January 21, 2014



Ladbrokes, the British oddsmaker with a global reach into the betting markets, shows Hillary Clinton with Big Horse advantages in both a potential Democratic primary and general election.

No other candidate even comes close to Clinton, the former among formers (first lady and U.S. senator and secretary of state and presidential candidate, and, for that matter, first lady of Arkansas).

Ladbrokes has Clinton at 2-to-1 to win the presidency (general election) and 4-to-5 for the Democratic nomination (the latter means you would bet $100 to win $90).

In either race, there is no candidate Ladbrokes thinks is even within distance of Clinton - should she enter the race, which is technically an open question. But it's hard to see how she passes absent a health concern.

So let's look at how Ladbrokes handicaps the Democratic nomination as it stands today.

Clinton's closest competitor there would be the newly elected U.S. senator from Massachusetts - Elizabeth Warren at 12-to-1 odds. She has populist bona fides, and financial expertise. Liberals see her as just the person to send to Washington to clean up Wall Street. Boys, meet the woman who is the smartest guy in the room. Warren won't challenge Clinton in a primary, though.

Vice President Joe Biden actually ranks third in the Democratic White House field at 16-to-1 odds to win the nomination.

After that, the Democratic primary and caucus field takes on a decidedly Empire State look with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (20-to-1).

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, now making the rounds in Iowa, is at 25-to-1 get the nomination.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley - who comes from the right part of the country and can deliver a stemwinder - is at 20-to-1.

Now let's review the general election ...

Clinton's 2-to-1 standing is six times better than her closest Republican rivals, the way Ladbrokes sees it. Marco Rubio, the U.S. senator from Florida, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hold 12-to-1 odds for the general election in 2016.

Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate and a Wisconsin congressman with growing clout, is at 20-to-1. His fellow Badger Stater, Gov. Scott Walker, is at 33-to-1.

A really intriguing bet, if you believe in Hillary, is this: Ladbrokes give better odds to a man being elected president in 2016 (4-to-9) than a woman (15/8).

So let's say you were looking at this race as a gaming opportunity (which would be informed by political analysis, only with real money on the line, not just reputation as a prognosticator).

What would the bet be now, as of today, with so many unanswered questions?

One possible play would be to bet on Clinton with the sole intent of covering more profitable speculations.

For the sake of argument (not a desire to sound as bold with money as Mitt Romney) one could wager $1,000 on Clinton to win the general election. If she does, you have $2,000. That gives you room to bet $100 (or more) on longer-shot candidates.

Ryan and Walker look like nice plays now - and at 20-to-1 and 33-to-1, respectively - they could pay well. The advantage nationally is with Democrats (even without Clinton in the race). There seems to be momentum, perhaps even a hint of inevitability about our next president being a woman. Warren at 25-to-1 today would be a good play, as would the more centrist Gillbrand at 40 to 1 for the White House.

I'd hedge my bets with Clinton and then go big on Ryan and Walker and Warren and Gillibrand.

Of course, this advice is only for our readers in England, where the colorful mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is 14-to-1 to become the next prime minister.