As the race for New England gallops around the turn and into the straight, bookmakers have Barnaby Joyce out in front, followed by Labor, an Independent and then the odds blow out to anyone you like. However, for all you Coalition supporters that may be where the good news ends because the bookies are still tipping the next government to be wearing those red Labor colours.
The fact that Nationals candidate Barnaby Joyce goes into this contest as the favourite should not really surprise anyone. He has the advantage of being the incumbent and the exit poll from the Tamworth Meet the Candidates event went in his favour with 46.4 per cent of the vote. However, Independent Adam Blakester ran second that evening with 43.1 per cent of the poll, and certainly bettered that at the Armidale meeting.
So, while both Sportsbet and Ladbrokes have Mr Joyce at slightly more than even money ($1.01 and $1.03 respectively), they also have Labor ($11 and $8) ahead of the Independents ($16 and $17), which was interesting.
During last week Mr Joyce reportedly predicted a hung Parliament, but it seems the TAB does not agree. They are paying out $1.13 on a Labor government and $6 on a hung Parliament and they think the chances of a returned Coalition government are a bit over 5-1.
So what will the new Parliament look like? TAB thinks it is most likely the Coalition will hold between 61 to 65 seats and Labor will hold 81 to 90. The odds of this happening are 3.5-1.