TV Trading Tips

10 trading tips for tv betting newbies:

1. Treat Daily Star voting leaks with respect – It was early November 2009 when we latched onto the Star’s vote leak that claimed Chris Hollins had been smashing the public vote in Strictly. Our readers ended up being rewarded with a 28-1 winner. The flipside is, Russell Grant was claimed by the Star to have won the public vote most weeks during Strictly 2011. This story ran the day after Grant’s shock elimination at Wembley Arena in week 8. What is assured following such Star vote leaks are price movements on Betfair you can take advantage of.

In 2012 the Star led the way again, informing us of Chris Maloney winning the public vote during the first 7 weeks of the show. This info made Chris a fantastic laying proposition in Betfair’s bottom 2 market, and back to lay on the Outright. The Star also informed us that based on the semi-final results, the finishing order in the final would be 1st James 2nd Jahmene 3rd Chris. This proved yet more golden information.

2. Older, middle class, female, conservative voters are a powerful lobby on Strictly – Strictly heavily favours safe, good-looking white guys – Gough, Ramprakash, Chambers, Hollins, Judd, McGuiness – largely because the mainstay of its voters are middle-aged, middle England, Home Counties women. It took a big effort on behalf of producers to kill off biggest threats Gethin Jones and Matt Baker in series 5 and series 8 to enable the Alesha Dixon and Kara Tointon wins.

3. Look out for game changers in BB and CBB – In series 4 of CBB, the game changer was the ‘non-celebrity’ taking part, Chantelle Houghton. The GBP enjoys pricking the bubble of celeb pomposity and Chantelle was the living, breathing incarnation of this. In series 5, it was bully-gate that changed the game, painting Shilpa as the victim, enabling her to harness the vote. In series 7, the evening Alex Reid caked himself in fake tan was the game changer. As well as being hysterically funny, it showed him in an endearingly self-deprecating light, and viewers loved him for it.

4. It’s all in the edit – Kara & Artem’s off-stage love story was a key winning-ingredient in Kara’s 2010 Strictly win, while the constant nit-picking with Matt’s routines gradually eroded his early series momentum. Janet Devlin in X Factor 2011 was on the receiving end too, constantly labelled ‘boring’, killing her early lead in the polls.

Keep an eye out for clues in those XF off-stage segments. They are usually shoe-horned in there with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Panel arguments are regularly used to distract from a performance and encourage viewers to forget to vote. A sympathy edit will get voters behind a contestant – one of the all-time classics was in XF 2011 and Kelly and Misha B sharing a heart-felt, tearful moment together recounting their broken childhoods. In 2012 Jahmene enjoyed a 2-month long sympathy edit as the show delved, in trademark exploitative style, into his troubled upbringing, to generate a bigger public vote for the soul warbler.

They can just as easily turn voters against a contestant – Sophie Habibis sat in an empty north London pub chatting to her friend about the buzz she was creating, springs to mind here. Courtesy of the edit, the judges’ comments, position in the running order, and the staging, a contestant can be ‘ramped’ or ‘de-ramped’.

Syco continues to lead the way in these manipulative, tawdry tactics, one of its newer ones appearing to involve red and black imagery behind the singer, subliminally conjuring thoughts of hell… who knows? Bang, bang, they memorably shot Sophie down this way in XF 2011, not to mention Johnny Robinson and Craig Colton who also got the red and black treatment before being eliminated.

5. X Factor only uses deadlock when it knows the one it wants rid of is bottom of the public vote – In X Factor, it’s a general rule they only send it to deadlock when the act they want to continue on the show is not bottom of the public vote. Conversely, when the act they want rid of is not bottom of the public vote, rest assured the voting panel will vote them off and it will not be sent to deadlock.

In XF 2011, Misha B was bottom of the public vote in week 4 but was saved by the judges up against Sophie Habibis in the sing-off. Misha B was bottom of the public vote in week 6 but was saved up against Kitty Brucknell. In week 8 Misha B was bottom of the public vote but was saved up against Janet Devlin. In all these instances Misha B had a lower pv so would have gone on deadlock. Kitty Brucknell was bottom of the public vote in week 3 but Sami Brookes got voted off by the judges. In week 5 Johnny Robinson had a higher pv compared to Kitty but Johnny R was voted off the show by judges.

In XF 2012, this trend was only bucked by the treatment of boyband Union J. Three times they were bottom 2 in weeks 4, 6 & 8. All 3 times they were not bottom of the pv, all 3 times they were saved, and all 3 times the judges chose not to send it to deadlock knowing they were safe. We can call this protectionism with a view to trying to get them as far as they could in the competition, & they ended up only 0.6% away from a final place.

6. The Bounce Effect – Simply summed up, this is a televote trend of a contestant being in the bottom 2, and the following week receiving a voting boost. This can prove a lucrative elimination laying angle on Betfair. In XF 2011, Frankie was in the bottom 2 in week 2 but escaped the bottom 2 in week 3. In week 3 Kitty was bottom 2 but escaped the bottom 2 in week 4. In week 4 Misha B was bottom 2 but escaped the bottom 2 in week 5. In week 7 Amelia was bottom 2 but escaped the bottom 2 in week 8.

