With the merge looming over the remaining 13 contestants on “Survivor: Game Changers,” all eyes are on Ozzy Lusth, the four-time player who has set a new record for most days played in “Survivor” history and is generally accepted as the greatest challenge threat of all time. But predictors are split on how Ozzy’s game changes with the merge — on one hand he has third-best odds to win the entire game and on the other he is our most predicted player to be eliminated next with leading 10/9 odds.
But Ozzy isn’t the only one in danger because for this week’s two-hour episode, “There’s a New Sheriff in Town,” two castaways will be eliminated. After Ozzy, the player most likely to be sent packing according to Gold Derby predictions is Debbie Wanner with 11/2 odds. After a brief stint on Exile Island and just one tribal council with the Nuku tribe, Debbie will likely be caught in the middle of two alliances this week and that could spell trouble. Below is my analysis of how things are likely to go down for both Ozzy and Debbie, so be sure to update your “Survivor 34” predictions in our weekly event after reading my take on their strategies.
Ozzy’s tenure across now four seasons of “Survivor” is one of the series’ best. In his first season he was the runner-up to a widely popular winner Yul Kwon in a 5-4 vote. In his two follow-up seasons, Ozzy placed ninth (“Micronesia”) and fourth (“South Pacific”), meaning that after this week’s new episode he will have made the merge in all four of his seasons.
But the merge is the most dangerous place for a player like Ozzy. As a massive physical threat, Ozzy is in clear and present danger as the one player that could put together a string of immunity challenge wins that would make him invulnerable to a vote. For a player like Brad Culpepper, the assumed leader of Ozzy’s opposition, that makes Ozzy extremely dangerous. With such overwhelming odds to go home this week, Gold Derby predictors would be shocked to see Ozzy make it through the upcoming two-hour episode.
If Ozzy does make it through this week, we’re expecting Debbie and/or Michaela Bradshaw (9/1 odds) to head to Ponderosa instead. Debbie’s place in the game has been precarious ever since her emotional blowup with Brad a few weeks ago at the Mana camp. Up until then, Debbie seemed to be an important part of Brad’s alliance, but she obviously lashed out in response to feeling like she was at the bottom. A trip to exile that sent her to the Nuku camp didn’t help and may have solidified her position opposite of Brad instead of giving her a chance to mend the wound of their argument.
Since the epic tribal council where Michaela and Sandra Diaz-Twine masterminded the elimination of J.T. Thomas, Michaela has taken somewhat of a backseat. With Sandra and Jeff Varner now out of the game, Michaela is left without an alliance and seen as not only a challenge threat but as one of the less enjoyable people around camp she is vulnerable as an “easy” vote for everyone to get behind.
Get a closer look at the Season 34 contestants by clicking through our cast photo gallery. In our “Survivor” predictions center, you get to answer the following questions before each episode airs on CBS every Wednesday at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET.:
Who will win “Survivor”?
Who will be eliminated?
Who will win Reward?
Who will win Immunity?
Will a hidden idol be played?
Will anybody quit or be medevaced?
Gold Derby readers 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” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “Survivor” in our reality TV forum.