I’m A Celebrity BET Me Out Of Here

This year another desperate collection of has-beens, never-were’s and soap opera cast-offs have been flung into the Australian jungle to raise money for “charidee”, although we know it’s to get their faces back on the box and bank a nice Christmas bonus in the process. “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here”, now in it’s fifth incarnation, is one of the more entertaining Reality TV shows and is car crash television at it’s dumbed down best.

Where else can you see a moderately recognisable media personality covered in molasses and green ants, eating cockroaches and other “jungle delicacies” or dumped in a water tank surrounded by crocodiles and eels in a bid to rescue a flagging career?

While the show has audiences squirming as “that bird who used to be on telly” munches down another especially fattened up caterpillar to try and win meals for hungry camp-mates restricted to rations of rice and beans, there are also plenty of betting opportunities for armchair fanatics.

Here we will take a look at the runners and riders and how they have got on after the first few days spent in the jungle.

SID OWEN

Best Price: 3/1 (Sporting Odds)

Played “Rickaaay Butcher” in Eastenders on and off since 1989 but has spent the last few years running his restaurant in France. He has been out of the media spotlight since his singing career failed to take off and admitted he was “bored” and jumped at the chance of appearing on the show. Ricky, sorry Sid, was immediately instilled as the bookie’s favourite to win as he appears to have the “everyman” quality that saw Phil Tufnell romp to victory in Series Two.

SHEREE MURPHY

Best Price: 7/2 (Sporting Odds)

Another ex soap “star”, Sheree’s character, Emmerdale’s “Tricia Stokes” was killed off almost three years ago when a pub chimney fell on her head during an uncharacteristically violent storm, on Christmas Day of all days as rotten luck would have it. Since then she has been raising her young children and living the life of luxury thanks to footballer husband Harry Kewell’s £65,000 a week wage.

Her arrival in the jungle wasn’t the best and comparison’s to I’m A Celeb legend Natalie Appleton were drawn when she wasn’t keen on jumping out of an aeroplane into the camp. At least she wasn’t frightened of the trees. However, she redeemed herself magnificently by retrieving five stars during a live jungle task despite being scared stiff and remains one of the favourites to win.

JIMMY OSMOND

Best Price: 11/2 (Tote Sport)

“Little” Jimmy Osmond became the youngest person to have a number one single with the annoying “Long Haired Lover From Liverpool” back in the 1970s. He has since become a successful property mogul but is still inflicting his brand of music onto the general public. He’s a difficult one to call. While he seems nice enough and undoubtedly has an enormous fan base, he comes across as a little, well, odd. Recent polls in the tabloid press rate him as favourite to win so the 11/2 price may shorten as the show progresses.

CAROL THATCHER

Best Price: 6/1 (Tote Sport)

The daughter of former Prime Minister Margaret and “famous” in her own right as a writer and broadcaster. Undoubtedly a “chip off the old block”, Carol has participated in two Jungle Trials so far and tackled them with relish. First she drove a kart across a ravine along a rope bridge and a few days later sat down to dinner with Jilly Goolden to enjoy a meal of grubs, cockroaches, fish eyes and finally a kangaroo’s testicle.

You get the impression that nothing will phase Carol during her stay in the jungle and the producers will have to come up with something rather nasty to put her off. She will have staying power in this competition but may not have enough of a fan base to lead her to victory.

TOMMY CANNON & BOBBY BALL

Best Prices 18/1 and 15/2 (both Bet365)

One day you have a hit TV show with millions of viewers and your own comic strip in “Look In” magazine and the next you are the faces of “Safestyle Windows” and doing gigs at Crown Hill Community Centre and the like. Ageing comedy duo Cannon and Ball were drafted into camp on Day Five, begging the question: “What’s the point?”

Latecomers never do well in Reality TV shows as they are subconsciously seen as “outsiders” and a threat to the already-formed group. Upon his arrival Ball wasted no time in “entertaining” the other campers with his “Rock on, Tommy” catchphrase and it seems inevitable they will do a task together with “hilarious consequences”. However, prices for them to win individually? Surely you can’t have one without the other?

DAVID DICKINSON

Best Price: 10/1 (Sporting Odds)

The perma-tanned “Bargain Hunt” antiques expert best known for his “Cheap as Chips” and “Bobby Dazzler” catchphrases. Like Cannon & Ball, he seems a bit of a strange choice to go into the jungle but his stay may be a short one in any case. He wasn’t overly pleased to see the newcomers while the other campers embraced their arrival and he may find himself the first celebrity voted out.

