Ab Fab

Sep 12, 2013 by

Ab Fab

It seems that every year you have to act faster and faster latching on to the early value in tv betting markets. And this has certainly been the case with Strictly 2013.

Hopefully, you all took our advice, posted on August 21, & got involved backing Artem to be this year’s winning pro at 14-1, and Pasha at 16-1. Artem is partnered with Natalie Gumede who is now favourite to win SCD 2013 at 5-2, and can currently be layed on Betfair around the 11-4 mark.

Pasha is partnered with Rachel Riley who is a best price 13-2 on the high street and can be layed as of today at 8-1 on Betfair. So you already have the chance to lock in profits if you desire.

As predicted in that August 21 post, this year’s cast is heavily loaded on the female side and it really does look like the Beeb is going all out to ensure a female winner this year. At the outset Natalie, Rachel, Susanna Reid, Sophie Ellis-Bexter and Abbey Clancy all look legitimate contenders among the women.

On the male side, only Ashley Taylor-Dawson and Ben Cohen appear to fit the photofit to get the Beeb’s female voters all a fluster as long as they can show some reasonable ability on the dance floor. We are more confident Ashley can attain a winning standard compared to Ben.

This year’s field appears to lack strength in depth and it’s tempting to put a line through 7 or 8 contenders. From the little we saw in the group dance during the launch show, Natalie looks like being the best female dancer at the outset. Of course, topping the leaderboard in week 1 does not equate to winning the series and it can prove something of a burden to come flying out of the blocks in Strictly.

It is an educated guess that Rachel may not be all that good to start with. During that group dance she appeared floppier than a rag doll. We were not convinced by Sophie Ellis-Bexter either.

Susanna Reid certainly has a good profile for this as a regular Beeb face on Breakfast, and being an older, less glamorous woman compared to some of her younger female SCD rivals could count in her favour when it comes to the public vote if she can show a decent level of form, and improve as the series goes on. We have some further footage of Susanna to go on when she danced during Children In Need, which can be seen here.

We would have been recommending Susanna as an e/w investment if she was a double figure price but she is far too short at 13-2. The hope is, she doesn’t shine in the early weeks and her price drifts.

The value on the female side prior to a single botafogo being performed has to be Abbey Clancy at 16-1 with Paddy Power, available e/w at 14-1, and 15-2 to be Top Female. She showed some definite promise in that group dance and has the size and shape of a potential pocket rocket on the dance floor.

The risk with younger, attractive female dancers on Strictly is they may not be able to harness enough of a vote at the business end but we are willing to take this risk with Abbey at the odds as she comes across fine in interview and could turn out to be vying with Natalie to be the best dancer in this series.

We are always keen to try and find a back to lay contestant; someone among the rags who could surprise and trade on Betfair shorter than they are currently available. Fiona Fullerton, paired with SCD veteran Anton, who always attracts plenty of goodwill among Strictly fans, could fit the bill.

It is easy to imagine Fiona being very good at ballroom, especially with Anton as her teacher. Latin is going to be the real test but she is worth trying to match around the 70 mark on Betfair in the hope she can shake her booty in style without looking like a drunk mother-in-law at a wedding reception.

Of more interest is Mark Benton, he of those old, irritating Nationwide ads. Some cursory research shows he has been starring in Hairspray, and looks like being surprisingly fleet-footed. Mark is definitely well worth matching around the 90 mark on Betfair.

Strictly will commence on Friday September 27 and it looks like only 6 couples will dance that night, the other 9 dancing the following evening. The public vote will not commence until the following week after every couple has had the chance to dance both a ballroom and Latin number.

Keep an eye on the Comments section below this post for Strictly updates. Please do add your thoughts as we find out who is dancing what in the first 2 weeks and try and sniff out some first elimination value when odds become available.


  1. hemsby

    Good article Rob and congratulations on your previous articles picks.

    I’ve also had a few quid at big prices on Mark Benton hoping that he could be this year’s male Lisa Riley and trade much lower.

    Look forward to reading your views on the eliminations in the following weeks and any further OR opinions.

  2. Rob

    There have to be 1 or 2 surprises among the outsiders, hems, & Benton could well be one of these. His stint in Hairspray suggests he could be great value – hopefully he starts with a Latin number 🙂

  3. Rob

    So far, on the training clips, Patrick looks decent.


    And Rachel a complete beginner:


    Sophie hurt her foot but no break. Surprising amount of money for Sophie on BF, last matched at 8, so maybe she is showing some decent form in the training room.

    Going on 1st training clips, week 1 dances shaping up as follows:

    Mark, Fiona – tango
    Susanna – jive
    Sophie, Rachel – waltz
    Ben, Dave, Natalie, Patrick, Vanessa – cha, cha, cha

  4. Tim B

    From Telly Mix, for those who haven’t seen;


    Ashley & Ola – Cha Cha
    Natalie & Artem – Cha Cha
    Mark & Iveta – Tango
    Sophie & Brendan – Waltz
    Susanna & Kevin – Jive

    Tony & Aliona – Waltz


    Abbey & Aljaz – Waltz
    Ben & Kristina – Cha Cha
    Dave & Karen – Cha Cha
    Deborah & Robin – Tango
    Fiona & Anton – Tango
    Julien & Janette – Cha Cha
    Patrick & Anya – Jive
    Rachel & Pasha – Waltz
    Vanessa & James – Cha Cha

    • Rob

      Thanks Tim. It’s interesting they have loaded tomorrow night’s show with 4 strong-looking contenders in Natalie, Ashley, Sophie & Susanna.

