Find Value Betting the Russian Presidential Election 2018

Find Value Betting the Russian Presidential Election 2018

By Ed Vizard | US Presidential Election, Specials | March 16th, 2018

Russia seems to be a constant theme in the media at the moment, with the recent spy saga bringing President Putin under scrutiny of the global political microscope. However, the Russian election is fast approaching on Sunday 18 March 2018 so these recent story-lines could play a role in the political betting market.

The seemingly untouchable President is incredibly short odds to win – even for sure-thing favourite backers. However, with online bookmakers like Ladbrokes offering a range of markets based on Putin's likely victory, there's some scope for intrigue when it comes betting on the margin of the result.

Putin Looks Hard to Oppose... But No Value

Russia may be a theoretically democratic nation, but 65-year-old Vladimir Putin's reign as President is more befitting of the Emperors of the past or dictators of the current. Such is his domination of the political scene, that Putin is now very likely to retain his position and enter a fourth term in office.

Given the length of the presidential term has already been increased from four to six years during his reign, you can see why he's approaching ‘Emperor’ status. Furthermore, the man considered to be his only conceivable threat, Alexei Navalny, has been banned from the election.

The case itself many deem to be highly convenient timing for the President. Recent electoral polls predict another big victory for Putin, with a winning margin somewhere around 70 percent. Furthermore, analysts don't believe that any opposition candidate will gain more than ten percent of the vote.

It's therefore easy to see why Ladbrokes have priced-up Vladimir Putin at an extremely short 1/200 for victory. For those who do fancy what would amount to a huge political shock, far more surprising than even Trumps win – any other candidate winning is available at odds of 20/1, but not highly recommended.

Putin to Gain Winning Margin But Not Huge

While betting on the outright-win market of the Russian election doesn't make appeal, there's significantly more value and scope when considering precisely how dominant President Putin's victory is likely to be. On paper, if the opinion polls are correct, Putin will gain over 70 percent of the vote, which would be his best-ever result since his first Presidential victory in the 2000 election.

Correspondingly, a winning percentage of 70-80 percent is favourite with Ladbrokes, at odds of 8/11. However, given the short odds, there are reasons to oppose a record-breaking win for Putin, and instead back his winning margin to 60-70% at more appealing odds of 9/2, offering more value for your wager.

Putin Vote Share Odds at Ladbrokes

  • Under 50% = 20/1
  • 50-60% = 10/1
  • 60-70% = 9/2
  • 70-80% = 8/11
  • 80-90% = 9/2
  • Over 90% = 25/1

Why Putin Probably Won't Secure a Landslide

When it comes to opposing a winning margin over 70 percent, there are several potential reasons why Putin won't have a total landslide win and will instead have to settle for smaller winning margin:

The Number of Opposition Candidates
There are seven opponents to Putin in the election, comprising a mix of political persuasions and levels of experience – with Putin theoretically sitting in the middle ground when it comes to left- and right-wing ideology. The number of candidates has doubled since the last Russian election in 2008, which technically could attract a larger spread of votes, slightly diluting the numbers for Putin.
New Female Liberal Candidate Ksenia Sobchak
The political power of women in politics is healthy at the moment, and 36-year-old television celebrity Ksenia Sobchak is certainly breaking down gender roles in Russia. As the only female candidate in the election, she's been described as ‘Russia's Paris Hilton’ and is the daughter of the former Mayor of St. Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak – interestingly deemed to be the political mentor of Vladimir Putin. Many claim Sobchak is a pawn placed into the limelight by the Putin camp, to draw away some voters from his opposition, without being any threat to his campaign. On the one hand they could be right – after-all, she's not a professional politician. However, Sobchak is technically very maverick – campaigning as a “candidate against all”, with the goal of attracting protest voters. She's had a huge amount of media access during the campaign, but whether she's taken seriously is open to debate. But there's a chance that Sobchak could appeal to new voters, protestors, minority groups and Russia's new generation of empowered women. If she does, those Putin figures could be dug into a little.
Biased Opinion Polls
Most opinion polls in Russia are state controlled, which could potentially be designed to boost the hype around Putin's dominance as the election draws near. There's a fair chance that they're being just a little overzealous, with his numbers a bit below the predicted 70 percent.
The Impact of the Recent Russian Spy Scandal
While the Russian spy scandal in the UK may bring out patriotic voters in support of Putin, it could also cast doubts in the minds of some voters about the state of Russian politics and foreign relations. If it does, some could be swayed away from Putin.

Final Thoughts

If you're planning on holding a champagne reception to welcome in the next President of Russia – then make sure your paper plates have an image of Vladimir Putin on them. However, while he looks a dead cert, backing him to win with 60-70% votes at 9/2 with Ladbrokes makes more appeal than a complete landslide victory.

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