Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The British bookmaking giant Ladbrokes shows what bettors think of Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul.

Background noise for the Republican presidential nomination.

In England, where this sort of wagering is legal, Ladbrokes on Monday had former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 1-to-16 odds to win the GOP nomination for the White House. This means you would have to bet $1,600 to win $100 if you select Romney right now. This is about as close to sure-thing odds as one sees in politics or horse-racing or anything.

Meanwhile, Ladbrokes has Gingrich at 14-to-1 to win the nomination. Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, is 20-to-1 for the prize, and Paul comes in at 25-to-1.

Now here’s a betting strategy: Let’s say Georgian Gingrich is able to hang on through Super Tuesday and rack up some delegates in the South, that he does well in Texas, along with Ron Paul, a Lone Star State congressman. And let’s presume, which isn’t a jump, that Romney’s gaffe train continues running on time, making all the predicted stops — not caring about the poor, corporations are people, he enjoys firing people, etc.

Moreover, GOP delegates in Tampa Bay, hungering to Skywalker into Battlestar Barack, just don’t see Romney as the man to do it. What happens? A brokered convention that results in a big-name Republican not in the current field as the party’s nominee.

Is this likely? No.

Possible? Yes.

Ladbrokes has former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 100-to-1 odds to win the GOP presidential nomination, and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels at 66-to-1.

That considered, you could bet $20 on Bush to be the nominee. Should it happen, you’d win $2,000.

It’s not a shot in the dark.

Ladbrokes actually puts odds to this theory. The bookmaker has a 14-to-1 “convention surprise” betting line that anyone but Romney, Gingrich, Santorum or Paul will receive the GOP nomination for president.

Of course, to take advantage of this, you’d have to be in England or know someone who is, as former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach helped crack down on Internet gambling.

Now on to the general election …

President Barack Obama’s Ladbrokes odds are quite favorable now — 8-to-13 (wager $130 to win just $80) on re-election to a second term Nov. 4. Romney is at 13-to-8 odds to be our next president, and Gingrich is 25-to-1 to occupy the White House.

Where the betting gets super compelling is with the GOP nomination for vice president.

For two years now, Taking Note has made the case for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as the likely Republican vice presidential candidate. Ladbrokes and its gamblers agree: Rubio leads all comers with 5-to-2 odds to capture the GOP nomination for VP.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a close second at 5-to-1.

Other contenders are as follows: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, 20-to-1; Santorum, 16-to-1; Daniels 25-to-1; General David Petraeus, 50-to-1; and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, 10-to-1.

A good price (where the odds are high but there’s a reasoned chance at the outcome) is with Condoleezza Rice who is at 25-to-1 to be the GOP nominee for vice president. The former secretary of state is proven on a national stage and would offer diversity of experience as well as race and gender to a Romney presidential candidacy.

If you were in England right now, or have a Facebook friend who is, a clever wager would be Jeb Bush for the GOP nomination and Condi Rice for the GOP VP nomination. It’s risk a little to make a lot on practical long shots.

But the smart money is as follows:

Romney with the nomination.

Rubio as Republican VP.

And an Obama re-election to the White House.