A look at the 2011 series of Strictly also reveals what a key element in elimination markets the bounce factor can be. In week 2 Audley & Natalie were in the bottom 2. In week 3 they were safe. In week 3 Nancy & Anton were bottom 2, in week 4 they were also bottom 2 but survived (so received enough of a bounce to escape elimination). In week 5 Audley & Natalie were bottom 2. In week 6 they were also bottom 2 but survived (so received enough of a bounce to escape elimination). In week 7 Anita & Robin were bottom 2. In week 8 they were safe. In week 8 Holly & Artem were bottom 2. In week 9 they were also bottom 2 but survived (so received enough of a bounce to escape elimination). In week 10 they were safe. In week 10 Jason & Kristina were bottom 2. In week 11 they were safe.

In X Factor 2012, Rylan was bottom 2 in week 1 & escaped the sing-off in week 2. In week 2 District3 were in the bottom 2 & escaped the sing-off in week 3. In week 3 Kye was in the bottom 2 & escaped the sing-off in week 4. In week 4 Union J were in the bottom 2 & escaped the sing-off in week 5. In week 5 Rylan was in the bottom 2 & escaped the sing-off in week 6. In week 6 Union J were in the bottom 2 & in week 7 they escaped the sing-off. In week 7 James was in the bottom 2 & in week 8 he escaped the sing-off, & his super-bounce super-charged him all the way to the winner’s spot, also becoming the 1st XF contestant to be bottom 2 & go on to win the series.

7. Running order sways the public vote enormously – They have become incredibly astute at controlling the public vote on these shows, especially on X Factor. Up first on XF, known as the ‘coffin slot’, is often the death knell. Craig Colton knew his number was up and looked like a dead man walking when he stood on stage after performing ‘Licence To Kill’ first in week 7 of XF 2011. All that his rendition lacked was a hooded figure, dressed in black, holding a scythe, hovering behind him. Craig ended up bottom of the public vote, it was sent to dead-lock, and he was eliminated.

Conversely, last on the night is called the ‘pimp slot’ and usually involves much fanfare from the judges and results in a massive voting boost. Amelia Lily’s return to XF 2011 was a classic example of this. Last up, a plinth, fireworks, glowing praise… they threw the kitchen sink at her rendition of ‘The Show Must Go On’ and she smashed the pv with 27.4%.

An early to mid-position on XF, especially when the field is still large in the early weeks, can be a vote dampening tactic and lead to elimination. When two acts perform back-to-back on XF prior to an ad break, the first of the two is generally in a weaker position televote-wise given equal treatment by the judges.

Again, everything changed during XF 2012 – phonelines opened at the start of the show, and what used to be considered the pimp slot of last up on the night, and a late position in the running order being an advantage, suddenly looked much less of an advantage. Melanie Masson performed last and was eliminated; Carolynne and Jade both performed 2nd last and sandwiched between two big hitters, also ended up eliminated.

Where a contestant is positioned certainly became a bigger factor during X Factor 2012 and a seemingly subtle technique to dampen a contestant’s vote was to place them in between two contestants who received much greater fanfare. X Factor’s drop in ratings during 2012, and losing viewers throughout its extended 2-hour plus shows in the early stages of the lives also led to the conclusion being on late was no longer an advantage by way of the public vote.

8. Novelty acts will out-last their ability but only go so far – We are still waiting for a contestant to buck this trend and go on and win the series. Chico, Jedward, Wagner, John Sergeant, Russell Grant, Rylan, Jeremy Vine. Seven examples of novelty contestants that represented fantastic elimination laying fodder through the early weeks of XF and Strictly. They entertain and are thus supported by the public. Show makers know this and want them to stay in for the viewing public’s enjoyment.

In XF they are kept in more for controversy, for the sake of extra publicity and hence higher viewing figures. But come the latter stages of the series, SCD and XF have to be seen as serious competitions rewarding the most talented, and so these contestants are killed off. The message is made loud and clear to viewers their time is up. Running order, judges’ comments, song choice, staging… the vote-dampening tactics are varied but the kill is always clinical, especially on XF.

9. Pay attention to robust, multi-voting campaigns – Ryan Giggs, Tony McCoy and Mark Cavendish were all pushed to SPOTY victory courtesy of electioneering tactics by their committed supporters, while Kevin Sinfield achieved 2nd place in SPOTY 2015 thanks to a big campaign, as did Jonathan Rea in 2017. Sadly, the BBC’s change of format in 2018 and only announcing the shortlist on the night has put paid to these campaign dark horses.

But it can still have an impact on markets such as Christmas No1. The Facebook-led, RATM for Christmas No1 campaign in December 2009 was a betting boon for those, mentioning no names, who spotted it gathering momentum… oh yeah, that would have been flagged up here resulting in a 5-1 winner.

10. Get to grips with the vagaries of scoring systems – Never forget the higher public vote takes it when combined scores are level in SCD. And when 2 couples share the same score on the SCD leaderboard, the next highest scoring couple receive only one point less, carried across to the public vote. Do the maths on combined leaderboard score and projected public vote score and this can unearth over-priced elimination bets in the early rounds of the competition. It is often those contestants residing in a mid-table position that end up vulnerable.