The Abbey Habit

Oct 31, 2013 by

The Abbey Habit

An exciting week in tv betting land with the Ladbrokes odds compiler having some sort of breakdown in releasing stunningly generous prices on certain celebrities entering the jungle this year. And then in Strictly betting, Natalie’s price went walkabout on Betfair yesterday morning touching as big as 20.

Plenty was matched in double figure prices before things eventually settled down again and her price returned to around the 2.8 mark. After her previous back injury, many wondered if this had flared up again and she had had to pull out of the competition.

Then we got a Tweet from Natalie mentioning her and Artem’s Halloween VT causing them much mirth, but no mention of any injury. So it would all appear to have been a false alarm. Maybe a malfunctioning bot, who knows.

It’s Halloween week and on the face of it all the contestants have landed dances that could suit reasonably well. Fiona is favourite to be next eliminated but she has a crowd-pleasing Charleston to call upon. Anton is guaranteed to come up with something stylish and Fiona looked a natural with the Charleston steps in early training footage. As long as she has overcome an ankle sprain, there look to be more likely candidates for bottom 2 than her.

Sophie and Dave have the tricky jive to negotiate. You have to think that Dave’s is going to be another entertaining triumph set to ‘Monster Mash’ while Sophie should score high enough to position her among the top 4 or 5 and comfortably safe.

Mark has the chance for some of his trademark acting performing a paso which should lure voters. Ben’s early paso training didn’t convince and Mark could steal some of Ben’s paso limelight, so there might be an argument for Ben looking a bit more vulnerable this week.

Abbey’s rumba should be decent, and Natalie’s VW will no doubt be top notch and hard to beat for top score. Ashley can be expected to do a very good tango, though you wonder if the judges will recognise it as such no matter how good it is.

In terms of bottom 2, we are left gravitating more towards Rachel and Patrick. Patrick was bottom 2 last week, injured hand and all. The bottom 2 bounce is one of the fundamentals of these shows, but there looks a chance his QS could be somewhat forgotten on a night of such striking Halloween-based routines. He will probably need a ramp from the judges to be assured of escaping the bottom 2.

Rachel probably only escaped the bottom 2 by the skin of her teeth last week, aided by the bounce. A VW-based AS offers her the window for some improved scoring, as she has danced the waltz before in week 1 scoring 27, and this might be teed up for one of Len’s, ”Your best dance to date’ moments. Equally, without Len’s seal of approval, if she lands in that dangerous mid-table 28 territory she will likely be in trouble.

It looks a tight week and there doesn’t appear to be any stand out bottom 2 or elimination value at this stage. So it is probably best to hold fire until seeing the rehearsal pictures appear on the BBC Strictly site on Saturday afternoon as they will give an indication of the likely running order.

It is worth noting Coral is offering e/w first 2 (a third the odds) on its highest scorer market this week and while Natalie looks in pole position to land the highest score with her VW, and could be due a late slot on Saturday, 8-13 makes little appeal. We would suggest placing your main e/w wager on Abbey at 5-1 instead.

She has landed co- and joint-top scores of 35 in the last 2 weeks and she is also due a late slot on Saturday with a rumba that could just as easily steal the night as Natalie’s VW. Ashley‘s early tango training looked excellent and in the hope that just for one week they score him fairly, he also looks worth chancing e/w at 10-1.

Susanna was last to perform in week 4 and 10th out of 12 to perform last week (week 5). So she looks more likely to figure among the first half of the show, which could see Fiona, also performing a Charleston, on later. Fiona has performed 4th, 2nd and 6th in the last 3 weeks so is due a late slot. Given how promising her early Charleston training looked, we would also suggest a small e/w bet on Fiona at 50-1 in the hope she might sneak a place.

We would advise a staking plan of 3pts e/w Abbey, 1.5pts e/w Ashley, 0.5pt e/w Fiona. Keep an eye on Comments below for updates on Saturday afternoon. Here is the full song and dance list:

Ashley & Ola – Tango to Ne-Yo’s ‘Beautiful Monster’
Patrick & Anya – QS to ‘Man With the Hex’ by Atomic Fireballs
Abbey & Aljaz – Rumba to ‘Stay’ by Shakespeare’s Sister.
Rachel & Pasha – AS (VW-based) to ‘I Put a Spell on You’ by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
Dave & Karen – Jive to Bobby Boris Picket’s ‘Monster Mash’.
Fiona & Anton – Charleston to Al Donahue’s ‘Jeepers Creepers’.
Sophie & Brendan – Jive to ‘Maneater’ by Hall and Oates.
Mark & Iveta – Paso Doble to Sarah Brightman’s ‘I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper’
Susanna & Kevin – Charleston to Creedance Clearwater Revival’s ‘Bad Moon Rising’.
Ben & Kristina – Paso Doble to Muse’s ‘Supermassive Black Hole’.
Natalie & Artem – VW to Natalie Duncan’s ‘Devil In Me’.


