‘Survivor: Second Chance’: Is Jeff Varner playing the best or worst game?

survivor second chance predictions jeff varner abi-maria gomes 13579086

If forced to choose the MVP of "Survivor: Second Chance" so far, Jeff Varner is the likeliest of answers if only because he's had the biggest impact on the game. Instrumental in all three eliminations, Jeff's aggressive yet volatile strategy has made major waves in the game and this week he even crossed tribal lines in order to survive. Heading into Episode 3, our contest players had Jeff's odds to win at 12/1, but he now has lowly 40/1 odds to win. Let's evaluate his good and bad moves so far in the game, and be sure to make your "Survivor" predictions for your chance to win our prize of a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

Who will win 'Survivor: Second Chance'? See exclusive predictions

Jeff’s GOOD Moves:

Pitting "old school" against "new school"
Jeff very keenly divided the tribe into two factions right out of the gate, safely placing himself in the middle of them. This allowed Jeff to put targets elsewhere and make sure that he decided which faction would take control of the Ta Keo tribe. It also showed a larger awareness of how the tribe was behaving.

Using Abi-Maria as a shield
While she may seem like the worst choice of a "number two," Jeff knows that as long as Abi-Maria Gomes is still on his tribe, there will always be someone more unpredictable than him to pin a target on. He also knows she's unlikely to get enough jury votes to be declared the winner over him.

Jeff’s BAD Moves:

Not sticking with one alliance
In the first episode, Jeff chose "new school" over "old school," joining Shirin Oskooi and Spencer Bledsoe in voting out Vytas Baskauskas. At the very beginning of the second episode, Jeff was already positioning himself to vote out either Shirin or Spencer, realigning himself with the "old school" crew. And in the third episode, he abandoned original tribal lines and voted out another previous alliance member, Peih-Gee Law. This type of short-term alliance-making can't possibly sustain itself long enough to take him to the finals.

Playing too hard, too fast
Perhaps the most brazen and reckless thing I've seen a player do in MANY seasons is Jeff attempting to communicate with another tribe immediately after a challenge loss. Not only did this self-prescribed "emotional meltdown" further show him to lack a clear sense of loyalty, but it also provided underdogs Tasha Fox and Andrew Savage the much-needed crack to avoid their otherwise clear-cut elimination.

Check out the overall Season 31 leaderboard to the right. Currently our #1 "Survivor" predictor is Sunhound with overall 93% accuracy and 71,927 points, but there are still many weeks left to play in our contest and be eligible to win our weekly and overall season prizes. See our contest rules here and don't forget to update YOUR predictions here.

To vote for who you think will be voted out next, drag your chosen castaways over from the left to the right and arrange them in your predicted order. Every time someone logs their predictions, the racetrack odds of the contestants are automatically updated.

If the majority of readers think Stephen will be out, that means he'll have the best odds and will go to the front of the pack. Conversely, the contestants who don't receive many predictions have the worst odds and will go to the bottom of the pile.

Gold Derby users just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it's important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click "Save Predictions" when you've settled on your choice.

'The Amazing Race' predictions: Tiffany & Krista have 7-to-5 odds to be eliminated next

Who's going home next? Making your "Survivor" predictions is fun and easy. Just log into your Gold Derby account (or you can register for a free account via Facebook, Twitter or Google) and then start casting your votes.

Remember that coming out on top doesn't just mean answering that week's questions correctly. You also have to use your three big bets (500 points and two of 200 points) strategically to score the most game points. If you bet on a longshot who pulls off an upset, you can really rack up the points, so don't take them for granted.

Get started by making your prediction as to which castaway will be voted off the island next by using our easy drag-and-drop menu below our podcast with the latest castoff. And be sure to sound off on the current season of "Survivor" in Gold Derby's reality TV forum.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

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