JENNY FROST

Best Price: 22/1 (Bet365)

Jenny has become the third member of Atomic Kitten to try their hands at Reality TV, following Kerry Katona’s success who won the show in Series Three and Liz McLarnon’s stint in “Celebrity Love Island” during the summer. She has been paid more than any of the other campers to appear on the show with a reported fee of £100,000 being quoted in the press which is bound to cause some friction. While she appears pleasant and pretty enough to look she hasn’t had a chance to do anything to convince she can become the second Kitten to reign as “Queen of the Jungle”.

ANTHONY COSTA

Best Price: 25/1 (Tote Sport)

Used to be in boyband “Blue” but unlike his three former band-mates, he doesn’t have a solo record deal – yet. He looked the odd one out during his band days and didn’t really cut it as a teen “heart throb”. His swarthy and permanently unshaven appearance made him look better suited to running a kebab shop than appearing on stage and hanging on bedroom walls in poster form. Another who seems nice enough but doesn’t have enough about him to stand out from the crowd.

JILLY GOOLDEN

Best Price: 50/1 (Tote Sport)

Jilly was famous for presenting “Food & Drink” on BBC2 for almost two decades and becoming the most recognised wine expert in the UK. However, she wouldn’t have come across anything like the grubs and kangaroo todger she downed when performing a joint task with Carol Thatcher. Her performance in that task will earn her respect and the 50/1 odds may be worth an interest and laid off at a shorter price as the competition progresses.

KIMBERLEY DAVIES

Best Price: 50/1 (Bet365)

Former “Neighbours” eye candy and ironically the first Australian to appear in the series. Good looking women never do well in the show and even though the permanently fresh-faced beauty gave her task her best shot on Day Two she may find herself voted out sooner rather than later.

SUMMARY

The three bookies favourites arguably have the strongest cases to win the show. Sid Owen has been one of the most recognisable faces on TV over the past 15 years or so while if it came down to sheer voting power, Jimmy Osmond and his hoards of crazed fans would win it for him comfortably. However, I am inclined to back Sheree Murphy to become only the second Queen of the Jungle. She has a vulnerable quality about her that people will warm to while stubbornly refusing to wimp out of tasks even though it’s plain to see she isn’t enjoying one second of them. Another performance like her showing in the live task will see her 7/2 odds tumble.

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NFL Situation Spotlight #25 – Red Zone Conversion

Red Zone Conversion percentage is one of those basic-box score stats that has been around for so long, it’s easy to overlook it in today’s 12-15 page NFL Gamebooks. It’s a deceptively simple, yet powerful statistic–teams that consistently convert Red Zone drives into touchdowns are the same teams that win games, and cover spreads. Teams with strong rushing games and tall, athletic receivers usually do well in the Red Zone, while teams that have trouble pounding the ball up the middle and don’t have the corners of the end-zone staked out will be kicking field-goals more often than not.

The fact that a high RZC% has a direct correlation with both SU and ATS wins should come as no surprise to even the casual fan. What is more interesting; however, is that RZC% also serves as an excellent tool in the prediction of future outcomes when used appropriately.

The power of RZC% as a handicapping tool truly becomes apparent when we compare how well one team has performed in the Red Zone while on offense, season-to-date, against the percentage that their upcoming opponent has surrendered scores in the Red Zone over the same time period. I actually analyze match-ups of opposing offensive and defensive units in many different areas and for many situations to determine if one team has an advantage (AD for short) over the other that can be significant enough to affect the end result versus the spread.

Before we can determine which team may or may not have an advantage, we need to know the league average for the statistic in question. In this case, the league average for converting drives that enter the Red Zone into touchdowns is roughly 50%. Therefore, if Team A were to have a RZC% For (Offense) of 55%, and Team B was to have a RZC% Against (Defense) of 60%, this would effectively give Team A a RZC%F AD of +15%. The formula would be:

(Team A’s RZC%F – League Average) – (League Average – Team B’s RZC%A)

Which gives us: (55 – 50) – (50 – 60) = +15%.

When we combine Team A’s better-than-average results in the Red Zone (+5%), plus, Team B’s worse-than-average ability to defend in the Red Zone (-10%), Team A ends up with a distinct advantage that they may be able to exploit if the two were to meet head-to-head.

And that is where Situation #25 fits in. The premise is this: Since 2002, teams that have a RZC%F AD of > 7.5 are an awesome 161-98 (62.2%) ATS when they also have a RZC%A > 50 and an Above Average Rushing Game Rating (this is ROF + RDE). Not impressed? Let’s put things into monetary terms–if you had wagered $110 to win back $100 on each game, you would have netted a tidy profit of $5,320 based on the results of these 3 different factors, over the past 7 seasons.

The last Primary condition for this situation involves looking at how often the current opponent of the team in question surrenders a first-down in Short-Yardage situations on 3rd and 4th down (S3C%A). This applies to all 3rd-4th down plays with 2 or less yards-to-go. When we remove all opponents that have a worse-than-average (greater than 65%) S3C%A, the record for this situation jumps to an incredible 104-37 (73.8%) ATS.

