Naturally, online sports books announced "Dancing with the Stars" gambling odds just hours thereafter. The gambling odds on "Dancing with the Stars" have Donald Driver at 13/2 odds to win -- the same odds as Gladys Knight, and lower odds than Urkel or Mexican soap opera star William Levy.
Bovada Sportsbook lists Driver as tied as the third-highest favorite in its first "Dancing with the Stars" Season 14 odds. I have no idea what these odds are based upon, but they're not based upon statistical analysis of previous seasons' DWTS results. Statistical analysis of previous seasons' results says Driver's odds should be listed far higher.
Bookies are great at predicting real sports, but they're terrible at predicting "Dancing with the Stars". Online sports books put out a batch of initial odds each time a new DWTS cast is announced. Each time, these odds are proven hilariously inaccurate once the actual dancing begins.
Last season's winner, Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez, was only ranked No. 9 in the first batch of pre-season odds. Season 12 champion Hines Ward was ranked tied with Lil' Romeo for No. 4 in the pre-season odds this time last year. In both cases, the oddsmakers' top three highest-ranked dancers were not among the actual top three finalists.
To accurately predict the winners and losers on "Dancing with the Stars", one should look at previous seasons' results the way Billy Beane looks at baseball statistics. Previous results say a currently employed professional athlete has an excellent chance of winning this thing. while a male actor from a 1990s sitcom has practically no chance of winning this thing.
In looking at all the previous winners of "Dancing with the Stars", certain patterns might foxtrot right out at you. All seasons' previous winners are listed below, with their career occupations in parentheses:
- Season 1 - Kelly Monaco (Actress)
- Season 2 - Drew Lachey (Pop Singer)
- Season 3 - Emmitt Smith (Athlete, retired)
- Season 4 - Apolo Anton Ohno (Athlete, current)
- Season 5 - Helio Castraneves (Athlete, current)
- Season 6 - Kristi Yamaguchi (Athlete, retired)
- Season 7 - Brooke Burke (Model)
- Season 8 - Shawn Johnson (Athlete, current)
- Season 9 - Donny Osmond (Pop Singer)
- Season 10 - Nicole Scherzinger (Pop Singer)
- Season 11 - Jennifer Grey (Actress)
- Season 12 - Hines Ward (Athlete, current)
- Season 13 - J.R. Martinez (Actor and War Veteran)
Employing this formula with the "Dancing with the Stars" Season 14 cast, we can quickly weed out half the field and determine who the real contenders are for the mirrorball trophy -- before anyone has even danced a step.