      Sophie has the best & easiest opportunity to shine dancing the waltz. You can expect them to be harsh on Susanna, as a decent jive in week 1 is a monumental task.

      Natalie & Ashley should be highly competent. If their pro partners have any sense they should aim for less than perfect 1st efforts. It can prove something of a blight on a contestant’s long-term chances of winning the series if they are brilliant in week 1.

  5. Rob

    Fiona Fullerton is writing a Strictly diary for the Daily Telegraph:


    A useful insight, she comes across as nicely self-deprecating. The paper should be very much aligned with Strictly’s core, middle England, conservative vote base, so certainly won’t harm her in terms of helping generate support.

  6. Andy

    Morning Rob
    Dancing is one of my weak points in reality yet even I can see that Natalie is bordering on professional.
    What’s the chances she may get the Denise treatment from last year ?

    • Rob

      Hi Andy,
      There have been plenty of cries of ‘ringer’ regarding Natalie, as DVO got last year. DVO seemed to have a lot more hatred directed at her, led by the D.Mail, probably because women generally don’t like brassy, confident, attractive types like DVO. I haven’t seen enough of Natalie to pass judgement in terms of her character but the signs are she is a similarly confident, strong female.

      A lot will depend on how well Natalie endears herself to viewers over the course of the series. With the dance-off, it looks unlikely for her to exit before the final.

      Considering DVO managed 2nd place regardless of the negative press coverage, it comes down to whether there will be another contestant who captures the public’s imagination more.

      It does look a potentially more competitive field this year. Susanna put in a very decent 1st dance last night as did Ashley who fits the bill as catnip for female voters. And I expect Abbey to be excellent. So there are 3 strong contenders right there Natalie has to contend with.

      It’s very early days but if they have a 4-couple final like last year, these 4 would be my front runners to reach the final.

  7. Rob

    Lads have 1st elim & bottom 2 markets up. Given Tony has only 16, & with fast Latin to come next week, it’s very hard to see him escape the bottom 2. And if he’s in the dance-off he will be a goner.

    There is always a chance his fast Latin will be so bad it’ll be good in vote-winning terms, but that looks unlikely.

  8. Andy

    Thanks Rob, I have had a nibble of the 7/1 available for Susanna.

  9. Rob

    Tony Jacklin is also writing a Strictly diary for the Express. He is dancing the Charleston next week which is usually crowd-pleasing & might yet help him escape the bottom 2.


  10. Anonymous

    Hi Rob,

    Just name-checked you and your site on a comment over at the fab Sofabet.

    Been reading through your recent articles, and can I just say that your tipping and general predictions so far on Strictly are flippin’ stupendously accurate!

    I wish I’d been keeping an eye on your site over the last week or so…!

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Hi again,

      This was Guildo Horn Forever replying above, btw. Forgot to do that bit.

      • Rob

        Thanks for posting, Guildo. The Strictly analysis has come up trumps so far & has hopefully teed up readers for a very healthy Outright book.

        I was amazed Abbey’s price held for as long as it did, & bet365 even pushed her out to 9-1 to be Top Female after the 1st show last Friday!!

        If it wasn’t for restrictions, would have been knocking the door down to get on at that price. Thankfully the 7-1 & 15-2 was widely available elsewhere, as was the 12s & 14s e/w.

        The Artem advice obviously means a 14-1 win investment in Natalie too (not to mention 16-1 Rachel Riley).

        If you have got the above on side, my advice would be to also ensure you get Susanna & Ashley in the green at current prices.

  11. Full dance & song list:

    Ashley and Ola will be performing the American Smooth to ‘Beyond the Sea’ by Robbie Williams.

    Abbey and Alijaz will Cha Cha to ‘Let’s Get Loud’ by Jennifer Lopez.

    Patrick and Anya will be performing the Tango to the Michael Jackson classic ‘Beat It’.

    Rachel and Pasha will Salsa to Daft punk’s World-wide hit ‘Get Lucky’.

    Dave and Karen will be perform the American Smooth to ‘How Do You Like Yor Eggs in the Morning?’ by Dean Martin and Helen O’Connell.

    Fiona and Anton will Cha Cha to ‘Beggin’ by Madcon.

    Venessa and James will be Waltzing to the beautiful ‘Run To You’ by Whitney Houston.

    Julien and Janette are performing the Tango to Ladt Ga Ga’s ‘Applause’.

    Deborah and Robin will Cha Cha to Aretha Franklin’s anthemic ‘Respect’.

    Sophie and Brendan will be dance the Charleston to ‘Rock It To Me’ by Caravan Palace.

    Mark and Iveta will Salsa to ‘Bom Bom’ by Sam and the Womp.

    Tony and Aliona will perform the Charleston to ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing (If Ain’t Got That Swing)’ bu Chantz.

    Susanna and Kevin are performing the Tango to Bruno Mars’ ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’.

    Ben and Kristina are waltzing to ‘What The World Needs Now’ by Dionne Warwick.

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