By Richard Chidwick
Today's televised leadership debate could decide the outcome of the general election and a wise placed bet could leave the punter in the money
David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown will lock horns in Britain's first ever televised leadership debate.
With the bookmakers offering odds on nearly every aspect of it, from who wins (as decided by an UICM poll) to the colour of the ties, punters have lots of ways to win, or lose, money.
William Hill makes Mr Cameron evens to win the first debate, and 8/15 to win the most debates.
They are offering 10/1 for a leader saying, "I made a mistake" during the debate. There is also a 16/1 chance that all three wear shirts in predominantly party colors.
William Hill says there is so much betting interest in the outcome debates that they will be betting throughout the program, updating their odds depending on the leaders' blunders and successes.
Spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "For once, a General Election run up will feature what threatens to be a potentially interesting head-to-head-to-head showdown amongst the Party Leaders and punters are already showing an interest by placing their bets on who will come out on top".
Mr Sharpe added: "There is already a substantial five figure sum riding on the outcome of the opening debate, and we anticipate a huge betting interest during the course of the event which should see a six figure amount at stake, depending on who emerges as the winner."
Paddy Power has Nick Clegg as their choice to win the debate with punters backing the Lib Dem leader from 5/2 outsider cut to 7/4 as second favourite.
David Cameron is the odds-on favourite to be declared the official winner in polls at 10/11 and Mr Clegg has leapfrogged Mr Brown who has drifted out to 10/3 from 7/4.
The bookmaker says it has taken three times as many bets on the Lib Dem leader to win as the others put together.
Spokesman Darren Haines,said: "As the most unknown of the three leaders Nick Clegg has the least to lose and could benefit from the surprise factor. But if the betting is right, nobody is expecting a strong performance from Brown.
"It is often said that it is the leaders who have the most to lose in a TV debate so will Brown come to regret agreeing to the programs come May 6th."
Some of the quirkier bets include Nick Clegg at 11/10 to notably perspire.
Audience responses are also worth a punt, with applauding highly likely at 11/8 and booing at 7/4.
Although Power's odds on a streaker at the debate might seem low at 50/1, it might reward a small bet of £1.
Darren Haines, spokesman for Paddy Power said: "This is a historical moment; we have never had this in British politics. The UK viewing figures should be good and there is lots of speculation. The debates could really capture people's imagination."
Ladbrokes are basing their odds on a YouGov poll taken immediately after the contest. They have placed Nick Clegg at 11-8, Cameron on 6-4 and Brown on 11-4.
The bookmaker offers odds of 5/2 for the prime minister and his main challenger not to shake hands and any leader to walk off during the debate is 33/1.
Jobs, taxes and immigration to be mentioned attracts the very low odds of 1/8.
Who will win the first TV Debate?
TV Debate cliché betting
Which cliché will be said by a party leader first?
16/1 Hung Parliament
18/1 Climate Change
18/1 Law and Order
20/1 Working class
20/1 18 years
20/1 Tony Blair
20/1 Vince Cable
25/1 Proud to be British
25/1 Family man
First to Noticeably Perspire
5/1 Any party leader not to shake hands with another at the end of the debate
First Audience Rule to Be Broken
ITV Election Debate Peak Viewers
4/1 Under 8 million
5/2 8,000,000 - 11,000,000
7/4 11,000,001 - 14,000,000
9/4 14,000,001 - 17,000,000
6/1 17,000,001 - 20,000,000
16/1 Over 20,000,000
Which TV Debate Will Have the Highest Viewing audience
20/1 0-4.9 million
6/4 5-9.9 million 6/4
Evens 10-14.9 million
9/2 15-19.9 million 9/2
20/1 20 million + 20/1
Cameron's tie color
10/1 No Tie
To win first debate
To win most debates
4/1 Brown and Clegg
25/1 Any leader to walk out during a debate
6/1 Any leader to refuse to shake hands with one of the others on-screen
100/1 Any leader to throw a punch during the debates
What will the leaders say?
1/8 Jobs tax
1/6 Climate change
1/3 We're all in this together
1/2 Hung parliament
4/6 Proportional representation
Evens hard working families
2/1 Ordinary middle class background
2/1 Cross-party consensus
2/1 Broken britain
9/4 Tough on crime
4/1 Binge drinking
5/1 No time for a novice
20/1 Fire up the Quattro
33/1 Tony McCoy
50/1 You're no Charles Kennedy