UK General Election: How will the Conservatives fare?

This article first appeared at on November 27th 2019

There are numerous ways to get involved in political betting in an election, covering just about every angle of each party’s performance. But what is the best way to bet on a party you expect to go well?

Take the example of the front-runners in the polls. There’s little point backing the Conservatives to win the most seats now their best price is a mere 1/16 with political betting sites. There is still some question about them winning an Overall Majority, but even that is only 4/9 at best with Coral.

Tories Predicted To Win Working Majority

If you prefer to bet at odds-against, or merely something close to even money, then a more ambitious prediction of their total number of seats or vote share is required. For example some bookies are offering 5/6 about them getting 342 or more (326 is the required number to get that majority), along with a ‘bands’ option.

By my reckoning, the bookies have these lines spot on – my band prediction is 340-349 at 6.0 on the Betfair Exchange. However there is a much better way of backing a big Tory win than the 342 target, which is far from certain. In short, it involves backing them to win specific constituencies expected to feature among that big total.

Constituency betting (the bookies are offering odds on all 650) is the market where deep expertise on politics can really pay off. For the Tories to win 342 seats, they will require a net gain of 24 seats on the 2017 election. Given they are likely to lose a few to the Lib Dems and SNP, the target will require at least 35 gains off Labour.

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