In a matter of weeks the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for 2015 will be contested, with the winner revealed in a show broadcast live on the station on Sunday December 20.
As ever the contenders are an eclectic bunch, and in the betting market we will be looking for two things: a) a fantastic achievement in their respective sport, and b) a back story that will tap into the modern day phenomenon of ‘emotion porn’; e.g. a voting public being swayed by a contestant’s heartstring-pulling ‘journey’ (see X Factor, I’m a Celebrity etc).
With those two parameters in mind, let us find your best bet from those at the head of the market:
Andy Murray (10/11)
The former Sports Personality of the Year winner added another slice of history to his already glittering collection after leading the Great Britain team to Davis Cup glory – their first in 79 years – and the emotion he showed at the culmination of his decisive singles rubber with David Goffin showed a rare glimpse of personality.
The Scot spent more than eight hours on court in his three games against Belgium, winning them all, and in total he won all eleven of his cup ties this calendar year.
It wasn’t such a glittering year for Murray in singles action, although he did reach the last four of Wimbledon before being dismantled by Roger Federer.
Jessica Ennis-Hill (15/8)
The vast majority of votes for Sports Personality of the Year are cast on the night as the video montages of the contenders’ years are played out. The voting public loves a ‘story’ packed with emotion and excitement, and so Jessica Ennis-Hill looks a long price at 15/8.
The heptathlete confounded expectations by coming back from the birth of her first child to win her second world title in 2015, and no doubt the video montage will talk of ‘struggle’, ‘challenges’ and ‘emotion’. This generally gets the voting public’s juices flowing.
Tyson Fury (12/1)
The self-styled Gypsy King overcame huge odds in his incredible victory over Wladimir Klitschko at the weekend, and this has propelled him into the running for this contest. He is Britain’s first world heavyweight champion in six years, and he would become the first boxer to win this crown since Joe Calzaghe in 2007.
The recency of Fury’s win will be to his advantage when the voting opens, however to his disadvantage will be some rather crude and ill-advised remarks on homosexuality and abortion. For that reason, he stands no real chance of being crowned Sports Personality of the Year.
Lewis Hamilton (20/1)
He is the defending champion of this award after that F1 title win in 2014….and nobody has ever been crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year in back-to-back years.
It is unlikely that Hamilton will have the weight of support needed to become the first, despite another phenomenal year in which he claimed his third Formula 1 title (the first Brit since Jackie Stewart to do so), while passing the great Ayrton Senna’s mark of 41 race wins.
Chris Froome (66/1)
He’s a long old price, but history is on Froome’s side after three cyclists picked up this award in the last seven years (Chris Hoy, Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins).
Now a two-time Tour de France winner – the first Brit to ever achieve the feat – Froome has to be a contender given the difficulty of his task. He also went through hardships to achieve his feat, including having a bucket of urine chucked at him, and that will please the voting public’s emotional response detectors.