‘Survivor’ 35 finale spotlight: Can Ryan Ulrich make the jury believe he deserves to win?

Wednesday night the 35th season of “Survivor” comes to an end with the final five fighting for immunity, a mysterious final advantage in the game and the chance to sit in front of the jury and argue their case to take home the $1 million prize and title of “sole Survivor.” Ryan Ulrich had one of the strongest pre-merge games and started the merge as a leader in the dominant Heroes-Hustlers alliance, but has since failed to keep up that early pace. If sitting in front of the jury, to win he’ll have to convince them that he did more than just survive the late game. He’ll have to prove that he made moves to ensure he’d be there at the end.

Below I take a look at Ryan’s current odds in our finale predictions event and provide a quick analysis of what it’ll take for him to win. Do you think he can do it? Sound off in the comments!

SEE When is the ‘Survivor’ 35 finale? ‘Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers’ winner will be announced December 20

During the pre-merge part of the game, Ryan attended tribal council four times in the first six and survived. That’s a huge accomplishment, especially considering two of those trips were after he lost his day one ally Devon Pinto to a tribal swap and had to recalibrate his strategy. At the time, his best move was pulling Chrissy Hofbeck in from the Heroes, a connection that I believe helped form what would become the strong Heroes-Hustlers alliance in the post-merge game. We know now that that super alliance didn’t last, largely in part because of how much power Ryan and Chrissy as a pair were exerting over the others. Since the dissolution of that alliance, Ryan has struggled to get control back and failed.

At this point, Ryan’s game mostly consists of floating, making sure that those making the decision of who goes home are choosing someone other than him to target. While that’s a strategy that has gotten him to the final five, it’s not necessarily one that will be thought of fondly by the jury. In fact, it’s the typical “goat” position, the player dragged to the final three under the assumption that they didn’t earn their spot but were brought along because they wouldn’t receive any votes to win. If that is indeed how the jury will describe Ryan’s part in the late game, it would explain why we’re giving him the best odds of finishing in 3rd place with 5/6 odds.

SEE exclusive odds: Who will win ‘Survivor’?

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Wednesday on CBS. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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