Strictly Come Dancing is back tonight - but who is favourite to win?

Strictly Come Dancing returns to our screens tonight (Saturday).
Strictly Come Dancing returns to our screens tonight (Saturday).

Strictly Come Dancing returns to our screens tonight with a new host of celebrities set to take to the dancefloor.

And new research has backed bookies favourite, JLS singer Aston Merrygold, as this year's winner.

Which of this year's celebrities will be waltzing off with the Glitterball trophy?

Which of this year's celebrities will be waltzing off with the Glitterball trophy?

Based on historical analyis of the show's previous winners, carried out by BonusCodeBets.co.uk, the 29-year-old statistically fits the bill of which contestant is most likely to win the show, with him matching many of the characteristics of the most typical winner. He only misses out on being the perfect contestant due to being a singer rather than a TV presenter, the profession that has claimed the Glitterball on five occasions.

The research looked at the winning celebrities’ performances and characteristics across all 14 series of the show and found that statistically the winning dancer:

* Will be male (8 of 14 winners are men – 57%)

* Will be 30-years-old

* Will be a TV presenter (5 winners are television hosts out of the 14 series – 36%) or otherwise a musician or sportsman

* Must score an average of 34 points a dance throughout the 2017 series

When considering the age of the 2017 contestants, The Saturdays star Mollie King, whose odds are 4/1, is also in a strong position to win as she perfectly meets the average age of past trophy holders at 30-years-old.

Historically, all five presenters who have won the show claimed their victory in their 30s. Looking to this year’s contestants, Charlotte Hawkins and Susan Calman are the youngest TV hosts (both aged 42) so the data does not favour the trophy winning profession this time round.

Other high performing professions include actors (three victories) with singers, musicians and sportsmen also boasting wins. If Aston were to win series 15, it would draw singers level with actors as the second most awarded occupation.

Comedians, radio presenters and politicians (like last year’s fan-favourite Ed Balls) are amongst the careers to never to have won the Strictly crown.

When looking at sports stars, previous show winners have included cricketers Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash. This year’s sportsman, Paralympian Jonnie Peacock, will be hoping to follow in the dance steps of past winning Olympic gymnast Louis Smith.

Alexander Kostin of BonusCodeBets.co.uk commented: “Our research shows that age and gender really can influence celebrities’ performance in Strictly Come Dancing. The historical findings therefore bode well for the likes of Aston Merrygold. Understandably the bookies have him as favourite at 15/4 closely followed by Mollie King at 4/1 whose age of 30 also fits the bill.”

Catch Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1 tonight at 7pm.