  1. In agreeance Rob. Haven’t got involved until you stated Coral’s highest scorer market was open for business again!

    One thing to point out is that only 2 places are offered at 1/3 odds, rather than 3 places at 1/5 like last week. Barring something totally disastrous, Abbey and Natalie should have those two places sewn up. Abbey will give you an evens return from second.

    I’ll watch tonight’s ITT before committing further.

  2. zoomraker

    do you still think Abi is value given that you will be getting 2/3 for her to be in the top 2.

    one thing I think massively in her favour is the music, it’s the only properly emotional song in a field of upbeat fun numbers.

    don’t really have a feel for how this will affect judges scoring though?

  3. zoomraker

    oops make that 3/2 for her to be in top 2!

  4. Guildo Horn Forever

    The wonderful thing about backing Abbey is that you have a dance natural with a perfectionist drive and plenty of time on her hands desperately seeking to impress her man.

    ‘Stay’ was number 1 for eight weeks, full of yearning, a classic, and yet is a song that is rarely heard and thus is fresh and welcome. I remember the incredible video and thus how the exciting (Kate Bush like) song lends itself to dramatic visuals.

    In the lowest score market, Dave is a worthy 1/7 fap, but I’m wondering if the 10/1 for Mark, and the 20/1 for Rachel are worth nibbling at. Maybe; maybe not.

    On the elimination, I like the look of Rachel at 7/2 and might also have a nibble at Susanna at 40/1.

  5. Rob

    Some sneaky goings on at Coral with that adjustment of e/w terms to first 2 places, a third. Lunchtime yesterday its website appeared to be showing the same place terms as last week.

    The Abbey price is definitely value e/w, zoom, regardless of the adjustment. Place terms would be 5-3 if she comes 2nd. She is into 4-1 now, which is 4-3 a place.

    As Gav highlights, the new place terms make it far harder for others to land the place money given Natalie’s consistent excellence. Poor form from Coral.

  6. Rob

    Never trust bookmaker PR people claiming a betting plunge – usually said to create a lemming effect among punters:

  7. Rob

    Training footage. Dave cast as the monster 🙂

  8. zoomraker

    My gut feel says Natalie has an 80% chance of getting top score and Abi has a 50% chance of coming second.

    That would be a probability of 0.8 * 0.5 = 0.4

    which I equates to odds of 3/2 or 2.5

    4/3 a place equates to a probability of 0.43 so in my view the price does not represent value unless we include the possibility of Abi topping the leaderboard which I give a 5% chance.

    So the probability of Abi coming first or second would be 0.45 against bookies probability of 0.43 so negligible value at best.

    Am I underestimating Abi’s chances of first or second place?

    • Rob

      I would certainly give Abbey a better than 5% chance of topping the leaderboard, zoom, given she has topped the leaderboard for the last 2 weeks.

      My original post yesterday lunchtime was on the assumption of e/w a fifth 1, 2, 3 & not these revised Coral place terms. But 5-1 to finish first 2, a third the odds looks good value given Abbey has scored the same pts as Natalie for the previous 2 weeks.

      • zoomraker

        what do you think about the impact of the song on the judges scoring.

        do they mark on performance or purely technical?

        • Rob

          I think the song can often help elevate the drama & passion of the performance & I’m sure the judges get reeled in by this element too.

          Craig obviously likes to nit-pick regarding technical elements more than the other 3 but he’s not immune from being swept along by the sentiment if the music suits the routine. In this respect, Abbey & Aljaz certainly have the potential to create some romantic drama through ‘Stay’.

      • zoomraker

        I just feel that Sophie could do really well this week.

        The jive should suit her small frame, quickness and sense of rhythm/musicality.

        Also no sexy stuff required so we could see her at her uninhibited best again.

        • Rob

          You can get 10-1 Sophie with WH, zoom. My view is, she hasn’t backed up her Charleston yet & she is yet to produce a convincing fast Latin routine outside of that.

          The jive is a lot quicker than Charleston & requires more precision. The judges have been on her side up to now though so if there’s a window there to pull out some 9s they will take it.

  9. Having watched tonight’s ITT, I’ve gone for Mark and Rachel bottom two. Mark wearing a space helmet? Terrible! He’ll lose connection with the viewers and will likely get a score placing him in the danger zone. Dave will mop up the comedy votes too.

