Denise still the one to beat in Strictly Come Dancing

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Strictly Come Dancing is often full of surprising routines – but the winners are seldom anything other than predictable

This year Denise van Outen remains the favourite to win the show after weeks of impressive performances, meaning that even at the current 1/1 offered she still looks well worth a punt.

She scored a 37 for her excellent smooth dance last Saturday, with her background in musical theatre surely helping her blow the rest of the competition away. That distinct advantage shouldn’t hinder her though, with past winners having plenty of previous dance experience.

The likes of Kara Tointon and Alesha Dixon both trained as dancers to various degrees and it didn’t stop them claiming the shiny glitter ball.

Former Big Breakfast presenter Van Outen is a popular figure anyway and has top-scored in each of the last four shows, making victory look more and more likely.

Olympic hero Lewis Smith is second favourite at 2/1 but his relaxed attitude and ability to control his nerves – something that served him so well on the horse in London – is holding him back somewhat on the dancefloor.

His disappointing Paso Doble at the weekend saw him pick up only 27 points – his worst score since the first show. An improvement could see him make a late surge but it would take something dramatic to see Denise disposed of as the favourite.

Finally, Michael Vaughan looks unlikely to become the third cricketer after Mark Ramprakash and Darren Gough to win the show and has drifted out to 40/1 after yet another disappointing week.

His 26 points was the second-worst of the week behind the eliminated Victoria Pendleton and it would be a big surprise to see him make it beyond this Sunday’s results show.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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