With five days to go before the Scottish elections a dramatic swing in the betting has made no SNP majority the favourite. Meanwhile, the Tories are still odds-on to win Hartlepool says Max Liu...
"With five days to go before the 6 May vote an SNP majority has drifted to 2.285/4 on the Betfair Exchange with no majority in to 1.748/11 - a 58% chance."
Bettors think the SNP will fail to win a majority in Thursday's Scottish elections after polls indicated Nicola Sturgeon's party were likely to fall short of the 65 seats they need.
With five days to go before the 6 May vote an SNP majority has drifted to 2.285/4 on the Betfair Exchange with no majority in to 1.748/11 - a 58% chance.
That represents a turnaround from a week ago when bettors were backing Sturgeon's party to cross the all-important 65 seat threshold and made a majority a 60% chance.
The SNP were always a shoo-in to win the most seats but the question was whether they could win the majority that would allow Sturgeon to call for a referendum on independence.
For several months it looked as though the answer was "yes" with polls projecting them to win around 70 seats - improving on the 63 they won at the last Scottish parliament elections in 2016.
Now they are 1.141/7 to win under 69.5 seats on Thursday after a bombshell poll released this weekend put them at 62.
Scottish parliament election forecast (30 Apr 2021):? Britain Elects (@BritainElects) April 30, 2021
SNP: 62 MSPs (-1)
CON: 26 (-5)
LAB: 25 (+1)
GRN: 11 (+5)
LDEM: 5% (-)
ALBA: 0 (-)
More on seat changes, polls and probabilities here:https://t.co/sEKbDLbuT5 pic.twitter.com/ucjaBSFcPj
The polls shows Labour picking up support - an interesting development after it had looked like the Conservatives would almost certainly finish second on 6 May.
Bettors remain confident, however, that will be the case and The Tories, who have tried to hoover up the anti-independence vote, are 1.4640/85 in the winner without the SNP market.
With the Tories, who have been unpopular in Scotland historically, mired in sleaze allegations at Westminster, it could be that Labour are a bet at 2.747/4.
There are still five days to go, Sturgeon is a formidable campaigner and the SNP may yet win a majority on Thursday.
But there is no doubt that the race will go down to the wire in the election that many commentators believe will shape the future of the UK.
Interestingly, no referendum on Scottish independence before 2025, which has long been odds-on, has drifted to 2.0621/20 while a 2022 referendum is in to 3.185/40.
Read further updates and analysis on Betting.Betfair right up to polling day.
Tories odds-on to win Hartlepool in spite of sleaze allegations
I reported on Wednesday that the odds on Boris Johnson leaving office in 2021 had shortened following a string of allegations about everything from the PM's handling of the pandemic to who paid for the Downing Street flat refurbishment.
The price has now drifted back out to 4.67/2 - where it was before cash for curtains - but the past seven days have still been one of the worst week's of Johnson's premiership.
There is good news, though, for the PM in the market on the Hartlepool by-election.
Even as national polling this weekend showed Labour closing on the Tories - and no over all majority once again the clear favourite at the next general election - bettors remain convinced that the Conservatives can win Thursday's crucial by-election.
Labour have held the seat since 1964 but it is 1.645/8 that the Conservatives will win on Thursday with Keir Starmer's party 2.447/5.
Is the market underestimating Labour's ground game as well as the potential for the Tories' national problems to cut through in the constituency?
Predictions of Labour's demise at by-elections have proved premature in the past - remember, for example, Peterborough in 2019 when they were expected to lose but upset the odd to win.
Paul Krishnamurty thinks Labour are a bet at the odds and I agree.
In case you were wondering, by the way, Sadiq Khan is 1.021/50 to win the London Mayoral election on the same day. His Tory opponent Shaun Bailey 90.089/1.