The SPOTY 2020 show is this Sunday evening at 8pm on BBC1. The shortlist of six was announced two weeks ago. As ever most of the social media chat was about who missed out and who’s got or not got a personality etc etc.
Anyway all those on the list seem to have done alright this year so it seems fair enough to me. The key piece of news in the build up to the shortlist being revealed was that Marcus Rashford wouldn’t be included. He will instead be presented with a special award on the night for his work to help children in poverty.
For a long time Rashford was all the rage in the SPOTY markets, backed down to as low as 1.6 to win and lower in the top 3 market. But there was always the likelihood that his sporting achievements during the year wouldn’t be sufficient to make the cut.
Lewis Hamilton is the strong favourite at 2/7 . The good news for followers of the site is that Hamilton was advised in July at 14/1 (12/1 generally available). He equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 F1 titles and went past his grand prix victories tally.
Next is Ronnie O’Sullivan at 13/2 also previously advised, at a lower 5/1, just prior to his world championship win in August. Much of what was discussed previously about Hamilton and O’Sullivan still applies now.
Jordan Henderson (11/1) is a difficult one to gauge. Footballers have struggled to make much of an impression in recent years – Raheem Sterling was out of the top 3 last year and Harry Kane was third in 2018 despite winning the golden boot at the world cup. How well the Liverpool captain polls will depend on how motivated fans are to vote. A first title since 1990 may be enough reason but it’s tricky to tell. Could the news of the passing away of their much-liked manager Gerard Houllier provide an extra push?
Tyson Fury’s (16/1) win over Deontay Wilder in February seems a long time ago. He has also asked to be removed from the shortlist and for his fans not to vote for him. Today on ITV he said his lawyers had written to the BBC insisting he be removed. It seems the BBC are entitled to still run a poll with him in it if they want and have just confirmed he’ll remain in the line-up. He may not be given too much fanfare during the show and plenty made about how next year and a fight with Anthony Joshua is the real test. Fury does have a large passionate fan base though and can’t be ruled out completely. One recent bit of SPOTY form that may be worth noting is that he was beaten to best sporting moment by the England netball team in 2018. When considering boxing’s broad appeal the shock of AJ not making the podium when 1.01 to do so in Mo’s year of 2016 also still lingers.
The main campaign contender at this stage appears the female flat jockey Hollie Doyle (20/1). As is invariably the case with equine sports people they receive strong backing from those in their industry. In a year when voting numbers may be down, a top 3 finish is achievable.
Stuart Broad is the outsider at 200/1. This reflects recent cricket nominations failing to make much of an impression.
Overall it does look as though Hamilton is in a strong position. But it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see him toppled. The make up of the top 3 is a puzzle and not easy to pin down. All in the running have positives. The top three odds for O’Sullivan, Henderson, Doyle and Fury of 3/10, evens, 6/5 and 2/1 respectively reflect this competitiveness.
Given the good position on Hamilton and O’Sullivan it seems sensible to have a small bit of cover on Henderson in particular to win just in case. The campaign for Doyle, and her being the only female, makes a small top 3 bet worth an interest but not with too much confidence. Skybet has some forecast and tricast markets up for those wanting to throw a dart or two.
* 1pt Jordan Henderson 10/1 general
* 0.5pts Hollie Doyle top 3 6/5 Betfair Sportsbook/ Paddy Power
* 0.2pts Henderson-Hamilton-Doyle tricast 28/1 Skybet
The World Sport Star shortlist has also been announced and Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power have a market – details of the contenders can be found in the link. Voting, and likely the market, closes tomorrow (Tuesday 15 December) at midday, with the winner announced before the show. Only one internet vote can be made per person and it’s open to UK residents only. UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov has a huge following. The concern is that the UK-only criteria will be too much of a stumbling block. At the 8/1 available it’s a risk worth taking. LeBron James is the favourite at 11/8 but there may be some doubt about motivation/ ability to vote. Katie Taylor at 11/4 has the potential advantage of a higher proportion of her fans being UK residents and is worth a saver.
* 0.5pts Khabib Nurmagomedov 8/1 Betfair Sportsbook/ Paddy Power
* 0.25pts Katie Taylor 11/4 Betfair Sportsbook/ Paddy Power
I’ll add any further thoughts in the comments between now and Sunday if there are any developments or bits of value of note. Please also feel free to comment on how things may pan out.
The start of this year seemed very different with Dina Asher-Smith and Kane at top of the betting. Here’s a look at some of the lowest prices traded on Betfair in 2020: Rashford 1.6, Fury 1.7, Henderson 6.0, Asher-Smith 9.0, Dettori 12, Kane 12, Johnson-Thompson 18.5.
Let’s see how we go – a Hamilton, O’Sullivan or Henderson win should see a profit. It’s great that we’ve actually got a show to bet on. My guess for fun at the most likely top 3: Hamilton – O’Sullivan – Doyle.