Odds shorten for local Labor victories

By Alex Easton alex.easton@northernstar.com.au

LABOR'S odds of winning Page and Richmond on Saturday have narrowed with the party now favourite in both seats.

Online betting agencies Sportingbet and Centrebet both listed Labor as a clear favourite in both seats, narrowing Richmond MP Justine Elliot's odds to $1.08, compared with $6 and $6.50 for Nationals Richmond candidate Dr Sue Page.

In Page, punters have turned the tables on that seat's Nationals candidate, Chris Gulaptis, dropping him as the favourite for the seat in favour of Labor candidate Janelle Saffin.

After weeks of level pegging on $1.87 each, punters swung heavily behind Ms Saffin on Sunday, shrinking her odds to $1.60; while the odds on Mr Gulaptis, who began the campaign as favourite, blew out to $2.20.

"Holy mackerel," exclaimed Ms Saffin when told of the change in betting.

Ms Saffin said she had not noticed any change in the mood in the electorate over the past few days.

"All I know is it's going to be a close election," she said. "There's clearly a mood; there's a mood people are expressing that they want a change."

Mr Gulaptis who played down the importance of the odds even while he was favourite said he was happy with the odds Sportingbet and Centrebet had on him.

"It might be a good bet," he quipped. "I'm not surprised; it was always going to be close."

Perhaps not so in Richmond though, where Nationals candidate Dr Sue Page's odds have lengthened considerably. Sitting member Justine Elliot has always been favourite in Richmond; however, nearly six weeks of vigorous campaigning by the Nationals has served only to further improve Labor's odds.

Dr Page said she was not concerned about the punters' prediction, saying the people laying bets against her were not necessarily the same people who would be voting in Richmond come Saturday.

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