Thursday, 6 October 2016

Hopes, Dreams, 'Dogs and Politics


Caan Berry's latest post suggests that Betfair may once again be promoting the Exchange portion of their business, with the launch of a new advert. He suggests, perhaps a little optimistically, that:

Betfair must be finally realising the anti-marketing message the Premium Charge brings to its exchange users. Often killing people’s hopes and dreams before they get going.
I'm not sure about that. The Premium Charge is Betfair's answer to the court-siding problem, and until they find another way to address this, the PC will stay in place. Disadvantaged punters will still continue to lose faster than Betfair would like, but the beneficiaries would be the court-siders alone rather than them splitting the spoils with Betfair. 


The 2016 UMPO System has opened with two straight losses - the first in extra innings, the second decided in the ninth inning - but when backing 'dogs, losing runs are to be expected. 2015 saw a run of 10 losses in 11 games, but the system still ended up comfortably in profit, so no cause for alarm. 
It helped that several of the losses went Over. In the last five seasons, play-off games have gone Over 55.2% of the time. My thinking on this is that with the best teams and best pitchers in action, the public expect low scoring games and thus the value is on the other side. 


A fair bit of money has traded in the 1.1x range for Article 50 to be triggered in the first half of next year, following Prime Minister May's comments at the weekend. 

The current price is ~1.2 but as the Independent reports today, Theresa May's plan to invoke Article 50 without consulting Parliament is subject to legal challenges. The legal arguments can be read in the link, and while I find the choice of some of the "concerned individuals" in the case to be somewhat random, the argument that the PM should not take such a momentous decision alone, based on an advisory referendum, seems rational to me, or at least likely to be subject to legal challenges. There's already one in Northern Ireland, and more can be expected. 

The proposed timing (prior to next year's French and German elections) is also rather odd, as is May's comment that "It's for the European Union - the remaining members of the EU - to decide what the process of the negotiation is". 

Given all this uncertainty, ~1.2 looks a value lay to me at this time, with plenty more upside than downside.

US Presidential Election

On the other side of the Atlantic, MarketWatch has an article today saying that the US Presidential Election is effectively over. It's hard to argue with the points made, and I hope the article proves to be correct. Hillary Clinton can still be backed at ~1.4 (IP 71.4%) and another drubbing for Trump in the upcoming second debate this Sunday and it could well all be over for him. 

Trump is not a politician, and has no record of public service. He has no qualifications to be President, is clueless about world affairs and how the economy works, and whose appeal is broadly limited to the Brexit demographic (white, uneducated, old, poor, racist) - with a few religious conservatives (a group not known for their logical thinking) thrown in. How times have changed, that a thrice married man with a 'lively' past, has got so far. 

His claims to be a successful businessman are in disarray after the revelation that he took an almost $1 billion loss in 1995, and his anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican and anti-women rhetoric is unbecoming (to say the least) for a President.

As the article suggests, there are some risks, for example if Mrs Clinton should suffer another health issue (following her pneumonia) in the next four weeks, but that 1.4 looks a value bet given the latest polls from the few states that will decide the winner.  

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