Reality Bites: If you bet on The Apprentice, you deserve to be fired
Over the past five or six years, novelty betting’s becoming a very big deal. While bookmakers tend to place limits on the sums that can be wagered given the ‘democratic’ nature of shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and Britain’s Got Talent, a growing number of punters are placing cash on the outcome of what passes for reality television.
Which brings us to the 2015 series of The Apprentice. Even before the first episode aired, the bookies were offering odds on who’d receive the dubious honour of becoming Lord Sugar’s business partner. But just as the confidence of the contestants is invariably misplaced, so’s the bookmakers’ certainty over who’ll get hired.
In case you’ve had the good fortune to have missed the series to date, this current crop of Apprentices is so motley, their best chance of making cash would be to head directly to the Spanish Main. A Grayson Perry lookalike, a woman called Selina with a personality the equivalent of cholera, and a guy who looks so much like a ‘50s spiv, you fully expect him to draw his jacket aside to reveal cut-price nylons – in short, people who don’t deserve to have money invested in them or wagered on them.
And yet wager on them punters have. Indeed, four weeks in and four Apprenti down, Betfair have Elle Stevenson as their 15/8 favourite. Since this is a woman who bought a rubber dinghy for the price of a fortnight’s holiday in the Med, Elle’s place at the head of the field is a wonderful indication of how this year’s clutch of Apprenticies isn’t so much starved of quality as suffering from malnutrition.
As for those floundering in Elle’s wake, Betfair have spiv boy Joseph Valente (above) at 11/4 and covered market Jason Statham Brett Butler-Smyth at 3/1.
Anyone thinking those prices seem pretty decent should bear in mind that, before episode one aired, bookmakers.co.uk had Aisha Kasim at second favourite to pick up the £250,000. So naturally she was the first to set foot in the black cab.
If they were wrong on that front, however, bookmakers.co.uk can be congratulated on relegating the aforementioned Selina Waterman-Smith to the back of the field. With a face like the smacked arse’s smacked arse, she embodies everything we love and loath about The Apprentice – a show best enjoyed through one’s fingers, since this both protects you from its most cringe-worthy moments but also prevents you from calling up Ladbrokes and sticking 50 quid on Vana for the win.