The Latest London Bookmakers’ Odds on the Next Archbishop of Canterbury

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out. For those of you following this closely, you will notice there have been significant changes and movements.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

8 Comments
Posted September 25, 2012 at 7:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

The things people bet on smile

September 25, 9:08 am | [comment link]
2. Ad Orientem wrote:

I remember the wild betting on who the next Pope would be when JPII died. That and the name that would be chosen. The bookmakers got both right.

On a side note it’s not looking too good for Romney in the election. The London bookies seem to be averaging around 5:1 in favor of Obama winning reelection.

September 25, 3:08 pm | [comment link]
3. Dick Mitchell wrote:

Would someone help us out here?  Could someone interpret?  I came out of the small-town Protestant South, have never placed a bet, and that table means virtually nothing to me.  Who is up?  Who is down?  What has changed?

September 25, 3:47 pm | [comment link]
4. Ross wrote:

#3:  Bookmakers offer “odds” on the outcome of… well, pretty much anything; in this case, who will become the next ABC.  The odds are traditionally expressed as “x/y” where y is the amount you bet, and x is the amount you get if you win.  So, for instance, the table shows that from at least one bookie, Justin Welby is being offered at 6/4; so if you bet, say, $400, you’d get $600 if he is elected.  Alternatively, if you bet on Michael Langrish (going at 150/1 from that same bookie) and bet that same $400, you’d get $60,000 (400 x 150) if you win.

The bookmakers want to make money on the deal, of course; so they set the odds to give big payouts for things they think are unlikely, and modest payouts for the more likely outcomes.  The person with the best odds is the one that the bookies figure is most likely to win.  Since they have a lot of money riding on the outcome, bookies pay a lot of attention to getting those odds right; and there’s a constant feedback process as people lay money on the person that they think is most likely to win (or perhaps who they just think is more likely to win than the odds being offered.)

Making book predates the term “crowdsourcing” by, I would hazard a guess, several millenia; but that’s one way of looking at what it’s doing.  It’s leveraging the knowledge and intuition of a large number of people who are staking actual money in order to estimate how likely various outcomes are.

September 25, 5:11 pm | [comment link]
5. driver8 wrote:

So Justin Welby is currently the odds on favorite? One bookmaker not even taking bets on him any longer. One offering odds of 1/100.

September 25, 7:22 pm | [comment link]
6. CharlietheCook wrote:

When one makes book where ‘vigorish’ is involved (the extra percentage you pay on a losing bet) the bookmaker’s sole task is to move the odds around until his book is perfectly balanced on both sides of the bet therefore assuring that he will make the “vig” on one-half of all the money bet (the losing side).  I’m not sure how it works in Great Britain but that’s how a sports book is run in the U.S.  For sporting events here in the US the “line” is moved until the bookie balances his book. Ten percent has been the traditional vigorish.  You bet $200 on a football game and lose, you owe your bookie $220.

In my wilder youth I put myself through college running a sports book.  There, I’ve confessed.  I’m not proud of it.

September 25, 7:36 pm | [comment link]
7. Ad Orientem wrote:

Charlie
I don’t see a particular source of shame there. Did you cheat anyone? Were you working for the mob? If not, then who cares? I have a lot more respect for your method of paying school debts than I do for people who sponge off the government or wait for mommy and daddy to give them a free ride.

September 25, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
8. CharlietheCook wrote:

I appreciate it #7.

September 25, 9:10 pm | [comment link]
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