The year of The Cat (and Kat)?

Sep 27, 2009 by

So, the dust has now settled on the first two weeks of Strictly, and betting positions feverishly re-negotiated. The 6-4 we suggested you tuck into on Friday that the lowest score would be 17 or more, brought home the bacon, and Laila Rouass gave us a run for our money with an excellent tango, which was ridiculously under-marked in our view, and just came up short on the leaderboard behind Ricky Whittle, who was ridiculously over-marked in our view (seething!).
That ballroom from RickyW was ominous for those who had held off from piling into the outright favourite. He is now as short as 5-4, but for those opposing him there are still strong grounds for hope. It will be tough for him to maintain such a high standard and there’s always the chance viewers will tire of him topping the leaderboard week in, week out. There are already disgruntled mutterings that he has had formal training prior to signing up for the series.

Another hope is that he may have an off-week, find himself in the dance off, and if he comes up against an Ali, Zoe, Jade or Laila – all of whom look excellent dancers in the making – he could lose out. And ultimately it will come down to a public vote and whether viewers warm to him enough to support him in the final.
In the Top Woman market the value now is Zoe Lucker at 9-1. She’s a likeable presence and has the dancing ability. It’s just her partner who is the concern. Anton and Laila are the exact reverse of this: Anton much liked, whereas Laila’s competitiveness could prove her undoing with the public.
In the outright betting all the value has been largely hoovered up, although the 12-1 e/w available on Phil Tufnell could look big in a month’s time. He has already struck up a fantastic partnership with Katya Virshilas, and showed great potential with both his ballroom and Latin dances. He should improve as the show goes on, is an old fashioned ‘journey’ contestant, and looks guaranteed to win the public’s support. He is a definite big runner in the outright and 7-1 for him to be Top Male is also worth a nibble.
Next week we’ll see 14 contestants taking to the floor for either a quickstep or a paso doble in a marathon episode that will last over 2 hours.

Rob Furber

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