by Joe Fraser
Nick Clegg is now the 5/6 favourite to win the second election debate but David Cameron is being heavily backed to revive the Tory campaign.
Odds on Clegg look short, reflecting bookmakers concerns that a repeat of his opening performance could lead to big payouts. The Lib Dem leader is no longer an unknown quantity and in spite of his position as odds on favourite he is still attracting bets.
Darren Haines, spokesman for Paddy Power, said: "Having been the star of the show in the first election debate last week punters are backing Clegg to either pull off a repeat performance or for the Lib Dem bandwagon to roll on long enough to keep Clegg's star in the ascendancy whatever happens on the Sky stage."
Paddy Power have Clegg as the only leader unlikely to improve on his rating second time around at odds of 7/4. They recognise the difficulty he will have in making as big an impact with expectation levels so high.
It seems punters doubt Clegg's ability to go beyond his winning margin of 51% but they do appear to believe Brown and Cameron set the bar so low as to justify being odds on to do better.
Cameron started out as clear favourite to win the first debate at 10/11 and for Thursday's debate on Sky he is 6/5 to up his game and win on the night. William Hill have had to cut his odds for the fourth time, from out at 9/4 he is now an 11/8 shot.
Hills' spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "Mr Cameron is certainly the punters' choice for the second debate."
Brown remains an unpopular figure in the betting, attracting little money in the ITV debate and is again a real outsider at 8/1. Mr Sharpe said: "Gordon Brown has been totally friendless in the market - not one bet of over £10 has been placed on him."
Meanwhile, William Hill have taken a stake of £10 on David Cameron fainting during the second leaders' debate. "This is the oddest bet request we've yet received during the Election campaign" Mr Sharpe said.
If the Tory leader keels over live on TV then at 250/1 one curious punter stands to win £2500.
Latest TV debate betting odds:
Who will win the second TV Debate?
Who will Perform better or worse than in the first debate?
Will Clegg perform better or worse? (51%)
Will Cameron perform better or worse? (20%)
Will Brown perform better or worse? (19%)