Takahashi is riding on his reputation. Despite popular opinions, including that of Joubert, he is nowhere near being the best skater of this season. More like 4th, after Chan, Oda, and Kozuka. He can't be written out and is a favorite for good reasons. After the poor showing at GPF and Nationals SP, likely affected by his crash with Kozuka at GPF, he has recovered quite well, so momentum is on his side now. That and his history of peaking at end of season puts him in contention for gold, not his season's showings.I think if its not him, it'll be Takahashi. I think eitheir of the two would be deserving champions. No one else has seemed to come up to their level this season.
That said, neither can Oda and Kozuka be written off. They have been stellar this season.
Takahashi's strength is his PCS and competitiness. Technically, he has the weakest content and performances of the four contenders. The other three all have better quads whereas Takahashi fails every quad except for one. He has not had a clean comp yet this season. He needs some help to win that gold.