Bolt From The Blue

Dec 20, 2014 by

Bolt From The Blue

It’s the Strictly final and our friends at the Daily Star have put a cat among the pigeons, again, by telling us Frankie ‘has been pulling in the most support from viewers in recent weeks’ in a story found here.

This preview of the final was all set to advise that 1.65 – the price Caroline was trading at on Betfair yesterday evening – was far too short, and the final may not be as clear cut as the Caroline money buyers are anticipating, so the Star story has corrected the market somewhat, as she trades at time of writing at 1.94.

Caroline certainly heads into the final with the greatest momentum after receiving the first 40 of the series for her semi-final salsa, and a top scoring 39 for her quarter-final Argentine Tango, and a top scoring 39 for her entertaining Charleston the week before that.

There is a solid argument the last two weeks of Strictly have been all about negotiating the non-touring Pixie and Jake into the bottom 2, and off the show, and the ramping of Caroline has been part of this Machiavellian plan. Regardless of this, the final of Strictly has a different dynamic to the rest of the series and it would be unwise to get too caught up in what has come before as we saw last year.

Last year, the Star informed us Susanna Reid had been topping the public vote series-long and she was a short-priced favourite to win heading into the final. But in the final she was deramped by the judges (as was the non-touring Sophie) given the coffin slot of 1 in the running order, and TPTB succeeded in toppling her, aided by the fact voting massively ramps up come the final, with more than 6 million votes cast last year.

The composition of this year’s final is something we have not seen before: two men, two women. In 2013, the final was an all-female affair. The previous year, the first year of the new 4-couple final format, Louis Smith was the only male finalist versus 3 females.

The frustration is, we do not know the judges’ choices which will be danced first in the final by the 4 couples. There are rumours Frankie may have the samba (for which she received 32 in week 7 dancing to Connie Francis’ ‘La Bamba’) and Caroline the American Smooth (33, week 9 to Robbie Williams’ ‘Mack The Knife’) during which she memorably stumbled early on, so that would make sense as a choice as it is supposed to be a dance the judges think contestants can improve upon.

Simon seemed happy with the choice given to him and Kristina when interviewed on ITT this week. He has mentioned the likes of the Jive and Charleston appearing in his showdance which could mean he has the Quickstep as he describes himself as a ballroom boy. Mark has only said his judges’ choice dance was proving a difficult one to master in training.

Frankie, the only finalist not to hit the bottom 2 series-long, certainly has the makings of a potentially voter-friendly, ballroom-based showdance to ‘Get Happy’, while Caroline will be looking to tug on heartstrings with a slow, barefoot, performance-based number. Caroline’s is a riskier choice, for sure.

Mark and Simon, both of whom have been in the dance-off three times in this series, are going the uptempo route, throwing in plenty of tricks. These sort of routines risk going wrong due to a loss of timing and some of the more difficult lifts can end up looking untidy.

Given they saved Simon over Pixie and really pushed for him to avoid the bottom 2 in the semi-final, it seems highly likely Simon is going to be ramped in the final, and it wouldn’t surprise to see him given the pimp slot. In an interview on the BBC Breakfast show Caroline intimated Frankie will be dancing first in the final.

Mark may well endure a subtle de-ramping and a points total after the first 2 dances that places him bottom on the judges’ leaderboard. Of course, in the final of Strictly it is all down to the public vote. We saw tears from Karen last week and Simon still outpolled Mark.

Mark will try and play the underdog card, and give it plenty of the ‘J’ word but in recent years TPTB on Strictly have become as ruthlessly efficient as Syco in achieving the elimination outcomes they strive for, and if Simon does get the predicted pimp, Mark looks most likely to be first out.

If Simon survives to the last 3 stage, this will mean he will have his outstanding Argentine tango to reprise (seen at Blackpool in week 8, landing him 38 including an 8 from Craig). This is arguably the dance of the series and could be the last dance to be performed on the night. Caroline will reprise her week 10 Charleston (39), Frankie her week 3 paso doble (45 including a 10 from loose cannon Donny Osmond, so really a 35).

All three are excellent dances but if there’s a 40-scoring banker among them, and a genuine ‘wow’ moment, then it would have to be Simon’s AT as the big worry for Caroline will be executing her tricky Charleston, which includes a cast of extras, cleanly.

Two evenly matched females versus one outstanding male could also swing things in Simon’s favour, if this is the final 3 and Len and co go to town eulogising Simon which may well be on the cards. Certainly, if there is going to be an upset in this Strictly final, Simon is equipped to deliver it, and he looks a good back-to-lay prospect as he trades at a Back price of 15 on BF at time of writing.

Having previously advised Caroline to be Top Female and Simon to be Top Male (and to finish in the Top 3), there isn’t any value up for grabs heading into tonight. The hope is, we at least get a highest scorer market later today as the high street, again, has disappointed by not issuing points markets and pulling the straight forecast markets.

It is worth remembering 2nd and 3rd has not been called since the 4-couple final format came in, so there can be some value in the straight forecast markets even factoring in dead-heat rules applying.

Updates will appear in Comments below if we do get some more markets later today.

5 Comments

  1. hemsby

    Thanks for all your articles over the series Rob,great insight as always.

    For the second week running,we have a Star leak,causing the market fluctuations……good news for early risers 😉

    Level green on Caroline,Frankie and Simon for me,and a back of Mark out first.Good luck with your bets tonight.

    • Rob

      Thanks hems. Glad you were able to take advantage of the news.

      Your Outright book looking very good too.

      Still no highest scorer market that I can see, or any points markets other than the WH Specials. A real shame 🙁

  2. Henry VIII

    I thought Simon’s AT was outstanding too, but I think largely because AT is my fav dance and I like Kristina’s choreo. The final flip where Kristina ends upside-down may have lost some of its impact 2nd time but it’s still a good crowd pleaser. You tipped him back-to-lay at 15 in the article, he can now be laid at 12.

    The Daily Star has laid waste to all the polls yet again.

    • Rob

      A disappointing no-show by the high st for the Strictly final, other than a smidge of value available with Betfred who has priced up ‘to finish 2nd’ and ‘to finish 3rd’.

      Based on the logic the 2nd and 3rd has not been revealed by the Beeb in the last 2 years since it changed to a 4-couple final.

      Recommended:

      Caroline – to finish 3rd – 6-1 – 2pt win – Betfred
      Frankie – to finish 3rd – 6-1 – 2pt win – Betfred

      Was 8-1, now 6-1 still value. Looks a strong chance both Frankie and Caroline will both be standing there when the winner is announced.

      It may not be either of them called the winner or it may be 1 of them. If it is 1 of them called the winner, you should (in theory), collect on the other 1, with dead-heat rules applying, which will be half your stake at the full odds. Which, based on the advised staking plan, would be 1pt at 6-1, returning 7pts for a 4pt outlay.

      And there is the chance of collecting on both.

  3. Rob

    Betfred paid out in full on the above advised bet, Frankie to finish 3rd. Hope a few readers were able to get on.

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