There are 3 different Secondary conditions (i.e., tighteners) that round out this situation. Secondary conditions normally exclude only a small percentage of games from the pool of NFL contests that apply. One example would be to ‘Exclude all Monday Night Games’, or, in the case of this particular situation–games in Week 17 are not included when many of the high-level teams involved are resting players as well as any games played prior to Week 4. Teams in a situation where they may be ‘looking ahead’ to playing an opponent with a winning percentage above .800 in their next game are also eliminated.

Excluding games in Week 17 makes sense for this situation, but, one needs to be careful when including too many Secondary conditions and things can get out of hand very quickly in this regard. It’s important that Secondary conditions fit into the context of the main logic, or building blocks of the situation itself. Tightening this particular situation by removing games in Week 9 only, or teams that had exactly 2 pre-season wins, are examples of out-of-context conditions that will only serve to falsely inflate the win percentage and reduce the situations potential for matching its past success in future games.

Here is the full summary for Situation #25 and all it’s related stats.

(Notes: ASMR stands for Average Spread Margin Rating. A positive rating indicates a trend that is stronger than average versus the line, negative–weaker than average. TDIS% is the percentage of teams in the league that have been involved in this situation at one time or another. WT% is the percentage of teams that are .500 or better and SPR is the average spread for teams in this situation. For more details, please consult Page 13 of my 2007 NFL Game Sheets Guide.)

Situational Trend #25 Summary (Last Updated: Jan 15th, 2008)

Primary Conditions (Building Blocks)

1) Red Zone Conversion% For Advantage (RZC%F AD) > 7.5.

2) Red Zone Conversion% Against (RZC%A) > 50.

3) Above Average Rushing Game Rating (AAVG RG).

4) Opponent S3C%A (OP S3C%A) Secondary Conditions (Tighteners)

1) Exclude Week 17 and Week 0.800.

Situation Stats

ASMR: -0.4

Home%: 50.4

Dog%: 45.0

TDIS%: 87.5

WT%: 66.1

SPR: -0.93

Top Teams: SD(20); KC(12); SEA(7); OAK(7)

Situation Records

Overall (Since ’01): 100-26 ATS

2007 Season: 11-4 ATS

2006 Season: 6-2 ATS

2005 Season: 13-2 ATS

2004 Season: 26-5 ATS

Last 3 Results. Pick in Brackets.

2007 WK19–NE 31 JAC 20 (JAC +13) W

2007 WK18–JAC 31 PIT 29 (PIT +2.5) W

2007 WK16–SD 23 DEN 3 (SD -9) W

Acey-Deucey – Sailors’ Backgammon

The backgammon variation Acey-Deucey was a popular pastime among the US Marine Corps during World War I. An article published in the backgammon site Play65 reveals that the game has been entertaining Navy officers already in the beginning of the 1900s. It also shows that even the name “Acey-Deucey” has its roots in the American Navy’s slang.

Acey-Deucey is the nickname given to the dice roll of 1-2. Normally a disadvantageous roll, the Acey-Deucey roll grants its thrower with special privileges: the right to play a desired double of his choice, plus an additional role (on top of the 1-2 roll). Acey and Deucey were also the nicknames of the First and Second Class Petty Officers (respectively), who also entertained themselves in Acey-Deucey Clubs and Lounges.

Acey-Deucey was not the sole occupancy of the command echelon; sailors used to pass the time between one mission to another rolling dice and moving checkers. Acey-Deucey was everywhere, testified one sailor in a letter to the Time’s editor in 1930, “the deck, below decks, in the engine room, the dynamo room and in the turrets and handling rooms”, and was never spotted among the combat corps.

Although Acey-Deucey can be played on the same equipment used in backgammon games, playing the game on the shaky grounds of the sea required some innovations. Therefore, to protect the dice and checkers from sliding and slipping, a special border was built around the backgammon board and the dice were dropped to the playing surface through a tube.

Acey Deucey Rules & Strategy

The acey-deucey advantage is one of the main differences between the standard backgammon and the mariners’ favorite variation. Backgammon and Acey-Deucey also differ in their initial board setup and their final scoring; the Acey-Deucey game begins with both players’ checkers based outside the board and it ends with the loser sacrificing one point for every checker that was not borne off the board.

Despite the great 1-2 benefit and the fact that Acey-Deucey is played without the doubling cube, the game does leave some room for preplanned strategy. Acey-Deucey strategy would focus on the early game, when both players enter the checkers to the board according to the rolls of the dice, the same way players remove their checkers of the board at the end of the backgammon game. Reasonable Acey-Deucey strategy may include quick entering of most checkers and using them to block the opponent’s checkers.