When you go to Vegas, you know you're going to face the odds. The Mr. Olympia prejudging isn't on the sports board because it's a judged event. But if you're a betting soul (or fool), then you should put your money on Jay Cutler to retain the Sandow.
Was he the best bodybuilder on the stage tonight at the Orleans for the 2011 Mr. Olympia prejudging? Debatable. But the best quarterback doesn't always win the football game. It may sound strange, but bodybuilding is a team sport. And Jay knows how to rally the troops.
Here's our assessment:
Pre-show, this writer judged the first callout to be: Jay, Dexter, Kai and Phil. But you can never predict how many pros the judges will call for that crucial mix. This time they called six, adding Dennis Wolf and Victor Martinez to the group. If bodybuilding were a random sport, then Jay's odds were only 1 to 5 of winning his fifth. But you have to factor in a lot of tangibles. Here's how BB.com breaks down the 100 percent certainty that someone will win Mr. O tomorrow night
|Current Mr. Olympia
|Current Mr. O in condition
|Rest of the field
So, here's how we sum it up: Jay has more than a 50 percent chance of retaining the title. Phil has about a 35 percent chance of receiving the best gift of his life. Kai has a long-shot 5 percent chance, as does the rest of the field.
To understand what's happening at the prejudging of a bodybuilding show it helps to know a little about psychology and math. Which is, essentially, what you need to be a smart gambler. While the top six guys were announced early, the picture became much clearer at the end of the show. The second-to-last callout was Dennis, Victor, Dexter and Kai. You don't have to be Steven Hawking to figure out that the judges were looking at these guys for third through sixth. Then, the last callout was Phil against Jay. One versus two.
Seven through ten seem pretty solid, too. Given the judges tight-knit group of four in their second callout: Hidetada Yamagishi, Brandon Curry, Ronnie Rockel and Toney Freeman. We'd bet tomorrow night's dinner that the first six plus the next four equal your 2011 Mr. Olympia top 10. Order them as you will.
And if you're more of a psychologist than a mathmetician, then you could tell which guys thought they were going to win the show: Phil and Jay. Each of them walked on stage with the attitude of the champion. None of the others had the requisite swagger.
They've both earned it. They both deserve it. But who's going to win it? You can bet that we'll tell you as soon as it happens tomorrow night.