Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The election form guide

If you are really beastly careless about what happens on election night but still want to put some excitement into those hours in front of the tele at the Don’s Party equivalent you feel you have to attend then there are a couple of solutions.
The first and easiest one is to put an entry into the Crikey Election Tipping contest and watch with excitement as the results are declared in the 20 marginal seats where you have to pick the winners with $5000 going to whoever does best.
For all you wise subscribers to the Crikey Daily Mail this has the advantage of not costing you anything to be able to stand around at the end of the night saying “if only the Liberals had won …” and “why didn’t that stupid Labor mob spend more of their campaign in …”
That’s half the fun of election night.
The second approach is to treat election night as the equivalent of one big horse race meeting with lots of individual contests to have a bet on. Now I feel a little bit like a John Laws declaring an interest when I write this, but one of our Crikey sponsors, Sportingbet, is offering a multitude of ways to have a little election flutter on a whole range of outcomes. While I thank them very much for spending their advertising dollars so that one day I might get paid a living wage, in the meantime, as a desperate punter, I will be doing my best to win a dollar off them on my own account.
The starting point for my own punting deliberations is to try and work out  the probability of victory for each party in each of the 150 House of Representative seats. Now, as my years as a bookmaker myself proved to me, this in not an exact science but I’m still managing to have a glass of wine most nights after 50 plus years on the punt. So here goes and wish us luck as we try and increase Sportingbet’s price for advertising on Crikey!
The tables below give a probability for Labor, the Coalition and others (Greens, minor parties and independents) in every House of Representative seat. In the seat of Banks, the first on the list, 0.995 means that I think there is a 99.5% chance of Labor winning with the Coalition’s chances being 0.5%.  The figures are rounded to three decimal points so a figure of 0.000 does not actually mean zero but something less than  a 0.5% chance.
Where there is an asterix (*) next to a seat it indicates that the boundaries have changed since the last election so the current holder elected on the old boundaries might not actually be of the party indicated as holding it as this race begins.  We have, as it were, adjusted for handicaps imposed by the Electoral Commission.  The figures in red are the 20 seats in the Crikey Election Tipping contest.
27-07-2010 sets1
27-07-2010 sets2
27-07-2010 sets3
27-07-2010 sets4
27-07-2010 setsw5
Down at the bottom of the table you can see that I expect the ALP to win 83 seats (83.062 to be precise) to 63 (63.297) for the Liberals and 4 (3.641) for others - probably three Independent members as in the current Parliament plus one Green.
As a punter I will be searching for those seats in which the price being offered by those friendly Sportingbet fellows (see, I know how to give a plug to a sponsor just like Mr Laws used to do) is greater than what I think the odds should be. To convert the probability of victory in any seat into the equivalent of a bookmaker’s price, divide one by the probability as in Swan where 0.716 for the ALP becomes the equivalent of 1/0.716=$1.40. When I looked last night the Sportingbet price was $1.95 for Labor so for me that will be a bet.
Now if you are a really serious punter you will not need me to tell you that shopping around for the best price offered by the many online bookmakers is the best way to maximise your punting returns. But for those who don’t want to do the calculations for themselves, the following would be bets based on my probability assessment and Sportingbet’s prices at midnight:
Back Labor in these seats: Braddon, Brisbane, Lindsay, Dobell, Deakin, Forde, Bass, Corangamite, Hasluck, McEwen, Leichhardt, Swan, Dawson, La Trobe, Stirling and Sturt.
Back the Coalition in: Eden Monaro, Bennelong, Longman, Macarthur, Hughes, Macquarie, Dickson, Herbert, Bowman, Canning, Paterson, Wright and Wentworth.
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