How’s your fractions?
Bookies odds – you’ll need an idea of fractions and figures.
In this context I’m looking at the odds on a yes vote. It’s historically been short odds for No and longer above evens odds for yes.
However the odds for yes have shortened and are now lying in this sort of range.
5/2 – 2.50 decimal
11/4 – 2.75 decimal
3/1 – 3.00 decimal
See below:- these examples are from Wednesday 9th April 2014
So.. First screenshot, best odds for no are 2/7, bet £70 get £20 winnings, make it look Likely it’ll be no.
For yes, 3/1, bet £10, get £30 winnings.
These are BEST VALUE odds available online on an odds checking website. 2/7 and 3/1 are the widest margins on the two respective positions
The list of odds on the screen shots are for a yes vote, there are worse value odds of 11/4 (2.75) or 5/2 (2.5), but a rational person wouldn’t take potential £25 or £27.50 when they could get £30.
So, If you’re backing Indy do you get on now , in case the price tightens? But some folk have go in there first and have got better value in terms of the odds and a chance to win more.
There are only two options in the independence referendum, two available outcomes. On the day, there’s not a ‘don’t know’ option available to voters on the sheet of paper.
In some opinion polls there are large numbers of ‘don’t knows’ in samples, and this affects what the pollsters adjust, weigh and balance to try and be accurate.
Bookmakers aren’t being accurate on the way the pollsters are, they’re setting a price and hoping to attract business whilst being realistic enough not to create a bubble that they’ll lose out from.
However, they’re not in business to lose money on any market and will closely follow the news and opinion polls. Ultimately it’s the trend line of who is betting, how much and how frequently on the outcomes.
Recent trends in polls suggest yes is gaining ground and when don’t knows are excluded the gap is into single figures.
We know polls can be biased, intentionally or unintentionally, groups can lose focus or just say something to get the pollster off the phone. The 2011 Scottish Parliament election wasn’t forecast by polls before hand.
There’s the rub. In that booth, pencil in hand, what do you do?
Cross immediately, do it quickly?
Give yourself a second, read the paper, do it right?
Walk in and realise what you’re voting for, take a breath, move the pencil across the paper?
I’ve did all there at different times in my life. I didn’t have to tell you that, secret ballot, me and my conscience in that wee rickety booth.
Votes might come down to last minute decisions, we’re four months away from the day of the referendum.
Nothing is certain, apart from the prices, apart from when betting closes and apart from what you could win or lose if you chose to make the bet .
We hear of odds being adjusted as someone throws a large amount of money on one outcome, the odds also get adjusted with lots of little bets on the one outcome too.
‘A last minute flood of money on x has brought the price down’
That’s common enough and does happen in big races or before big sports events.
Will it happen with indyref?
Maybe, a flood of money in individual big chunks or in dribs and drabs might
Influence a changes in price. If the changes in price are reported well enough, we could be nearer a tipping point.
The biggest uncertainty is the don’t knows, but could they be influence more by reports on shortening odds for a yes vote?
If odds for yes get closer to 6/4 (1.5 decimal) or 5/4 (1.25) then the gamblers value isn’t there and the prices will reflect a close run contest.
For that to happen it needs a flood of money on yes. That could be a surge in small bets or big money being thrown in. Polls creeping nearer to 50/50 may also see price adjustments
The odds will be interesting to watch, as much so as the polls.
*I’m in no way advocating betting on the outcome of the indyref, merely illustrating where things are. If you or someone you know has issues with gambling seek help. It is out there
Edit to add