THE Rutherglen and West Hamilton by-election on Thursday is widely viewed as a two-horse race between Labour and the SNP.

For weeks, campaigners have been out in force for SNP candidate Katy Loudon and Michael Shanks, who is hoping to win the seat for Labour.

The verdict from bookmakers is that Labour is the clear favourite to win.

In a blog written for Betfair, betting analyst Paul Krishnamurty predicts the party has a 95% chance of winning the contest on Thursday.

READ MORE: Do I need ID to vote in Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election?

That is better chances than for two other by-elections which are being seen as key to Labour this October, with 74% chance in Tamworth, taking place following the resignation of Tory MP Chris Pincher, and 45% in Mid Befordshire, the former seat of Tory MP Nadine Dorries.

Krishnamurty said the by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West would be a “key test” of Labour’s progress in Scotland.

The National:

He wrote: “The SNP continue to dominate the nationalist vote, while the Unionist vote remains split between Labour and the Conservatives.

“That is another reason why winning this is essential for Labour.

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“They need to demonstrate they are the stronger Unionist party, as the Tories did at recent elections, with a view towards picking up the tactical swaps that have become commonplace since the independence referendum.”

He added: “To be frank, anything less than a Labour gain would be a disaster for Keir Starmer.

“Rutherglen and Hamilton West is their fourth easiest target in Scotland, and was won as recently as 2017 under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.”

With two days to go before the polls open, bookmaker William Hill has odds of 1/20 for Labour to win, while the SNP is a 9/1 bet. Trailing in third place is the Conservatives whose hopes of securing the seat are at 66/1.

The Liberal Democrats are trailing behind independence candidate Colette Walker at 200/1, while the odds for the Greens are 250/1.