Prague, Jan 25 (CTK) – Czech bookmakers consider President Milos Zeman the favourite of the presidential runoff this week again, their representatives told CTK on Thursday before the election in which voters will choose between Zeman and his challenger, academic Jiri Drahos, on Friday and Saturday.

Bets on Zeman becoming president are now accepted at the odds of 1.55-1 to 1.7-1, while Drahos’s victory is considered less probable, with odds of 2.3-1 to 2.45-1.

“Betters more often wager on the victory of Zeman in the last week before the runoff, and so he has become the favourite,” said Pavol Bosko, from the Tipsport betting company.

Zeman’s position improved on Monday and then again after his first television duel with Drahos that was broadcast live on Tuesday, Bosko said.

He said 200,000 euros has been wagered on the Czech presidential election in Slovakia, but there the expectations are different. “Slovaks apparently feel that Zeman is over the hill and they view the situation in a different way than Czechs,” Bosko said, adding that Slovaks see a parallel to their latest presidential runoff in which Andrej Kiska, an entrepreneur and philanthropist without political experience, defeated Prime Minister Robert Fico.

Fortuna betting company spokesman Petr Srain said the odds were clearly in favour of Zeman still shortly before the announcement of the results of the first round two weeks ago, but once the results were released, betters preferred Drahos so much that he became the favourite in four days. However, before the last weekend, the situation of Zeman started markedly improving, Srain said.

Chance betting company spokeswoman Marketa Svetlikova said it was again proved that TV debates had a marked influence. The final debate that the public Czech Television broadcasts tonight may change both the betting odds and the opinions of the yet undecided voters, she said.

According to the bookmakers, Zeman will win in eight regions of the country and Drahos in six regions. Zeman is most popular in Moravia-Silesia, the Usti Region and Vysocina, where he has a countryside house, while Drahos is expected to score the best results in Prague, Central Bohemia and the Hradec Kralove Region.

According to data of the three biggest betting companies mentioned above, 199 million crowns have been wagered on the presidential election so far. Fortuna, Tipsport and Chance represent about 92 percent of the Czech betting market, according to estimates.

Betting odds for the victory of presidential candidates:

15.1. 18.1. 22.1. 25.1.
Jiri Drahos 1,6-1 to 1,68-1 1,5-1 to 1-52-1 1,87-1 to 2-1 2,3-1 to 2,45-1
Milos Zeman 2,2-1 to 2,29-1 2,45-1 to 2,75-1 1,85-1 to 2,05-1 1,55-1 to 1,7-1