The Strictly Come Dancing betting market has been thrown into turmoil by the surprise sensation that is Bill Bailey. With the semi-final this weekend, it is an ideal opportunity for JustBookies to give an updated SCD preview and highlight a tempting betting tip.
Bailey, a 55-year-old comedian and musician, did not initially appear to be likeliest candidate to help Oti Mabuse retain the Glitterball that she won with Kelvin Fletcher last year but he soon became the clear Strictly favourite in the bookies’ odds. Unlike Bailey, Fletcher immediately appeared to be fit for purpose and headed the SCD betting market from day one.
No one expected to find Bailey close to the top of the leaderboard but he has thrived under Mabuse’s guidance and provided great entertainment. He has natural musicality and has managed to transfer it effectively into movement. Bailey has worked his socks off, putting in phenomenal hours in the training room and it has paid off. His dance ‘detailing’ is to die for and he has reportedly shed a stone and a half which should help reduce the stress on his dodgy hip. In the quarter-final his score of 24 for the Argentine Tango left him in the lower section of the leaderboard but his support from the public predictably kept him out of the dance off.
Bill will be dancing a conventional tango and a crowd-pleasing Charleston in the Strictly semi-final and has to be a dead cert to reach the final. He has never had to dance more than once.
In contrast Jamie Laing has found himself in the dreaded dance off three times already and is very likely to be in it again on Saturday. His posh mates from Made in Chelsea presumably have something better to do than watch Strictly at the weekend. He is the odds-on favourite in the Strictly Elimination betting and the 40/1 outsider in the Strictly outright winner betting market.
Jamie danced an exhausting jive twice last week and did a marginally better job in the dance off than the physically compromised former marine JJ Chalmers who left the show. Jamie was booked to do Strictly with Mabuse last year but managed to injure himself in the opening routine and was given a second chance. He has made the most of it with Karen Hauer but it is difficult to imagine him beating any of the remaining contestants if he finds himself in the dance off again. He has been tasked with a quickstep and a salsa which will not help his chances.
Maisie Smith was the Strictly favourite in the early stages. Her natural ability to dance and performance skills were apparent from day one. Partnered with Gorka Marquez, she has always been closer to the top of the leaderboard than the bottom but has had to fight for her place in the dance off twice already. Latin routines come most easily to her but her ballroom technique has improved immensely.
As an EastEnders actress you would expect her to have a decent following but Strictly viewers have not warmed to her. At just 19, she has a rather brash approach and sometimes makes comments that are unlikely to endear her to the voting public. Unfortunately she has a busy week ahead with four full days of filming and will have to learn the Viennese Waltz but her street-based Couple’s Choice should be less time consuming. She has drifted to 11/1 in the SCD betting but has the necessary skills to survive a dance off and looks likely to reach the final. She is one of the best dancers in the show but, with the final result decided entirely by the public vote, a minor miracle would be needed for her to lift the Glitterball.
Ranvir Singh, the journalist and newsreader, was initially a Strictly betting outsider but has shortened to 6/1. She looked stiff as a board in the opening show but has grown in confidence and developed a real talent for ballroom routines under the tutelage of Giovanni Pernice.
The couple have such chemistry on the dance floor that there were rumours about a romantic connection. Singh enjoyed them immensely even though they were untrue. She has spoken eloquently of the challenges of being a single mum and has obviously got the public on side. She has needed viewers’ support on a number of occasions and has always received it. She has never had to contest a dance off. Singh is bound to do brilliantly in her waltz on Saturday but the jive will almost certainly present more of a challenge for her.
The one man who has held his position in the Strictly betting market throughout this series is the likeable HRVY. He has been the second favourite from day one and performed consistently every week. His last two routines have been absolutely stunning, his Couple’s Choice a fortnight ago was fantastic to watch and gained him the top spot on the leaderboard.
His American Smooth in the quarter final was described by Motsi Mabuse as the dance of the decade. Craig Revel Horwood said that watching HRVY was like looking in the mirror. HRVY was foot perfect in an exceptionally demanding and dazzling routine. No other Strictly contestant has gained a perfect score in week six. His tiny partner Janette Manrara has never achieved success on this scale and seems to have upped her game considerably on the choreography front.
Her husband Aljaz Skorjanec was eliminated from the competition a few weeks ago, he is one of the best choreographers out there and could perhaps be giving her a few tips. The pros are allowed assistance from external choreographers on specialist dances such as the Charleston and HRVY will be dancing the Charleston as well as the rumba in the semi-final. The rumba is one of the most demanding dances for male celebrities but HRVY should be able to overcome this adversity.
Our SCD Preview’s Betting Tip
Strictly viewers love contestants that have made notable progress through the competition and Bailey and Singh both tick that box. If his ascendancy in the betting market is any indicator Bailey must have garnered phenomenal support so far.
Fortunately for him the judges’ scores are for guidance only when it matters most but the final is usually all about the showdance. In the showdance anything goes so awesome lifts and displays of athleticism are at a premium. Bailey and Singh will struggle on that front and may find their stamina waning.
HRVY is not only the best dancer in the competition and extremely likeable but he seems to have finally mastered the art of manipulating Manrara in the air. He could deliver a spectacle that will provoke unprecedented action from viewers and defy his position as second favourite in the Strictly betting – and he can now be trusted to lift the Glitterball securely. For latest SCD bookmakers’ odds, click here.