Friday, February 16, 2007

What would you bet on Bob McCartney winning more than one seat? Read on for the official odds!

Confession time. I’ve never been through the door of a bookmakers, though I have peered through the windows (now that you can see in). I don’t particularly like what gambling does to some people, though I admit it doesn’t destroy everyone who has a flutter. But if this post is your first step on a slippery slope to ruin (or fortune), don’t come blaming me when you turn into John McCririck!

Eastwood bookmakers are offering odds on various outcomes of the March 7 elections. As a public service, and to satisfy my curiosity, I emailed through to ask if they had odds on Bob McCartney winning more than one seat?

After all it’s an outcome that deserves some speculation. It’s probably more fascinating than the last couple of series of Big Brother! And it gives us all something to do while waiting for the final shortlists for the Irish Blog Awards.

And after some stabbing at a calculator and chewing a pencil, thanks to Adrian Eastwood we have the odds! I guess that they’ll appear on Eastwood’s NI Assembly Election webpage over the next day or two and be available over the counter too. (But remember, much like the price of petrol at Tesco, they’ll continue to go up and down over the coming weeks.)

Bob McCartney updated

  • To win no seats - 5/4 Evens
  • To win at least 1 seat - 1/2 4/6
  • To win at least 2 seats - 9/2 5/1
  • To win at least 3 seats - 20/1
  • To win at least 4 seats - 100/1

Now bookmakers are really smart when it comes to setting odds. They don’t have a ready-made roulette wheel or one armed bandit that guarantees to favour the house and rake in the cash. So they have to take into account both their best guess of what the outcome will be, balanced with their best guess of their customers’ perceptions of the outcome.

But Peter Hain, the Chief Electoral Officer and the next Speaker of the NI Assembly can sleep easy and not get too worried about the ramifications of McCartney winning more than one seat, because Eastwood’s don’t reckon it’ll happen!

There was another interesting set of odds on Eastwood’s email.

Will the Northern Ireland Assembly be restored on March 26th ?

  • YES - 3/5
  • NO - 6/5

Win only

A good reminder, that in NI politics, the endgame isn’t ever quite how you’d imagine.

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