    As for Rachel, I thought she looked a bit wooden in rehearsal. When interviewed with Pasha, his support for her was hardly gushing. What’s more, Rachel’s position in the running order has been stuck in the middle, which in my opinion, represents the producer’s investment in her journey.

    Who goes out of those two? Well if the judges are marking dance quality, then I’d Mark is the value to go. If they judge on progress and potential, then Rachel goes.

    • Rob

      I’m finding it too hard to call this week. Rachel is a poor dancer. She has no affinity with it whatsoever. She tries her best but her posture is poor. That said, I can see them talking her up this week & being generous with their scores.

      If Dave has a late slot I will be happy to lay him for bottom 2. How much of a bounce will Patrick get? Could Mark or Ben be dragged down? Hopefully it’ll become a little clearer when we get an idea of running order.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        I was reading comments from Ben in this morning’s Star, wherein he’s quoted saying he will ‘definitely’ be going bare-chested this evening, as he wants to ensure ‘he stays in the competition’.

        How to gauge the effect on marking and support of a guy getting his tits out is hard to imagine but there seems to be great confidence in its power. Ola made similar remarks re Ashley’s half naked performance the other week.

        • Guildo Horn Forever

          …and I also read that Mark will descend (be lowered onto the dance floor) in his astronaut suit. With this, and the time it takes for him to release his bubble space helmet etc, will there be much time left for dance content? I remember the opening segment of Pendleton’s Paso, when it must have been 30 seconds from the bike descent before she danced a step. Do they typically extend the time duration of such routines, or do they use such lengthy, spectacular, intricate entrances to not only distract from the celeb’s lack of dancing skill, but also to (effectively) shorten the actual dance routine?

          • Rob

            When Russell Grant was ejected out of a rocket at Wembley he ended up doing less than a minute’s worth of dancing (jive). And it was almost a minute of Flavia dancing on her own before he joined her on stage. And this was the week he was eliminated, having previously been topping the pv in earlier weeks.

            When they throw in too much paraphernalia it can’t be a good thing.

      • zoomraker

        why is it so hard to call this week, is it because there are 2 duffers rather than 1 and we can’t be confident Mark or Dave won’t hit bottom 2?

        But which one?

        My instinct says Patrick and Rachel but the duffer factor and power of the bounce make me wary.


    The order of these photos doesn’t seem quite right to me given that Susanna went quite late last week and last the week before.

  11. Rob

    Sometimes it’s not entirely accurate but generally a good guide. Susanna has had a dream run of late slots if this is right. And it’s tough on Fiona if she is in trap 2.

    Patrick trap 1 makes him appear vulnerable. Ben has resorted to taking his shirt off which might allow him to avoid b2.

    Mark and Rachel sandwiched between Natalie and Ashley. Dave on late has to give him a good chance of avoiding b2.

    Pre-show, looks most likely between Patrick, Rachel and Mark for bottom 2 but a very difficult week.

    I’d still expect Mark to poll higher than Patrick. A small dutch of Rachel & Patrick for elimination pre-show with a view to adjusting position live in-running here.

  12. Rob

    That’s pretty much it, zoom. There are 5 or 6 in contention for b2 depending on how it goes tonight, & how the leaderboard shapes up. Think Dave with a late slot is safe-ish; & think Fiona’s Charleston should enable her to avoid b2.

    If Fiona did drop into b2 I’d fancy her to win the dance-off against most.

  13. Rob

    Mark 4-1 to be bottom 2 looking good value after those scores. Fiona also looking vulnerable.

  14. Rob

    8 or 9-1 Mark to be eliminated also looks value.

  15. Rob

    Still very hard to call, post-show. Fiona, Mark, Rachel, Sophie & Dave the main players for b2.

    Can imagine Fiona and Sophie outpolling Rachel. But how far up will Dave & Mark rise?

    Abbey dhs for 2nd – some very strange scoring tonight that stank of blatant leaderboard ordering.

  16. Just been working out the points with PV.

    I reckon bttm 2 of Fiona and Mark with Mark exiting based on dance quality.

    I have Dave level-pegging with Patrick after PV applied. Rachel also capable of slipping into bttm 2, but she’d be saved against Mark I rekcon.



    WTF Happened!?

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Am v pleased Rachel went – done well off that 🙂
      Am also delighted with Patrick’s marks (my best result for top man).
      By the sounds of it Abbey was undermarked (I didn’t see Strictly tonight), so a dead heat place is annoying.

      Have theorised extensively about Abbey (and the GBP’s reaction to her) over on sofabet, and had been predicting a shock B2 for her…but lately I was becoming steadily convinced that I had got it all wrong about the girl – but hey, maybe not.

      I came up with a theory (or angle) about X Factor, which developed into a loose one about Strictly, which concluded that Abbey could struggle more than her dance ability would suggest she would be doing. Maybe there’s something in what I’ve been thinking.

