Sportsbet has Coalition taking 91 seats at election
THE Coalition is favoured to win at least 16 seats from Labor at the next federal election, with a further three government-held seats considered too close to call in a market released by an online bookmaker Monday.
Sportsbet opened seat-by-seat markets for all 150 federal electorates on Monday, and while it does not point to an apocalyptic result for Labor, the party's strategists would still not have liked what they read.
In all the Coalition is favoured to win 91 seats, which would give it a comfortable 15-seat majority on the floor of the House of Representatives, and Labor 54.
New South Wales looks like being a disaster for ALP, with the Coalition an early favourite in eight Labor-held seats.
Included in that number is the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro, held since 2007 by Mike Kelly.
Eden-Monaro, which Mr Kelly holds by a margin of 4.24%, has gone with the government at every election since 1972.
But with a strong candidate in place - former Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Hendy - the Liberal Party is rated a $1.45 chance to win Eden-Monaro. Mr Kelly is at $2.50 in the market put up on Monday.
In a sign of just how hotly-contested this seat will be, Mr Hendy began running TV ads before Christmas.
Deputy Treasurer David Bradbury is considered a $3.50 chance to retain his outer western Sydney seat of Lindsay, with the Coalition a raging $1.25 favourite.
Interestingly Page MP Janelle Saffin is a slight outsider to hold her seat.
Sportsbet has installed two-time Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan a $1.90 favourite, just ahead of Ms Saffin on $2.
The seat of Werriwa, once held by prime minister Gough Whitlam, is considered too close to call by Sportsbet.
In Queensland the Coalition is favourite in all but six seats, but is favoured to win just one seat from Labor, Moreton in Brisbane's south.
Graham Perrett, who holds the seat by just 1.13%, is rated a $2.40 chance to retain the seat, with the Coalition a $1.20 favourite.
Treasurer Wayne Swan is a $1.85 favourite to retain his seat of Lilley, marginally ahead of the Coalition on $2.
Despite facing criticism for his alleged role in the James Ashby affair, former Howard government minister Mal Brough is at the prohibitive odds of $1.05 to win the seat of Fisher for the Coalition.
With Labor's Kirsten Livermore standing down at the next election, Capricornia in central Queensland is considered too close to call.
In Victoria the Coalition is favourite in four Labor-held seats.
Labor's only gain in the entire country according to the Sportsbet market could come in the seat of Melbourne, held by Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt.
Mr Bandt is a $2 outsider to hold the seat, with Labor's Cath Bowtell $1.90.
Of the six independents, only Andrew Wilkie and Bob Katter are expected to win their seats.
Mr Wilkie is rated a $1.35 chance to hold the seat of Denison, while Mr Katter is at Black Caviar odds ($1.05) in Kennedy.
But the market indicates Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, both of whom have faced criticism for backing Labor to form government, will have their work cut out to stay in the Parliament.
Mr Oakeshott is rated a $10 chance to retain the seat of Lyne on the NSW mid-north coast, with Nationals candidate David Gillespie a $1.08 favourite to win despite needing a swing of more than 12% to unseat the incumbent.
In New England Mr Windsor is a $3.25 outsider, with Nationals candidate and former state independent MP Richard Torbay a $1.30 favourite.
The Coalition is also a $1.25 favourite to win the seat of Dobell, which is held by Craig Thomson.
Mr Thomson sits as an independent after being forced to quit the ALP in May last year amid allegations he misused Health Services Union members' funds before joining the Parliament.
A spokesman for Sportsbet said betting on politics had become so popular the company now employed a full-time trader to frame and monitor markets.
The trader uses polling, opinion, sources and information from the electorates to frame the markets.
Sportsbet, which has already taken bets of up to $50,000 on the Coalition to win the election, expects to hold up to $3 million on the election.
The Coalition is a $1.35 favourite to form government, with Labor a $3.30 outsider.