Strictly Come Dancing: Kelvin Fletcher the new favourite after week one

Strictly contestant Kelvin Fletcher playing golf
Kelvin Fletcher is a jack of many trades - including dancing

Strictly 2019 started on Saturday and, although there was no Sunday elimination, there was plenty to discuss - especially the understudy's samba, says Max Liu in his odds update...

"It's obvious who the worst dancer is in this year's line-up: step-forward James Cracknell (gently, mind) who's 1.814/5 to leave the show on Sunday."

Kelvin Fletcher is the 2.588/5 favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing 2019 after he wowed judges with his samba in week one of the hit BBC show.

Series 17 kicked off with a two hour 20 minute first show on Saturday evening, as fans and judges got to see all 15 of this year's contestants. And it was Fletcher to who the night undoubtedly belonged.

The former Emmerdale star was only drafted in as a replacement for the injured Jamie Lang but my word Fletcher can dance. His performance with Oti Mabuse was electric and the judges rewarded him with a score of 32 that put him top and saw bettors rush to back him on the Exchange.

There was no audience vote for episode one, but there will be next weekend when we get the first Sunday night show of the new series.

Can Fletcher stay ahead of rivals?

Make no mistake, this year's field looks very strong. CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual finished in second place after performing a Cha Cha Cha for which he received 31 points.

YouTuber Saffron Barker 18.017/1 and Radio 1 DJ Dev Griffin 15.014/1 also made the kind of starts that suggest they could get really good as the series goes on and might be worth backing now, while we have the chance to get on them at decent odds.

In fact, so strong were the majority of the dances on Saturday that you wonder if this series might lack a comic turn a la Ed Balls.

Cracknell odds-on for first elimination

Anneka Rice trails in the betting 200.00199/1 but, even though she scored only 14 on Saturday for her routine with Kevin Clifton, it seemed possible she was capable of more and could grow in range as the series develops.

Of course, she might not get time to improve but there are worse dancers than Rice here. Bettors make former England goalkeeper David James 4.03/1 for first elimination after he and partner Nadiya Bychkova performed a Foxtrot to Three Lions, scoring 15.

James Cracknell 956.jpg

But it's obvious who the worst dancer is in this year's line-up: step-forward James Cracknell (gently, mind) who's 1.814/5 to leave the show on Sunday.

Olympic gold medallist rower Cracknell was so bad it wasn't funny. He hardly moved during his tango with Luba who tried her hardest to spark things up between the pair but really didn't have much to work with.

Bettors think Cracknell will be out this weekend and, even though he has five days to do something about that and Strictly is full of surprises, it's hard to argue with the market.

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