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HomeLatest NewsElectionRookie bookies scramble after 51:1 odds on Mayor winning Wakehurst

Rookie bookies scramble after 51:1 odds on Mayor winning Wakehurst

Tawny Frogmouth editor Liam Carroll stumbled across some curious odds for our upcoming election…

This is Australia, the Lucky Country, and like it or lump it, a sizable proportion of our Great Southern Land’s populace loves a flutter, especially on a Saturday arvo. And so it was on the first weekend in autumn just passed. But it wasn’t punters trackside going wild on the Gee-Gees, or locking in healthy victories backing the Mighty Sea Eagles as they kicked off 2023 with a throttling of the Bulldogs at 4 Pines Park. No, this specific punting bonanza arrived in the form of politics, the riskiest game of all, and a well-known seat round these parts, Wakehurst.

But, as will become clear, the region ringed by Manly, Pittwater and Davidson may as well have been the Bermuda Triangle to the bookies at Sportsbet, such was their blunder in market making.

But, as will become clear, the region ringed by Manly, Pittwater and Davidson may as well have been the Bermuda Triangle to the bookies at Sportsbet, such was their blunder in market making.

In the early afternoon, I put a link up on the Tawny Frogmouth social media pages, giving an overview of the March magazine’s juicy centrefold spread: a 2023 NSW Election Special, “Meet Your Candidates.” It doesn’t get much more salacious than that…

Not long thereafter, a reader wanted to know if I could make a market for the odds of a trifecta for the three Independents Joeline Hackman, Michael Regan, and Jacqui Scruby of Manly, Wakehurst and Pittwater respectively all coming home victorious on 25 March. I sure couldn’t do that, but it was well worth seeing if Sportsbet could…and this is where things got spicy.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan is running for the seat of Wakehurst as an Independent. The Honourable Bradley Ronald Hazzard is retiring after 32 years in the role. And a fantastic, albeit relatively unknown, young man Toby Williams is the Liberal candidate vying to retain the seat for the LNP.

Michael Regan. Photo: Alec Smart

Now, no question Wakehurst has been one of the bluest of blue ribbon NSW Liberal seats imaginable for a very, very long time, and no doubt Toby Williams is going to prove popular with voters, but understanding how well known and respected Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan is, and how much of a stampede the Independents have been making in politics of late, it would stand to reason Mayor Regan is perhaps not the outright favourite to win the seat, but he’s by no means a long shot.

So, when opening Sportsbet to find Wakehurst’s odds of a Toby Williams win paying $1.01, essentially an unbackable guaranteed victor, while Michael Regan was paying $14 – Sportsbet pricing in the Northern Beaches Mayor of 15 years with a chance of victory less than a 10% – it’s not a stretch to say my determination to act in the best financial interests of my young family saw my fingers work at a swiftness approaching lightspeed to do what had to be done, PLUNGE!! [Editor’s note: absurder still, readers since tell us it started at 51:1!]

At this point in proceedings, after a quick but very small plunge, it’s always important to question whether you’ve got the situation completely wrong, just in case you’ve done what usually happens, given money to the bookies for absolutely no good reason.

It’s always important to question whether you’ve got the situation completely wrong, just in case you’ve done what usually happens, given money to the bookies for absolutely no good reason.

A quick check of other seats revealed that neighbouring Independents Joeline Hackman and Jacqui Scruby were paying around $2.25, a very reasonable market that made perfect sense. The Beaches’ Independents are worthy contenders and being priced as such. Furthermore, the LNP incumbent James Griffin in Manly and candidate Rory Amon in Pittwater were paying around $1.80, again, very reasonable pricing.

Both men deserve to be priced as favourites, but nowhere near the $1.01 favouritism being showcased in Wakehurst. What was Sportsbet doing? And just how quickly could more investment capital be placed on Regan at $14, and fast!

Liberal candidate for Wakehurst Toby Williams.

Being privy to countless footy and sports chat groups too, and knowing it was against the laws of mateship to keep this complete Sportsbet mispricing to myself, I let it be known to these groups that something was serious amiss with the pricing of Michael Regan’s odds to win Wakehurst.

Perhaps 2.25:1 as per Joeline and Jacqui would make sense, but 14:1 was pure absurdity, the betting opportunity of a lifetime. HURRY! Within a quarter of an hour, the odds narrowed from $14 to $10, Sportsbet clearly twigging to the possibility their Wakehurst pricing was perhaps a tad askew. $10 for a wager that should likely be at $2 is still a mouth-watering proposition.

In fact, TAB had the same bet at $2.20. Sharp minds buoyed by TAB’s market loaded up even more so now. TAB knew something Sportsbet didn’t. This could be the bet of the century! And it won’t last long! I repeat, HURRY!! Race to Sportsbet and giddy up on Wakehurst.

[Editor’s note- we don’t condone gambling in excess and take particular exception to the state of gambling advertising in Australia, but this case was worth the attention.]

Plunging continued. 10:1 held for at least half an hour, but word was spreading like wildfire in chat groups and punting circles that the smart money was loading up on an independent Wakehurst go-getter. Sportsbet alarms were sounding. Suddenly the odds were all over the shop, fluctuating like Sea Eagle’s fortunes on the strength and vitality of Tommy Turbo’s hamstrings.

Late to the market punters locked in odds of $5 as quickly as their fingers could carry them before whoooosh, just like Keyser Söze, the Sportsbet market in Wakehurst was gone, vanished into thin air. Punters checked their accounts to make sure the bets they’d placed in time were still standing. Yes, phew. Perhaps we all might be able to afford to send our progeny to private schools after all. What a Saturday afternoon thrill ride!

Liam Carroll eyes a good filly.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The seat of Wakehurst is far from assured for Regan, Williams, or anyone. And while 14:1, 10:1 and even 5:1 odds were completely off the charts and a total mispricing of Regan’s chances of victory, there are no guarantees in this world. So, who knows what might happen between now and 25 March.

Good luck to all, and especially whoever at Sportsbet set their Wakehurst prices on Saturday…it may not be easy explaining your actions to the boss. And it would seem Sportsbet has seen the writing on the wall for their political pricing acumen, moments ago removing all betting options for NSW individual electorates, probably for the best, they’re a “sports” betting agency after all.

Politics is a whole different ball game.

 

Our main image was created by talented local illustrator artist Tristan Grindrod overnight! You can view more of his work here and  here. 

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