Ramprakash Leads The Polls - But Will There Be A Last Minute Drop Goal?
Any readers out there who think we're heavy on singing and jungles and light on dancing will be pleased to hear that the Special Bets team has been keeping a close eye on the events that have been going on in the ballroom during this series of Strictly Come Dancing.
With Mark Ramprakash and Matt Dawson battling it out in the final this evening, we have been asking the obvious question - who do you want to win? The response was pretty one-sided (click to enlarge):
This ties in with the poll on the official BBC website, which has had nearly 25,000 responses and currently has Mark & Karen on 75.1% and Matt & Lillia on 24.9%.
Matt certainly seems to win the award for most improved dancer, which has been a large part of the reason why he has seen off the competition until now. It was week 7, on the 18th of November, when Matt first became a serious contender in the show, although Mark managed to maintain a slight lead even at this point. A summary of weekly polling data for the two finalists over the course of the show can be seen below:
The obvious take-away from the above is that Mark is not only in the lead, but the trend has been favourable for him for several weeks now.
However, in terms of public appeal, it is Matt that has the track record of getting votes when he needs them, something that Mark can not claim. The fact that this is due to Mark consistently scoring better with the judges is not to be overlooked.
For those observers that mistake our polling data for a crystal ball, please note that all the usual disclaimers apply. It will be a long show tonight, with each couple dancing five times, and the chances of swings in sentiment occurring are too great to be ignored. For this reason, we will be running a live poll this evening the results of which will be published here before the announcement.
Live Update 21:45
Here are the results of a the survey that we began during the first live show this evening. Mark remains out in front, however it appears that Matt has some extra support in the head to head:
Which couple would you like to win?
Mark & Karen 63.2%
Matt % Lillia 36.8%
Filtered out non-voters, this gives:
Mark & Karen 67%
Matt % Lillia 33%
At the time of writing, Mark is trading at 1.14 on the betting exchanges. We would not view that as particularly generous odds, given that Matt seems to have picked up a little support, and find it very difficult to back him here, even though he remains ahead in the poll.