Monday, July 12, 2010

Bookies pick Labor to win

THE bookies rate Labor as a heavy odds-on favourite to win the federal election. Yet the first list of odds for individual seats suggest they think we are heading for a hung Parliament.

Odds for individual seats posted by bookmaker sports imply that Labor stands to lose its majority in the House of Representatives.

Heavy plunges by punters betting on Labor have made Sportsbet shorten its odds for the overall outcome to just $1.22 for a $1 bet, while the Coalition has drifted out to $4.

Yet the odds for the first 41 seats on offer show the Coalition favoured to win 15 seats from Labor, with Labor favoured to take two from the Coalition, a net loss of 13.

But the odds suggest Labor is also likely to lose Melbourne to the Greens, while the middle eastern suburbs seat of Deakin is too close to call.

The odds imply that in the 150-member House, Labor would win 73 seats, Liberals 72, independents 3, the Greens 1, with Deakin in doubt.

Sportsbet has the Liberals favoured to win back Corangamite, south and west of Geelong, where former 7.30 Report compere Sarah Henderson is their candidate.

But it has Labor as favourite to win the ultra-marginal seat of McEwen, on Melbourne's north-eastern fringe, where Liberal Fran Bailey is retiring.

It sees the Liberals picking up three Labor seats in NSW Robertson, Macquarie and Lindsay and holding Gilmore and Greenway, which the redistribution has made notionally Labor. In Queensland, the Coalition would win back six seats Labor gained in 2007 Longman, Flynn, Dawson, Forde, Petrie and Bonner but lose the ultra-marginal seat of Bowman.

It has high-profile Labor MP Maxine McKew a clear favourite to hold Bennelong from former Davis Cup hero John Alexander and also has Labor favourite to hold all its five seats in Tasmania.

Sportsbet's Haydn Lane said the odds posted at the weekend were opening offers which would change constantly as bets came in.

Labor's odds of winning the election had shortened sharply since its change of leadership, he said. "We are actually taking more bets on the Coalition, but all of the big money of late has been on Gillard's Labor."

Centrebet has installed August 28 as odds-on to be the election date.