The advent of reality television has given the seasoned bettor even more wagering options and opportunities for profit. Over the last decade, one of the more interesting shows to wager on has been Dancing with the Stars, and there have been predictable patterns of support over the years.
Unlike most reality television, this show has been running so long that we have 23 seasons of data to derive who to bet on. The Olympic gymnast, Simone Biles, is the heavy favorite, but there are some other interesting names to look at here.
(Odds courtesy of Bookmaker.eu as of March 3, 2017)
Dancing with the Stars Odds – Season 24
- Simone Biles +200
- Heather Morris +500
- Nancy Kerrigan +700
- Rashad Jennings +750
- Bonner Bolton +950
- Normani Kordei +900
- Nick Viall +1100
- Mr. T +1200
- Erika Jayne +1200
- David Ross +1300
- Charo +1400
- Chris Kattan +1500
Athletes vs “Sympathy” Contestants
Looking through the list of winners in this show’s history, the number of athletes to have won this event leaps off the page. Even though there have been numerous winners from the sports world, however, that number has declined in recent seasons.
From Season 2 to Season 8, athletes dominated the top three in Dancing with the Stars. Between Season 3 and Season 6, every winner was a professional athlete with Emmitt Smith, Apolo Anton Ohno, Helio Castroneves, and Kristi Yamaguchi taking home their titles. Additionally, Shawn Johnson won the trophy in Season 8 and Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor, and Warren Sapp, finished runners-up in Seasons 2, 6, and 7.
Shifting Fan Focus on Celebrites
Over the last eight seasons, the focus has moved away from athletes and on to sympathetic stories. However, Laurie Hernandez won the most recent season and it is likely her recent success that makes Biles such a large favorite.
Hernandez was a member of that same Final Five group that Biles starred in at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but whereas Hernandez was a beneficiary of the short timespan between the Olympics and the competition, this season will wrap up almost a full year following the Olympics. That means that Biles likely won’t get near the bump that Hernandez did when she performed last year.
Additionally, most of the recent winners have been contestants with a sympathetic backstory of overcoming some type of adversity, which is something that viewers latch onto. In Season 22, Nyle DiMarco became the first deaf contestant in the history of the show to go on to win the competition and in the year prior, the late Steve Irwin’s daughter Bindi ended up besting the field. Although judges and viewers join forces to pick the winners and eliminate contestants, it’s clear that people with a sympathetic story tend to do better.
Who are Our Dancing with the Stars Predictions?
Biles, Kerrigan, and Jennings are the most notable athletes on the list, while Ross is a lesser-known athlete. In the history of the show, two gymnasts, two figure skaters, and two football players have hoisted the Mirror Ball, but never a baseball player. Logically, this makes sense, as gymnasts, figure skaters, and football players are all known for understanding how their bodies move best.
With football players, it’s their immense star power which is a factor. The two NFL alumni, Emmitt Smith and Hines Ward, were both notable names throughout their careers. Jennings doesn’t move the needle like the other two and–barring some sensational performances–isn’t likely to get the bump typical of more notable football players.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Biles is a deserved favorite with “America’s Sweetheart” written all over her, but at this price, she’s pretty hard to wager on. Gymnasts often transition well in the ballroom, but it’s hard to imagine the show selecting a gymnast in back-to-back seasons at this point.
Our Pick To Win
Instead, Nancy Kerrigan (+700) might be the way to go. Kerrigan is not only an athlete, but an athlete with a sympathetic story, which will easily translate well with the show’s older-skewing audience.
Kristi Yamaguchi and Meryl Davis both won the competition and she should do extremely well. The only slight cause for concern is her dance partner, Artem Chigvintsev, who has never had a partner finish higher than 6th in his four seasons on DWTS. He’s not a crowd favorite like one of the Chmerkovskiy brothers, but with Kerrigan’s star power, we’ll have to see.