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Bookmaker slashes odds on Higgs discovery

By Hamish Johnston

“Bookies bashed by giant god-particle gamble,” says a press release from the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power.

It seems that the bookie has received several “substantial” bets that the Higgs boson will be discovered in 2011 – a flutter that Paddy Power was offering at odds of 12/1 on, but has now slashed to a paltry 1/3.

These bets were probably inspired by the positive results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) being reported at the Europhysics Conference of High-Energy Physics that is running in Grenoble, France.

In particular, it looks as if a low-mass Higgs in the 130–150 GeV/c2 region may be emerging from LHC data. You can read all about this and other Higgs news in this on-the-spot report by our particle-physics specialist Matthew Chalmers.

Paddy Power is now offering odds that favour finding the Higgs sometime this year. At 1/3, a £3 bet will pay out a measly £4 if the Higgs is discovered before January. In contrast, the same bet last week would pay a whopping £39.

The bookie is also taking bets on the mass of the Higgs, offering the following odds:

6/1 130 GeV/c2 or lower
13/8 131–140 GeV/c2
5/2 141–150 GeV/c2
7/4 Higher than 150 GeV/c2

And if you think the Higgs will be not be found this year, the odds are 4/1 for discovery in 2012 and 5/1 in 2013 or later.

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