For months, Hardy and Norton had been jointly top of the betting with most bookmakers.
But now, after Barbara Broccoli was reported to have said she is finally open to casting a black 007, Elba’s odds have been slashed.
With Betfair, he is the new 2/1 favourite, leapfrogging both Hardy and Norton as punters rush to put money on his appointment.
The latter two are now on 3/1, with Sam Heughan still a hairline behind on 7/2 in the wake of his work in Outlander and The Spy Who Dumped Me.
Cillian Murphy is on 5/1, with Jack Huston priced at 7/1, Aidan Turner on 8/1 and This Is Us star Justin Hartley on 9/1.
Tom Hiddleston, former favourite, is now a relative longshot on 11/1.
Yesterday director Antoine Fuqua claimed Broccoli had told him “it is time” for the list of James Bonds to be diversified.
Antoine told the Daily Star: “Idris could do it if he was in shape.
“You need a guy with physically strong presence. Idris has that.”
Craig’s replacement is not expected to be announced for a long time yet – with Craig yet to even start production on his own fifth and final outing as the iconic spy.
That as-yet-untitled film goes starts filming at the end of 2018, with a view to release in late 2019.
Craig had implied when he confirmed his involvement last year that the 25th film in the long-running series would be his last.
Speaking on US TV after speculation that he wouldn’t even do one more movie, he clarified: “I always wanted to [return], I needed a break.
“I just want to go out on a high note, and I can’t wait.”
Other casting for Bond 25 remains unclear, but Mark Strong is thought to be in line for a role.
James Bond 25 is due out in late 2019.