Strictly Come Dancing Final Betting: Burke to lose out to the flying Scotsman
Saturday is time for the Strictly Final. Our tipping man Alan Dudman signs off for the series, and is hoping his ante-post pick of Joe McFadden at 21.0 can seal victory this weekend...
"It's highly doubtful that Atkinson will trouble anyone here at [5.50], so if you prefer getting your laying boots on, look to around [1.80] to take on the singer - in what effectively is a match bet and a popularity stakes contest."
What Happened Last Week?
The toothy popster Mollie King failed to make any sort of impact last week, in a remarkably similar way to her two solo songs "Hair Down" and "Back To You". The only place she went to on Sunday was the departure door. Thus earning a one out of two tipping Sunday for us - it's been that sort of series.
Since her exit, the headlines concerning her possible relationship with AJ have died down a bit. Who'd have thought? My favourite Mollie moment came in one of those hilarious BBC VT's when the Saturdays singer took to the mic; and it's not often you'll hear anyone say that.
To say the voice was a tad underwhelming wouldn't do it justice. AJ was the better singer.
Her initial score of 24 was way down on the other celebs, and she lost out to Gemma Atkinson in the dance-off - the first time the Hollyoaks star had appeared in the red zone.
Hearty scores went to Alexandra Burke with a near-perfect double of 39 and 40 points. Her reaction to reaching the Final was again greeted on social media with howls of being fake. Give her a break, she had been in the bottom two for a couple of weeks running!
Current favourite Joe McFadden only hit a pair of 35s, which is surprising for this stage, while Debbie McGee appears to have flatlined ever-so-slightly with a combined score of 70. It's quite telling that Burke was rated nine points ahead of the pair.
So it's on to the Grand Final, a show that lasts for two-and-half hours - so think a Pink Floyd guitar solo just warming up. Another twist to this year's finale means that all four dancers get to perform three routines without the brutal elimination of one midway through. That's a shame, as it means the punting opportunities have been squeezed a little.
Each dancer will perform three routines; which include a showdance, judges' pick, and their own. However, it's all about those votes now.
Joe McFadden [1.88]
The momentum with the Scottish actor has been overwhelming, and the price of [1.88] pre-final is the shortest he has ever been. No jokes about height please.
I read somewhere he was dubbed the "housewives' favourite", a term which hasn't had an airing since 1976. Quite simply, there are no frills with Joe. He isn't the best dancer, but best dancers don't always win. Take previous Glitterball trophy winners Ore Oduba, Jay McGuinness, Harry Judd, Chris Hollins and Tom Chambers. Our Joe fits the bill perfectly as clean-cut with absolutely no negative press about him for the entire series. Nothing.
The column holds him as an ante-post tip at [21.0], although he has been matched as high as [30.0]. I'll take the [21.0]!
Ore came from nowhere to win last term, so did my nemesis Hollins. And as McFadden and Whitehead sang: "There's No Stopping Us Now", it appears nothing is stopping Joe - and he is holding that Scottish vote.
Joe is the only celeb that has never made the bottom two.
Debbie McGee [3.20]
Old "Flexy McGee" was the one-time favourite for this, and her price has previously dipped under 2/1. She has undoubtedly been the surprise package, but got off lightly with her ballet training compared to the stick that poor Aston Merrygold received for his dancing abilities prior to the show.
She perhaps has lost a little momentum - much like Houdini's Milk Can Escape trick, but she is in the Final with Giovanni Pernice. This will be his second appearance in three years.
The 59-year-old was dubbed the "Queen Of Latin" by Shirley Ballas earlier in the series, which is a whole lot better than being dubbed by the wrong name - something Ballas has achieved on more than one occasion.
A one-time entrant in the Blackpool dance-off, McGee might give you a run for your money at [3.20]. But again, I couldn't back her now considering her pre-show price of [55.0]. Just four off her age.
Alexandra Burke [9.0]
On dancing ability alone, the former X-Factor winner would be odds-on, as she consistently has scored heavily week-on-week. Some of her dancing has been unreal, and we'll get to see her perform the brilliant American Smooth from My Fair Lady, whilst her showdance will come from There's No Business Like Showbusiness. It will be fascinating to see if Burke can pull off a couple of 40 scores to sway the public.
Compared to the coverage of Joe, Alexandra's has been off the scale. Deemed not popular due to her 'fake' reactions, the singer has been labelled a diva, linked with various feuds including one with Debbie, and then there's the meltdowns afterwards. She's not had an easy ride despite been head-and-shoulders the best dancer.
Can she win? With the constant criticism - no. It's a vote on popularity, and Burke unfortunately doesn't appear to be the most popular.
Gemma Atkinson [20.0]
Her price tells us she has no chance, and her dancing abilities tells us she has no chance. Then the final kick in the teeth - she dances to a Coldplay song for her judges' pick.
She achieved a 10 in Blackpool, but she has remained an outsider in terms of price for much of the series.
The showdance could be her big one on Saturday; with Lindy kicks, Charleston moves and a bit of Jive, but she cannot match the epic Argentine Tango move last week from Joe and his partner Katya Jones - that was memorable. I fear Atkinson is not, much like several episodes of Hollyoaks.
I wonder who will be in next year's show from the mighty soap?
With a bit of liquidity in this market, and a fair bit of uncertainty with Alexandra's ability to be able to win this; the [1.75] price on Debbie is looking the bet for Saturday's Final. People have enjoyed watching her dance, and they'll certainly enjoy her reprisal of the Moulin Rouge number with all those ballet lines.
Enjoy was not a word used for Richard Gere's singing in that film I can assure you.
It's highly doubtful that Atkinson will trouble anyone here at [5.50], so if you prefer getting your laying boots on, look to around [1.80] to take on the singer - in what effectively is a match bet and a popularity stakes contest.
I hope you've enjoyed it as much I have have previewing it, let's hope Joe can do it.
Recommended Bet for Strictly Final
Lay Alexandra Burke as Top Female @ [1.81]
*Strictly airs this Saturday on BBC One at 18:30 to 21:00 with in-play markets available.