The X Factor live shows begin next weekend. The treatment of each act there - running order, staging, judges comments - will tell us a great deal more about which acts producers want to do well. What do we know so far? Favourite Louisa Johnson looks to be Plan A. She may well shorten further in price if, as expected, she appears to shine next weekend. If you're up for trading your bet, you could back her now and lay it off at a shorter price in a week's time.

But she's a short price already considering the recent record of the girls category in the show. We haven't had one in the final since the Amelia Lily was brought back from elimination to finish third in 2011. Young female soloists often don't have enough of a backstory to win public hearts, and that's a concern for Louisa.

The problem is, there are question marks over most of her main rivals. 4th Impact were vocally unimpressive at judges' houses, whilst Seann Miley Moore will be a Marmite contestant who polarises opinion. Anton Stephans wears his heart on his sleeve in a way that will endear him to the voting public, but doesn't have the commerical potential Simon Cowell will want from a winner.

The compromise candidate - who may be able to blend public support and producer approval as a commercial act - is Che Chesterman. He has so far gained a succession of "wow" reactions from judges for his wide-ranging soul vocal. He looks like the best value in the win market, 6/1 at the moment, but I would like to see evidence of highly favourable treatment in next Saturday's first live show.

I anticipate good treatment for acts with commercial or headline-grabbing potential such as Alien Uncovered, Seann Miley Moore and Mason Noise. But the live shows are when producer favourites face the hurdle of the phone vote. The programme makers will want to keep the likes of Mason Noise for the tabloid column inches, but public dislike of his previous behaviour may see him struggle for support. The same could be said for the aggressive-looking Alien Uncovered.

It's very possible that Saturday night's show will have a flash vote and automatic elimination for the bottom act, before the usual Sunday night sing-off. In which case, another contestant may be treated like a "sacrificial lamb" to save the likes of Mason. The most likely candidate at this stage is Bupsi, who is my pre-show selection for first elimination, currently at 7/4.

Another suggested bet which will give you a longer run comes in the "First Mentor to Lose All Acts" market. The 2/1 about Cheryl losing all her acts first looks like good value. It's often hard for groups to connect with the public. This year two of them - Fourth Impact plus Reggie n Bollie - come from abroad, whilst former backing dancers Alien Uncovered may also be a hard sell.

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Bupsi to be eliminated first - 1pt @ 7/4
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini to lose all her acts first - 1pt @ 2/1