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Sports Desk - By Aodhán Elder

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Nov 01, 2010


The X Factor Betting

He may have moobs and the joie de vivre of Oscar the Grouch, but like him or loathe him, Simon Cowell has made the X Factor a roaring success. It seems to have infiltrated almost every generation and every walk of life. Severe isolation would appear to be the only method by which someone can remain truly unaware of events on the show and even the most remote hermit probably lives in constant fear of a visit from Jedward. The audience has grown steadily since its beginning in 2004 and accordingly the betting interest has swelled in its wake. What started as a minor and mildly comical betting proposition has become an event keenly watched and traded by bookmakers and exchange users alike.

It’s at this time of the year that the laughing generally stops. The hopelessly deluded few have been ridiculed on national television and sent packing. With the possible exception of a certain pair of Irish twins, the live X Factor shows are when genuine talent takes on genuine talent. Battle hardened after fighting off the masses for the handful of places in the final stages, the contestants are like steely gladiators — gladiators who can hit falsetto notes.

The live shows are the business end of proceedings for both contestants and bettors. When looking at the results of the X Factor to date, there is a noticeable if admittedly nebulous trend. Around the time of the first show, the eventual winner has generally blended into the middle of the pack. Over the course of the six series to date, on average, the person who went on the claim victory has started the live shows at a price in the region of 13/2. It’s seems rather good value particularly in view of the fact come the final week of the show, this price has on average shortened to 4/5 and the winner has generally been the hot favourite for a number of weeks.

Clearly, early in the live shows, the combination of talent, charisma, and friends and family willing to send multiple text messages that make up the elusive X Factor haven’t come to the fore and there is value to be had. Last year Joe McElderry was available at 10/1 at the outset of the live shows, but towards the last few weeks went odds-on as his credentials become more and more obvious.

Alexandra Burke in 2008 at 3/1 has been about the only contestant towards the top betting at the time of the first live show and that raw data hides the fact that only a few days earlier she was available at odds of 10/1 prior to a rush of money on the singer. It doesn’t tell us definitively who’s going to win the show, but the clear message is to avoid the early favourites. They may not seem like much at the time, but the winning formula can emerge from unlikely origins. A bit like the show itself.

Autumn Internationals

Even a basic understanding of our southern hemisphere cousins would tell you that they’re no fans of losing, but if there is one time when they’re relatively happy to taste defeat at the hands of their European rivals, it’s the Autumn Internationals in the build-up to a World Cup. While the sound bites coming from the camps will all pay lip service towards the quality of the northern hemisphere, the truth is the Tri-Nations is the yardstick of where they’re at.

By the time they roll into town for their various engagements, they’ll know the bulk of their starting XVs and there’s little to be learned from taking on the various members of the Six Nations. It’s also the end of their season. The majority of these players will have been in involved in the ferocity of the Super 14s, the intensity of the Tri-Nations series, and perhaps topped it off with the passion of a domestic competition for good measure.

It’s not true to say they don’t care, but they may care a little less than they ordinarily would. Sure they’d like to win, but the northern hemisphere sides arriving in New Zealand next year with vain hopes of winning wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Although they may not be locks to beat the southern tourists, there should be some value about backing this autumn’s hosts. ♠