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EW.com handicaps the ''Amazing Race'' finale

Bruce Fretts rates the strengths and weaknesses of the three remaining teams

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The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race: CBS

EW.com handicaps the ”Amazing Race” finale

Okay, so CBS’ ”The Amazing Race” hasn’t exactly drawn amazing ratings. But its roughly 10 million dedicated (and demographically desirable) viewers have been treated to what once seemed like a TV oxymoron: a classy reality show. Nobody has eaten bull testicles or been tempted to cheat on their mates. It’s been good, clean fun as 11 two-person teams have sprinted around the globe.

In the season finale (airing on Thurs., Dec. 13 at 9 p.m., hammocked between ”Survivor: Africa” and ”C.S.I.”), the final three teams will haul ass in the last leg. While wagering is discouraged, here’s a tip sheet for handicapping the competitors:

FRANK AND MARGARITA

STRENGTHS Home-field advantage. The race concludes where it began, in New York City, which just happens to be the separated parents’ place of residence. As any sports fan can tell you, playing on familiar turf can make all the difference. Also, Frank’s unapologetically competitive spirit could provide a much-needed last-minute surge of energy.

WEAKNESSES The couple has a tendency to bicker (guess that’s why they’re separated), which can be a dangerously counterproductive time-waster. ”We have to cooperate, communicate, and listen to each other,” Margarita said, sounding very much like somebody who’s spent time in couples counseling. And if Frank insists on getting back a dollar in change from a cabbie in New York City (as he did at the Beijing airport), he could be waiting for a very long time.

ROB AND BRENNAN

STRENGTHS The ”lawyers/best friends” are the most physically powerful duo; although Frank and Rob look about equal in muscle mass, Brennan could probably take Margarita in an arm-wrestling match. Plus, they’re lawyers, so there’ll be none of those nagging ethical dilemmas to slow them down.

WEAKNESSES Physical strength isn’t everything in this ”Race,” as we saw when a preteen Chinese ping-pong champ wiped the floor with Brennan and Rob. And is it just me, or does the reticent Brennan seem like a ticking time bomb who could blow up at his better-looking ”best friend” any minute? Maybe he’s tired of always settling for ”the ugly one” at parties.

JOE AND BILL

STRENGTHS The life partners have been together for 14 years, so they clearly know how to function as a unit; they’ve dubbed themselves ”Team Guido” in honor of the dog they left at home (their opponents, meanwhile, gave them the less-than-fond nickname ”Ernie and Bert”). They’re not above playing dirty, even resorting to physically blocking — some said pushing — God-fearing mama Nancy in an attempt to prevent her from getting on an earlier flight than the one they’d booked.

WEAKNESSES They’re starting the last leg in third place, far behind the others. And should there be a laundry mix-up and they’re unable to continue their habit of wearing matching clothes, it could cause a paralyzing setback.

Who do you think will win ”The Amazing Race”?