It has been a feature of the UK TV schedules for more than 50 years, and once again in December the Sports Personality of the Year award will return to our screens to celebrate the great and the good of British sport.
And what a year there is to celebrate, with the cherry on the cake being Team GB’s brilliance at the Rio Games. During the last Olympic year, 2012, the 1-2-3 of SPOTY were all golden Olympians, so that is an interesting angle in for punters.
Here’s a recap of the most recent winners of the award:
- 2015 – Andy Murray (1st), Kevin Sinfield (2nd), Jessica Ennis-Hill (3rd)
- 2014 – Lewis Hamilton, Rory McIlroy, Jo Pavey
- 2013 – Andy Murray, Leigh Halfpenny, Tony McCoy
- 2012 – Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Andy Murray
- 2011 – Mark Cavendish, Darren Clarke, Mo Farah
That list is interesting for a number of reasons, but perhaps it is 2012 that we should focus on most as that is the last time that Olympic fever gripped the voting public.
Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Andy Murray, who made up the top three, were all Olympic gold medallists, and that provides us with a handy betting angle in here. Consequently, we should only be considering gold medal winners in Rio for this market; despite the fine sporting accomplishments achieved elsewhere.
As such, who are the pick of the Sports Personality of the Year betting tips?
Andy Murray (11/8)
As a two-time winner award of the award Murray clearly has a huge fanbase waiting to pick up the phone and vote for him, and his two prior wins have come on the back of stellar achievements: he won Wimbledon in 2013, before picking up the SPOTY gong six moths later, and in 2015 he almost single-handedly led Team GB to Davis Cup glory.
The Scot has had another golden year of course, winning Wimbledon once again and scooping Olympic gold once more; hence his status as the bookmakers’ favourite. But look what happened in the last Olympic year in 2012: he was beaten into third place despite winning gold in London. Perhaps he will be usurped again?
Mo Farah (11/4)
Having achieved the ‘double double’ of gold medals in the 5000m and 10,000m at the London and Rio Games, Mo looks great value to add the SPOTY trophy to his cabinet.
He is much-loved by the British public, although it must be noted that his media persona is not quite as hot as it was in 2012, when he won gold on a fateful Saturday night in front of millions of viewers and celebrated in his own inimitable ‘Mobot’ style.
But he didn’t even get into the top three at SPOTY 2012, so there’s no reason to assume he will receive the level of backing required this time around.
Laura Trott (7/1) and Jason Kenny (16/1)
The ‘golden couple’ of the Rio Games bagged five gold medals between them in their various cycling pursuits, and with two fellow bike riders in Wiggins and Cavendish winning SPOTY in the last five years, this pair surely has to be worth a shout.
Trott was outstanding in picking up Team Pursuit and Omnium golds for Team GB, and those medals can be added to a rather burgeoning collection which includes two gold and a bronze from this year’s World Championships in London.
But it is Kenny who really catches the eye in this market. He bagged a hat-trick of track golds in the Keirin and team and individual sprints to add to his trio picked up in Beijing and London. That means that Kenny is now the third most decorated Olympian in terms of gold medals of the modern era behind Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, and that is surely deserving of further recognition.
You’d imagine that a lot of SPOTY voters are swayed on the night by the video montage packages, and that will surely play into Kenny’s hands. At 16/1, he looks outstanding value.