say I told you so(honest) but anybody who did snap up the 10/1 about Corbyn being next Labour Leader must be feeling a bit smug.
    Thanks to our own Mhairi, he is now down to 7/2 and will continue to shorten.

  23. JLT says:

    Those odds are absolutely shocking! There’s not one decent odd there. You’ve a better chance of going into a Casino, going to the roulette table and betting £5 on either Red or Black. At least, it’s a 50-50 shot of doubling your money.

    £33 to win £1 …that’s terrible! The bookies would probably actually make more money if they at least offered slightly better odds, rather than this nonsense than they’ve conjured up.

    Well …if this is the case, then barring any SNP mistakes, it seems that an SNP majority appears to be a cert!

  24. Dal Riata says:

    Labour majority 33/1… ROFL!

  25. Paula Rose says:

    Been busy talking to folk – Rock honey, ready for a spar?

  26. Morag says:

    David, in practical terms the answer is 81. It’s possible the SNP might get all 73 constitueucy seats, though there are several that will take a bit of doing. Then if they’re polling high enough, it’s possible to get a list seat in each region. I don’t think two list seats on top of all the constituencies in a region is feasible, practically speaking.

    So, eight regional seats on top of 73 constituency seats is 81.

    It’s not likely that will happen though, because SNP support in some regions lags behind the national average. The trick was pulled off in the north-east last year on 52% of the regional vote. So the party would probably have to be over 52% on the list in all the regions to hit the jackpot, and it isn’t close to that.

  27. Derek Henry says:

    It’s 2 very different voting systems.

    General election was first past the post

    Scottish election is porportional representation.

    To give you a rough idea.

    If the General election was PR instead of first past the post the SNP would have got just over 50% of the seats. Instead of all but 3.

  28. ian says:

    If you win 9 out of 9 constituency seats then your %vote on the list is divided by 10. ( to find out what their 10th seat should “cost” them). So say 55% on the list would give 5.5% to try and “buy” a list seat.

    All the others start from zero constituency seats so this list % is divided by 1 as theyvtry and buy their first list seat.

    So let’s say lab 20%, Tories 12%, greens 8% and all the rest split and making up the remains 5%.

    So labour win the first one as they have 20% to bid for their first seat. The amount they have to carry forward to bid for their 2nd is found by dividing their 20% by two. So labour now on 10%.

    Who wins second auction? Tories with 12%. They carry forward 6% tovtry and win their second seat.

    Who wins 3rd seat? Labour with their current 10%. The now will try and win their 3rd seat with 20/3 = 6.7%

    Who wins 4th? greens with 8%. They carry forward 4% to try and win their 2nd seat.

    Who wins the 5th? labour again, this time with their 6.7%. They then carry 20/4 = 5% forward to try and win a 5th.

    Who wins the 6th? The Toties do with their reduced 6%. They are then looking for their third so carry forward 22/3 = 4%.

    Last list seat is then won by SNP with their 5.5% just squeezing out Labour’s 5%. So SNP with a list vote of 55% just sneak with one extra seat.

    If they had only gained 49.9% laour would have gained that last seat from them. ( in this example)

    If SNP gained say 60% list votes they’d win a list seat earlier, but the 11th would have had them at 60/11 = 5.4% and that would probably get them a second list, and maybe even a further one.

    SNP won’t get 60% of list votes

  29. Scott Murray says:

    Unrelated to this, but still about betting: i asked paddy power for a price on mhairi black becoming first minister before she’s 30, thry offered 8/1 if anyone’s interested…..

  30. Alwyn ap Huw says:

    I hate political betting. If you’ve got 10 bob to spare don’t waster it at the bookies betting on your favoured party – give it to the party to help the campaign!

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