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Bookie uncertainty over X Factor favourites

Despite a sizeable decline in viewing figures for this year’s X Factor competition, betting markets for the show are more interesting than during previous seasons.

With Saturday’s semi-final approaching, online betting comparison site Oddschecker has compiled the odds of 23 leading bookmakers and discovered a confused betting market.

In previous years there has usually been a long-term bookies’ favourite, but 2011 has not seen a similar trend develop.

The current favourites, girl band Little Mix, stand at 7/5 to win but prior to the first live show on 8 October were the competition’s outside bet at 70/1. Despite progressing past the first week neither the public nor bookies were impressed, with the band remaining an outside bet at 66/1. Only since the quartet impressed during a Halloween-themed week did their odds notably change, dropping from 40/1 to 14/1.

By contrast, the 2010 show saw bookies pick eventual winner Matt Cardle as the favourite to win the show from the beginning, just as they had with Joe McElderry in 2009. In 2008, Alexandra Burke claimed the winner’s prize. Although she was not the favourite to triumph at the beginning of the live shows, she featured consistently in the top three before eventually leading the betting ahead of the final.

Odds for Marcus Collins, the second favourite for this year’s show, have remained more constant. Despite starting as a mid-table bet ahead of the live shows at 14/1, Betfred now best price the Liverpudlian at 13/8 ahead of the semi-final.

The initial favourite this year was Janet Devlin, but after a series of uninspiring performances and two occasions where she forgot her words, the 16-year-old from Northern Ireland was voted off the show last week. The remaining competitors include Amelia Lily, who despite being eliminated by mentor Kelly Rowland after the first live show, was given the opportunity to return to after Frankie Cocozza was booted out the completion. She is now third favourite to win at 6/1 (various). Bookies remain uncertain on Manchester singer Misha B, who seems unfavoured by the public despite consistently high praise from the judges. She is generally priced at 12/1 to win but only 8/1 with Totesport, Betfred and William Hill. Bet365 are offering a best price of 14/1.

Jack Watkins
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