The odds: Live betting sees punters back Clegg

by Joe Fraser

The people watched, the worm wiggled and Alastair Stewart waved like a mad conductor. All the while, those keeping one eye on the live betting would have seen the impact of Nick Clegg’s impressive performance.

Paddy Power’s in-running betting on the winner last night saw fluctuations throughout the show but it was Clegg, who began as second favourite behind David Cameron, who came out on top according to online punters. Towards the end of proceedings he had become odds-on favourite to win the debate.

Paddy Power has since cut the odds on the Liberal Democrats winning the election from 200/1 to 80/1. Though still a hugely unlikely prospect, it naturally increases the chances of a hung parliament with Paddy Power cutting the odds to 6/4 from 7/4.

Despite David Cameron failing to live up to pre-debate expectations, the Conservatives remain unchanged to win the election at 1/8. Labour tried to check hopes on a show stealing turn from Gordon Brown yet he may still have been the loser on the night. His party have been pushed out for an election victory to 5/1 from 9/2.

Half an hour into the debate Clegg was at 15/8 having drifted to 2/1 from starting odds of 7/4. His contribution to the discussions on law and order and expenses marked the beginning of a climb that saw him become joint favourite alongside Cameron at 10/11 by 9.30pm.

He smoothly played within the rules against audience interaction by repeatedly using the names of those posing the questions, finding them in the audience and addressing them in a genuine and personable way.

Within five minutes of drawing level, Clegg was favourite for the first time at 4/5 and on course to be declared the winner. As the debate drew to a close Clegg was just 2/5 on having come out on top.

Cameron was only able to hold his lead in the betting through the opening speeches and early exchanges on immigration. A decent showing from Brown didn’t attract much betting activity and having started at 9/2 he drifted right out to 12/1 by 9.30pm after talk on education.

Darren Haines, spokesman for Paddy Power, said: “Round one to Clegg – he was consistently backed throughout the show with Cameron holding steady but Brown offered no interest to punters.”

Paddy Power will be paying out on the winner of the first debate according to ICM polls.

Latest election betting odds

Election Winner

1/8 Conservatives (1/8)

5/1 Labour (9/2)

80/1 Lib Dems (200/1)

Hung Parliament

8/13 Conservative majority (8/15)

6/4 Hung Parliament (7/4)

12/1 Labour majority (12/1)

For the latest political betting odds and election betting head over to Paddy Power.