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DOES TEAM BIEBER HAVE THE EDGE?

Amid a series of savvy maneuvers by Justin Bieber's team, prognosticators now say that trends indicate he has the momentum and may cut the current deficit and prevail in his hard-fought chart battle with One Direction.

These same handicappers believe 350k will be easily reachable for both, but believe the Biebs has the edge on the U.S. album sales chart (1D is still the favorite in their U.K. homeland).

The Def Jam singer's Staples Center events and newly added stops in Chicago and Houston look likely to help him reduce the distance in likely album sales between his PURPOSE and 1D's Made in the A.M. (SYCO/Columbia), both of which street on 11/13.

1D's takeover of iTunes puts them all over the store, but Bieber's album remains #1 to their #4 on the Top 10, and his songs sit at #2, #3 and #6; six 1D songs sit in the Top 25, all outside the Top 10.

Meanwhile, the Brits' physical assault is their biggest hope for maintaining and/or extending their early lead; offerings include not only standard and deluxe editions but Target’s collectible "limited edition" discs featuring all four members' pics as individual covers, which could prompt multiple purchases per fan of the band’s swan-song release.

However, Team Bieber is said to have a lot more up their sleeves. Stay tuned.

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