It’s been a whirlwind few days on the SPOTY markets with frenzied betting activity before and after the shortlist was announced yesterday evening.
Firstly on Saturday night Tyson Fury won over the judges in Dusseldorf to inflict a first loss on Wladimir Klitschko in 11 years. This led to a nosedive in his SPOTY price from around 80 to being matched as low as 5.7 on Betfair.
I was a bit concerned at this point as my main SPOTY man Andy Murray still had to do the business against David Goffin in Ghent on Sunday afternoon to win the Davis Cup for GB. I need not have worried as Murray completed the job in style, securing his spot just behind long-time favourite Jessica Ennis-Hill in the market.
There was a surprise naming of 12 contenders (rather than the usual 10) on the shortlist – presumably to add Fury and Murray to the original selections that had been decided some weeks ago. There was no room for Jamie Vardy, Wayne Rooney or Joe Root.
A lot of Twitter seemed bogged down with these omissions but I think the list is fair enough on what has been a good year for British sporting achievement. The list included one name in particular that lit up the markets and social media – Kevin Sinfield. I have to confess to knowing little about this chap but I have seen his name mentioned affectionately by the vast throngs of passionate rugby league fans in recent times.
Within a few minutes of the shortlist announcement the Telegraph set up a poll. This started to show Murray well clear of Sinfield in 2nd who was in turn clear of Ennis-Hill in 3rd. I managed to get a bet on Sinfield at 66/1 each way but the bookies were forced to cut the price time and again during the evening. He is now a best priced 25/1.
Meanwhile Murray’s price contracted relentlessly, eventually overtaking Ennis-Hill as the outright favourite, and today he is now a shade odds-on. I’ve seen various other polls on Ladbrokes, the Sun and the Mirror that show excellent support for the Davis Cup hero and for readers of the site this is good news.
I recommended Sinfield last night but with each way places only the first two it is worth a bet to cover him finishing 3rd. Ladbrokes are currently offering 5/1. With some doubts about the wider popularity of Fury, and even Ennis and Hamilton this year, the support behind Sinfield shouldn’t be ignored. It has a similar feel to when Leigh Halfpenny nicked 2nd place on the blindside in 2013.
This year’s SPOTY seems to have captured imagination of punters with plenty of liquidity around on Betfair. Lots of new markets have been added and we’ll keep an eye on them in the next weeks leading up to the 20th.
* 2pts 3rd place Kevin Sinfield 5/1 Ladbrokes