Category Archives: Selections

selection – Lewis Hamilton top up

* Lewis Hamilton 1.5 pts each way 7/1 William Hill, 13/2 Bet Victor, Bet365 1/4 1,2,3 (simultaneous 3pt lay on Betfair for F1 title at around 1.09)

I’ve been tempted to think that Jessica Ennis-Hill has SPOTY wrapped up barring some Andy Murray / Rugby World Cup heroics. Her closest challengers at the moment are Chris Froome and Lewis Hamilton, both around the 7/1 mark.

My feeling is that Froome will find it tricky to get on the podium. When he last won the Tour de France in 2013 he finished 6th (37,343 votes) with Mo Farah (who also won the 5k and 10k double at the Worlds that year) one of those above in 4th (51,945). Froome’s and Mo’s popularity may arguably have gone in different directions since but I’m not sure by how much and whether it would be enough to reverse those placings.

The cycling mob are often talked about as having a strong influence in SPOTY. It certainly seems to be the case with Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins having lifted the award in recent years. But these guys have a certain charisma and presence in the media whereas Froome (probably to his liking) doesn’t seem likely to be given so much air time or column inches in the SPOTY build-up. Cav and Wiggo also did more in their years than just their Tour achievements, having won the World Championships and Olympic Gold respectively.

I think Jess is all but guaranteed a spot on the podium with the two other spaces up for grabs. Although it looks like one of them may be sewn up too..

Looking at the historical voting figures it is quite striking how well Lewis has fared:

2007 (2nd in F1 championship) 2nd 122,649 (Calzaghe first with 177,748)
2008 (won F1 championship) 2nd 163,864 (Hoy first with 283,630)
2014 (won F1 championship) 1st 209,920

Between 2008 and 2014, incidentally, Lewis finished no better than 4th in the F1 championship. So it appears that whenever Hamilton has done something in the title race he has received a lot of votes. He’s 1.09 to win the F1 title at the moment.

The number of votes scored by the SPOTY 3rd place the last eight years has been: 99,913; 57,864; 230,444; 29,780; 62,953; 80,469; 145,924; 85,280. That’s an average of 99,077 votes. A case can be made for taking out the London Olympics inspired 2012 figure as an outlier (and even the other Olympic year of 2008 – a lot more votes are received in Olympic years) which would make the average 80,310 (69,374).

Based on these numbers it seems well worth a Hamilton each-way wager. It provides some cover in case he can overhaul Jess with hopefully a very good chance of making a small profit when placing. One negative is that no-one has won SPOTY back-to-back but this seems more to do with no-one having put together two similarly excellent performances in consecutive years.

selection – rugby winning sport

* 1 pt rugby winning sport 16/1 Coral

It’s quite hard to see Jessica Ennis-HIll being overturned after winning heptathlon gold (now around 7/4).

There are though two events left that may still have a say. One is the Davis Cup, for which Britain are currently trading as favourites (around 7/4). The other is the Rugby World Cup.

Northern hemisphere teams are going to find it difficult to beat the southern hemisphere teams and New Zealand are the clear favourites (around 7/5). England are next at 5/1. If they were to win it or even go close, there could be a player who captures the public imagination particularly as the tournament is in England. There is also the possibility that a Welsh or Scottish player (or Northern Irish) does similar.

It is tricky to know who the player would be though so the 16/1 with Coral for it to be any rugby player who wins SPOTY is quite attractive. We are in a good position at the moment with Jess, and also have Murray on side, so it seems sensible just to have a saver on this just in case something was to happen in the RWC.

selection – Mo Farah top up and lay bets

* 1 pt each way Mo Farah 22/1 1/4 1,2,3 William Hill, 20/1 elsewhere

5 pts lay in 5,000m around 1.37 Betfair

Mo has qualified for the final of the 5,000m on Saturday and there has been plenty of money traded on Betfair at around the 1.35-1.38 mark for him to win.

For SPOTY he’s around 20s to 25s. Mo is going for an unprecedented three-times 5k and 10k double. He seems very much under-appreciated and even if he wins on Saturday I still have doubts about whether that would be enough to get him on the SPOTY podium given his previous record.

Mo has previous been advised at 50/1 (win only) and 80/1 (each way) and being so short to win the 5,000m I think it’s worth another top up just to see what happens to his price in the place market if he wins. It won’t hurt much to find out with a simultaneous lay at around 1.37 to get most of our SPOTY stakes back on him through the year.

In the SPOTY place market he last traded at 4.8 so hopefully (I’m not quite sure but interested to find out) he would go a good bit lower than that if he won his second gold (going one above Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford). (Being on at 80/1 and 22/1 means we effectively have 21.0 and 6.5 (in decimal odds) to place.) We can then look to trade our position accordingly.

Jessica Ennis-Hill top up

  • 1 pt each way Jessica Ennis-Hill 4/1 Ladbrokes 1/5 1,2,3  7/2 1/4 1,2,3 elsewhere

Jess is around 1.02 on Betfair to win the World Athletics Championships heptathlon this lunchtime. Her previous form in SPOTY when winning gold at a major championships is excellent, having been third twice and second once.

