‘Survivor: Game Changers’ predictions: Tribe switch gives Malcolm Freberg new life as frontrunner to win

It took only one episode and two eliminations before “Survivor: Game Changers” threw the first major twist at the players — last week the 18 remaining castaways were reorganized from two tribes into one, changing the game and the luck of many players. One of the luckiest players is Malcolm Freberg who jumps to the top spot in our weekly predictions as the most likely to win with 10/3 odds. Sarah Lacina, who led Malcolm in the odds last week, drops to second with 4/1 odds while Cirie Fields and Sandra Diaz-Twine hold third place both at 7/1 odds. But in the game of “Survivor,” luck only lasts so long. Read my analysis of how the players at the top of the leaderboard are faring and then update your “Survivor 34” predictions in our weekly event.

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At the start of the season it looked like Malcolm may have backed the wrong horse — in the battle royale at the Mana tribe between Sandra and Tony Vlachos, Malcolm was in favor of keeping Tony because as a bigger target he’d serve as a shield for Malcolm later in the game. While that was a great early strategy for Malcolm, it didn’t pan out and he had to vote with his tribe to keep Sandra. Now he’s with Sandra in the majority on the post-switch Nuku tribe where it’s likely that she and the only other previous champion left, J.T. Thomas, are likely to engage in another battle royale. That battle will keep Malcolm out of the crossfires, but will force him into once again choosing a side.

Sandra, on the other hand, will be forced into a fight for her life for the second time this season. Unlike Tony, J.T. is known as a “heroic” winner, not a “villainous” one so his tribe mates are likelier to want to work with him, at least for now. That could spell doom for Sandra, also considered a “villain,” especially if Malcolm sees this as an opportunity to regain the control he sacrificed to her in voting out Tony. If Malcolm and Sandra stick together then they’re likely to take out J.T., strengthening a five-person alliance of original Mana members that could potentially last until the end.

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Like Malcolm and Sandra, Cirie and Sarah were both swapped to their new Tavua tribe together within a 5-1 majority. On their previous Nuku tribe, Sarah was one of many players to appease Cirie’s fears that she’d be the first to go while keeping an outright alliance with her at arm’s length. On Tavua they’ll both be at the mercy of Troyzan Robertson, who last week claimed a hidden immunity idol that he’ll soon use to thwart that majority’s hold on the tribe. Luckily for Cirie and Sarah, Troyzan probably sees them as two of the smaller threats to his own safety.

Cirie remains one of the most dangerous players in the game, known for her knack for social manipulation that dominated her in-game persona in three previous seasons. Sarah, on the other hand, is a challenge asset and known for a devotion to honor and loyalty that cost her the game in “Cagayan.” Yet for those very different reputations, Troyzan is likely to want to side with both — Cirie as the devil he knows, and Sarah as the type of player he likely sees himself as. My guess is that the three team up with Zeke Smith to oppose the two more glaring threats, Ozzy Lusth and Andrea Boehlke, in order to take control of their tribe and potentially the game.

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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?

Who will win ‘Survivor: Game Changers’? See exclusive odds

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.

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