‘Survivor’ 35 episode 8 predictions: Do Cole Medders and Joe Mena need immunity to avoid elimination?

It turns out that our theory last week that the Hustlers and Heroes of would join forces to vote against the Healers at the “Survivor” 35 merge was right on the money. The super alliance of seven Hustlers and Heroes all wanted either Joe Mena or Cole Medders out, but worried that Joe would play an idol for himself or Cole so they voted out Jessica Johnston instead. Turns out Joe did play his idol for himself, which means both he and Cole are as vulnerable as our current elimination predictions would suggest. Joe tops our race of who will go home next with 19/10 odds and Cole is right behind him with 21/10 odds. Knowing they’re both on the chopping block, will Joe and Cole throw one another under the bus or will they focus their energy on beating the other in an all-important individual immunity challenge?

Read my thoughts on Joe and Cole’s chances of surviving this week and more in our rundown of the current odds in our weekly contest for episode 8, “Playing with the Devil.”

Both Joe and Cole have played brazenly confident games so far, but all of that is likely to change following last week’s tribal council that saw Joe threaten everyone with and then subsequently misuse his second hidden immunity idol causing Cole’s closest ally and love interest, Jessica, to be blindsided (listen to our exit interview with Jessica). Without Joe’s idol and Cole’s confidant, the two men must realize that their failure to build connections with other players in the game spells disaster for their hopes at lasting much longer. In fact, their social capital within the merged tribe is so low that the discussion of who goes next is likely to revolve around which of the two men is less annoying at camp.

Perhaps they haven’t realized it yet by this point in the season, but Joe and Cole each rubbed two very influential players the wrong way — Cole’s selfish eating habits soured Ben Driebergen to working with him and Joe’s cockiness was an immediate turn off to Chrissy Hofbeck. Unfortunately for them, the merge episode confirmed that both Ben and Chrissy are two of the three people pulling the strings within the Hustler-Heroes super alliance. The third member of that trio of power players is Ryan Ulrich, who once again tops our race for the most likely to win the game with 23/10 overall odds. Ben (3/1 odds) and Chrissy (7/1 odds) are polling second and third, respectively.

With Ben and Chrissy, and by association Ryan, setting their sights on the two strongest and most annoying former Healers, Joe and Cole might need to earn individual immunity if they hope to keep their name off the list of options in the upcoming episode. That being said, not many are expecting either to pull through a win, as our predictions say that JP Hilsabeck stands in their way with leading 10/3 odds of winning the next immunity challenge. JP is also a frontrunning choice to win the reward challenge, sitting at 8/5 odds over Devon Pinto in second place with 9/2 odds. Devon happens to be JP’s biggest threat to win immunity over him, as well, with 7/2 odds of winning there.

But as is always the case in “Survivor,” anything can happen. We’ll see how it all plays out on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. on CBS. Join us for our live blog of the episode as it airs on the East Coast!

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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