This year is even more impressive in that she has made her comeback after giving birth to Reggie last year. With recent emphasis on women in sport she must attract a load of votes on the big night in December. It’s difficult to see her out of the top three and an each way bet at these prices looks sensible. She may shorten further later on when clinching gold.

At such short prices for the heptathlon punters may consider laying off their Jess SPOTY liabilities just in case disaster was to strike in the 800m finale.

selection – Mo Farah lay

* 2.5 points lay 1.5 Betfair

Mo lines up today for the 10,000m at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing at is currently trading at 1.44 to lay.

We’re on at 80/1 each way in the hope he’ll trade shorter. Given the short price today it’s worth a trade to get back the SPOTY stake and a little extra in case he doesn’t win today.

selection – Mo Farah (back to lay)

* 1 pt each way Mo Farah 80/1 Paddy Power, 66/1 general 1/4 1,2,3

Mo seems to have been part of my SPOTY portfolio for years. It hasn’t always been pretty with him narrowly missing the podium on two occasions.

Athletics appears in some turmoil with drugs allegations rife and Mo is very much caught up in it all. The effect on how popular athletes will be at SPOTY remains to be seen but the doubts over credibility must be damaging.

That said, everyone has their price. In the last three years of Worlds, Olympics, Worlds, Mo has finished 4, 4, 3 in SPOTY (while also trading low in running and on all occasions expected to make the podium). So the 20/1 available to finish in the top 3 seems too big to ignore. It provides plenty of scope to lay Mo for his individual events of 5,000m and 10,000m at the Worlds later this month (should be a fairly short price for both if he gets there fit and well) as well as laying off for the SPOTY podium for profit should he win one or preferably both (in which case he’d hopefully go odds on for top 3).

another Andy Murray selection

  • 1pt each way Murray 14/1 Paddy Power, Betway 12/1 William Hill (1/4 odds 1,2,3)

It’s shaping up into an intriguing SPOTY market this year with doubts lingering about all of the market leaders.

Chris Froome and Lewis Hamilton are vying for favouritism with Froome having just been confirmed to have a crack at becoming only the 10th rider to win two grand tours in the same season by competing in the Vuelta. Hamilton is still odds on to win the F1 championship.

There still appears the possibility that there could be a springer from the pack. The World Athletics Championships at the end of August and the Rugby World Cup starting in September are the two main events that could shake up the market.

There is though one event in particular that could mean Andy Murray still has a say – the Davis Cup (he’s also second favourite for the US Open). GB beat France in the quarters and are 7/4 favourites to win the cup going into the semis where they play Australia next month. Murray dragged Britain through against France and is by far the best player left in the tournament. GB have home advantage in the semis and would do in the final too if it is Argentina that get through (away to Belgium otherwise).

In other countries the Davis Cup is revered and I think there is the possibility of the hype machine being cranked up if GB reached the final which would be in November live on BBC – a win would be Britain’s first since 1936. A home tie would be ideal (with Union Flags flying) as I think the pull on SPOTY voters would be diminished if it was in Belgium.

I think now is the time to play as the bookies and punters still consider the impacts of Stuart Broad and Joe Root on the market after England secured the Ashes at the weekend. We can see how the Davis Cup market moves in the coming weeks before potentially laying off to protect our stake.

Incidentally out of Broad and Root it may be that only one of them makes the shortlist and I would say that Root is most likely (probably man of the series depending on what happens at the Oval). He is one to watch in the market.

selection – Andy Murray top up

* 2pts win Murray 9/1 Betway, Sky Bet, Bet Victor, Betfair Sportsbook, Winner

2pts lay Murray Wimbledon 3/1 (4.0) Betfair Exchange

After winning Queen’s, Andy Murray’s Wimbledon price is now 3/1 on Betfair, (shortening from around 7/2 earlier in the week). For SPOTY he’s now best odds 9/1 (from 10/1).

I think it’s worth topping up on the current interest on Murray, hedging on Betfair for a zero position if he doesn’t win Wimbledon. I’d anticipate he’d go odds on for SPOTY if he did and he’s got a good chance to do so.

selection – Andy Murray

* 0.5pt win Andy Murray 16/1 Boylesports, Bet Victor

On value grounds, given Murray is a best priced 4/1 and 6/1 for Wimbledon and the US Open respectively, I felt he was worth a small saver. Murray seems to be slowly but surely getting himself into some good form. But there is always the mighty Novak Djokovic to beat. Nole has become the first man ever to win the first three Masters of the year and there is growing talk of him being in with a genuine chance of winning all four majors in the same year.

Recently, in Melbourne and Miami, Murray has been able to compete with Djokovic for long periods, before falling away dramatically towards the end. He has also shown increasingly good form against lower ranked players. He could easily put in a shocking performance and lose at anytime but at 16s I think it is a price that is worth playing on the off-chance he goes far at Wimbledon in particular (who knows, maybe just somehow Nole could get knocked out early!).