AE17 and Paddy Power – what do the odds say? Average Returns

AE17 and Paddy Power – what do the odds say? Average Returns

It’s always interesting reading the analysis and predictions of political watchers, especially closing in on an election.

The thing is, the likes of Alex Kane, Newton Emerson, Allison Morris, and David McCann all have one thing in common – they don’t really stand to lose anything if they’re wrong. Maybe a bit of egg on the face, or maybe standing in a dress at the steps of Stormont…

As happened above when Alex Kane dared to suggest that Clare Bailey of the Green Party wouldn’t succeed in 2016.

He was wrong.

You know who does stand to lose if its predictions are wrong?


Which brings me to Paddy Power – who offer odds on all candidates *in the 2017a Assembly Election (why a? Because I suspect there’ll be a b…).

*except one… they missed an independent candidate from Fermanagh & South Tyrone

I took a deep look at the odds offered, and will try, over the next couple of days, to highlight some interesting points from the betting stakes.


Assuming that you were to bet £1 on ALL of a party’s candidate – what is the worst average return offered?

As odds work, if you aren’t aware, the lower the money offered back in return for your bet, the more likely it is to happen. Which is to say, that over a spread of candidates, the lower the reward, the likelier the result.

If I was to bet £1 on someone at odds of 20/1, I would win £20 (plus the return of my £1 stake). If I was to bet £1 on someone at odds of 1/20, I would win £0.05 (plus the return of my £1 stake).

So it stands to reason, that the lower the cumulative reward offered by a bookies, the smarter the selection and the better the chance of it coming to pass. Let’s take a look.

DUP £0.23
UKIP £4.50
UUP £7.25
SDLP £11.81
SF £13.16
PBP £32.31
Alliance £33.62
PUP £44.00
TUV £66.14
Green £129.27
CISTA £183.33
Workers £230.00
NI Cons £274.31
CCLAB £300.00

So, the DUP, with their dominant position going into this election, appear smart.

If you were to bet £1 on every single DUP candidate, the average return offered, is 23p. You have, at the bottom of the return scale, Arlene Foster (Fermanagh & South Tyrone) and Joanne Bunting (Belfast East), at odds of 1/200, (a return of £0.005p on a £1 stake), ranging all the way to Christopher Stalford (Belfast South), at odds of 5/4 (offering a £1.25 return on £1 stake). Interestingly, Stalford is the only DUP candidate who is not ‘odds-on’. 38 candidates, and 37 of them would offer you less than £1 back for a £1 stake. This suggests a huge upset is unlikely, whilst losses are widely expected, these odds from Paddy Power suggest that the objective odds-setters aren’t anticipating much change at all.

UKIP are second in this list, but with only 1 candidate standing, the average line is blurred somewhat, Noel Jordan (East Antrim) of UKIP stands at 9/2 but in a 5 seat contest, he is currently in 8th place as far as the odds game goes. Not many would take that bet.

Much has been said by Sinn Féin and the DUP about SDLP and UUP not running enough candidates in this election to make an impact. The average return graph above suggests that they’ve been smarter – running less candidates who will drag the average down, meaning overall they are more favoured or perhaps less-unlikely to return successfully. You have candidates such as Mike Nesbitt (Strangford), the UUP leader, at 1/200, and Colum Eastwood (Foyle), leader of the SDLP, a 1/14. Yes, those odds are far apart, but don’t mistake that for having a real difference – both should be safely returned, especially at those odds. The highest returns offered by these parties include Julie Kee (UUP-Foyle) as a 100/1 no-hoper, and Séamas de Faoite (SDLP-Belfast East) also at 100/1, meaning it’s very unlikely that Mike Nesbitt’s transfer is never likely to move from Andy Allen (1/9 – UUP-Belfast East) to de Faoite, who should, be all accounts and odds, be eliminated early.

Sinn Féin have as many strong candidates as the other parties, however they appear to have many no-hopers also, a real range…
2 candidates at 100/1 (Peter Doran-Lagan Valley; Kieran Maxwell-North Down) and one as far out as 200/1 (Dermot Kennedy-Strangford).

The Green Party are also very top heavy… Steven Agnew (1/50 – North Down) and Clare Bailey (4/9 – Belfast South) are doing the best to influence the averages, but with 18 candidates and seemingly very little chance of growing, the odds reflect this in the average returns offered. Georgina Milne (Belfast East) offers their best hope for growth, at 10/3, however as a relative unknown, in a difficult seat, a £1 bet would get you £3.33 back, but you’re more likely to just lose that £1. Having been co-opted onto Belfast Council to replace Ross Brown, who ran a strong campaign in 2016 and previous elections, what support transfers to Milne from Brown remains to be seen. Beyond, the next best hope is Malachai O’Hara at 33/1 (North Belfast) – of the 18 Green candidates, 13 of them are at odds of 100/1 or higher.

The other parties reflect a similar pattern. With the TUV, Jim Allister (North Antrim) is at strong odds of 1/40, but every other TUV candidate is from 16/1 and further out (two are as far as 150/1).

The Cross Community Labour Party may be at the very bottom, but running so few candidates makes an average less reliable than others, especially when compared to the NI Conservatives, with 13 candidates and all of them being at 200/1 or higher – not a chance… I tried to do the maths on what the return would be if you placed a £1 accumulator on all NI Conservatives being returned… but the figures were higher than calculable by myself… after 8 candidates went into the calculator, it was into the ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? pound range… i figured I could just stop there instead of doing the other 5. Suffice it so say, I wouldn’t bet your house on the tories.

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