Scottish Independence Betting: No remains favourite, but expect a photo-finish

Win or lose, Salmond has destablised Cameron's leadership
Win or lose, Salmond has destablised Cameron's leadership

As Scotland goes to the polls with the fate of the UK in it's hands, the general consensus says the result is too close to call. As Paul Krishnamurty explains, that could mean the betting drama is far from finished... 

"The Scottish electorate is changing and the rest of the UK political class, from the PM down to the polling companies, are petrified they might have misjudged it."

More than £11.5m has now been traded on the result of today's historic vote, with the markets rating No a 1.21/5 chance and 5.79/2 for Yes. The most recent opinion polls, meanwhile, have showed almost identical results, with No ahead by either 52-48 or 51-49.

When the polls close and the TV results show begins, expect pundit after pundit to utter the words 'too close to call'. Expect also for the uncertainty to create market volatility.

If the result is indeed on a knife-edge, we will have to wait a long time as the most populous regions will declare last. The biggest, Glasgow, is widely expected to prove decisive. On nights like this, rumours and exit polls can drive the most dramatic betting fluctuations. Don't be surprised if Yes becomes favourite at some stage.

For that reason, though my prediction remains a narrow win for No, with Yes earning between 45.01 and 50%, I couldn't recommend a bet at the prohibitive odds of 1.21/5. There is just too much uncertainty, particularly regarding the reliability of polling methods.

As explained previously, they are in unknown territory, trying to measure an electorate that includes a million plus extra voters that don't usually turn out for 'normal' elections.

Another concern for No backers is how badly everyone underestimated the SNP landslide at the last Holyrood election. Then as now, Alex Salmond's party overturned a large, long-term deficit in the polls. Then as now, the story behind the Yes campaign's momentum is a superb, energetic ground campaign that frankly blows the other parties away. The Scottish electorate is changing and the rest of the UK political class, from the PM down to the polling companies, are petrified they might have misjudged it.

Whilst this result will be decided today, the political fallout starts tomorrow. Such has been the drama of the last few days, there has been little space to consider the effect on the rest of the UK politics and, of course, betting opportunities.

If Scotland votes Yes, David Cameron will come under pressure to resign and there are reportedly enough Tory MPs ready to sign up to a confidence vote. Watch out for comments and moves from rivals, the prospective candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, one Boris Johnson. The London Mayor is currently 3.55/2 favourite to replace Cameron as Tory leader.

Equally Ed Miliband and Labour would face an existential crisis, shorn of nearly a fifth of their MPs. There would also be calls for a snap General Election. All three party leaders could potentially come under serious pressure. We can currently lay 1.51/2 that all three are still in place at the next election.

If as the polls suggest, the result is No, the ramifications are equally chaotic. The 'Devo-Max' deal hastily cooked up over the past few days by the Westminster parties is a time-bomb for the status quo. Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions will want similar devolved powers. Some Tories are calling for an English Parliament. Can Labour credibly allow their Scottish MPs vote on non-Scottish matters?

The rules of the game and political dividing lines are changing, but the ups and downs of Westminster are a discussion for tomorrow. Today is about the Scottish people. Whatever happens, British politics will never be the same again.

This graph tracks the Exchange price movements for NO in recent weeks (click to enlarge)

Indy Ref Payout image.JPG

The Exchange will continue to trade until the official announcement on Friday and Betfair has created a 'swing-o-meter' to clearly show the movement of the market until then.


Check out the latest Betfair Sports Update where Dan Thomas joins Timeform Radio's Paul Jacobs to discuss Spurs and Everton in the Europa League and the Scottish Referendum markets on Betfair...

Scottish Referendum markets on Betfair

More than £11.5m matched at time of writing

Exchange odds imply 81% chance for a NO vote

Markets calling a high turnout with +75% trading at 1.06 (1/18)

Sportsbook has Dundee as 1/2 favourite to return the highest YES vote

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