  18. Rob

    Rumba was a very under-stated affair but this means Patrick out-polled Abbey which is a bit of a surprise even though they ramped him.

    You sometimes have these high up on leaderboard drops into b2 situations. Kimberley last year around the same week (she was level in 2nd place on the leaderboard too), & she went on to make the final.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      I suppose that even if Abbey B2s again she would probably be saved over just about anyone (except Natalie, or perhaps Sophie), and those combinations of hypothetical B2s are unlikely occurrences.

      It had got to the point with Abbey that I was considering backing her for the outright win, and really regretting not having already done so (at the fancier prices). Kimberley finished 3rd last year (as I remember?), so I think I’ll swerve that Abbey bet I was considering.

      Don’t know that I fancy anyone to win SCD. Have doubts about Natalie, Sophie, Abbey, Ashley (the top 4 in the betting).

  19. Tim B

    Does this mean Abbey was dead last on the PV?

  20. There or there abouts. It also means the likes of Dave is finishing at least 5th in the PV.

  21. Andy

    No bottom 2 markets by Ladbrokes yet Rob.
    your tipping may have given them one too many bloody noses and they have decided to pull the plug and cut their loses

    • Rob

      Ha, ha 🙂 Yes, they have delayed the bottom 2 market this week. Hopefully it will appear later today.

      Here are the dances we know so far for this week:

      Abbey & Aljaz – Charleston to ‘Cabaret’
      Ashley & Ola – Quickstep
      Ben & Kristina – Jive
      Dave & Karen – some suggestion it will be a Ballroom dance
      Fiona & Anton –
      Mark & Iveta – Rumba
      Natalie & Artem – Jive to ‘Proud Mary’
      Patrick & Anya – American Smooth [Foxtrot based]
      Sophie & Brendan – Argentine Tango
      Susanna & Kevin –

  22. Rob

    This week’s songs & dances:

    Ashley and Ola will Quickstep to “Are You Gonna be My Girl” by Jet.

    Patrick and Anya will perform the American Smooth with influences of the Foxtrot to Harry Connick Junior’s “It Had to Be You.”

    Abbey and Aljaz will Charleston to Liza Minnelli’s “Cabaret.”

    Dave and Karen will Tango to The Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be.”

    Fiona and Anton will Paso Doble to Blur’s “Song 2.”

    Sophie and Brendan will be the first couple to perform the Argentine Tango this series, to Tanghetto’s “Sweet Dreams.”

    Mark and Iveta will Rumba to Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger.”

    Susanna and Kevin will Waltz to “You Light Up My Life” by Whitney Houston.

    Ben and Kristina will Jive to “Jump Jive an’ Wail” by the Burn the Floor Orchestra.

    Natalie and Artem will dance the Jive to Ike and Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.”

  23. I don’t think that ITT show was particularly helpful. Dave was clearly the worst and one wonders whether everyone else’s ‘upped-game’ will make him vulnerable? At this point, I’m ruling that out. In my reckoning, Dave is placing 3rd-4th on the televote, which makes me look a those acts who were deliberately over-marked last weekend…

    So for me, that brings Patrick back into the bottom 2. A score under 32 should make him vulnerable, especially following his sympathy bounce. The American smooth should make him fairly forgettable too.

    I would like to see more of Fiona’s rehearsal footage. Even though she’s escaped the bottom two a few times already, I’m still not convinced her support will carry her through a sub-30 score any longer.

    I could make a value call for Susanna and Ashley to drop into the bottom two. If Abbey can do it, surely either of those two can? Ashley’s de-ramping continues, but so do the anodyne comments designed to deflate his support. I have to declare an interest in Ashley’s downfall, so don’t feel compelled to follow me on that. Also, Abbey is set to bounce with what appears to be a very competent Charleston, so Susanna’s Waltz might disappear down the memory hole considering she’s due an early slot.

    Looking back over the running order for the six shows (discounting week 1), Susanna has been positioned in the later slots for four weeks. Have they been protecting her?

    I could really do with more footage to be honest!

    • Rob

      I’m pretty confident Susanna is polling very well, Gav. She is a BBC favourite so maybe TPTB are simply giving viewers what they want with her run of late slots. Her Charleston & her samba were certainly a couple of entertaining numbers – given the way she throws herself into the dances – which was maybe also in their mindset.

      She is due an early slot as is Dave. Patrick seems to be a contestant they are keen to big up and over-score which does suggest he is vulnerable with his public vote.

      Fiona is the only older female in the competition dancing with arguably Strictly stalwarts’ favourite pro in Anton. It’s another difficult week to call.

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