Category Archives: Summary

early thoughts on SPOTY 2016

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Not since Damon Hill in 1996 has SPOTY (in an Olympic year) gone to someone who had not competed at the Games. Barring maybe an England win at the Euros, the Olympics looks the place to find this year’s winner too.

London 2012 was spectacularly successful for Great Britain (29 golds, 17 silvers, 19 bronzes). Such a performance is unlikely to be repeated this time round (no hosting country has ever improved their tally at the following Games) but there will still be plenty challenging for gold in Rio.

I’m not entirely sure how accurate the predictions of the Infostrada model for the Olympic medal table are, but at the very least it provides an interesting starting point. Clicking on GB shows the individuals predicted to win what.

The cyclists of course cannot be ignored, but the more I’ve looked, the more I’ve found it tricky to guess who the public will latch on to this year. There are so many to consider – Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Laura Trott, Jason Kenny, Lizzie Armitstead and Mark Cavendish, to name a few.

Trott had a great world track cycling championships in March and should win gold in the omnium in the Rio velodrome (also has a chance in the team pursuit). She has been quite well fancied in the (limited) early SPOTY market skirmishes – now a best priced 25/1. Her boyfriend Kenny could also win gold in the sprint which would make a good story for the media. Trott is a superb track cyclist, still only 23 with a stellar career to come. It’s worth bearing in mind that Trott won two golds in London and did not even make the shortlist (she was a relative unknown then).

It could be that there are a number of cyclists who win a single gold medal. How will the shortlist panel decide between them, let alone the public? Perhaps a second medal will be required, perhaps even a second gold. Trott (although having to rely on her less talented pursuit teammates) and Froome look best placed to provide such an opportunity.

Froome is going for the time trial (for which he would start favourite, or close to favourite with the German specialist Tony Martin) and the road race which will suit the Grand Tour general classification riders like him (and his long time rivals Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana). Froome could also win the Tour De France again and/ or one of the other Grand Tours adding further depth to his credentials.

Ultimately though Froome, to my mind, remains difficult to envisage as a SPOTY winner and two 6th place finishes (both times after winning the Tour) suggest he may struggle to haul in the masses of votes that will be required.

From a different angle, another to consider is previous SPOTY champ Wiggins. He’s only going for the team pursuit in his final Olympics so one gold would be his maximum return. Any medal though will take him to eight all-time at the Olympics – overtaking Sir Chris Hoy as the most by any Briton (he would still be behind Hoy’s six golds). This could be quite big news and historically that sort of most-career-medals factor has been popular with voters – Hoy and Sir Steven Redgrave winning recently on the back of it. Wiggo has won the thing already though and maybe another cyclist could outperform him in Rio, both potentially dampening support.

The historical medal angle is worth touching on again in relation to Trott. No British woman has won three Olympic gold medals yet over their career. Trott has every chance of making it to three.

While GB’s cycling talent remains strong there have been improvements since 2012 in Britain’s swimming and gymnastics teams.

Adam Peaty is the world record holder in the 100m breaststroke and is the main hope in the pool in Rio. He has to be respected and could easily become a household name this summer. Britain should improve on the London tally of one silver and two bronzes.

The gym should also provide plenty of interest for the media. Britain have never won an Olympic gymnastics gold medal. In Max Whitlock they have a man who could change all that. Last year at the world championships Whitlock won gold (the first by a British man at the competition) on the pommel horse and he is confident of being able to do the same in Rio. This would be something of a revelation. Not only that, he is part of a GB team that have been improving in the team event.

Viewing figures for the world championships were very good and, all going well, I can see gymnastics capturing the public’s imagination. Britain also have returning Olympic medallist Louis Smith, who should be in contention, as well as 2014 Young SPOTY winner Claudia Fragapane.

Whitlock has made the shortlist the last two years, last year polling 25,925 (Jessica Ennis-Hill polled 79,898 in 3rd). He’s on an upward curve and that elusive British gold could see him leap up onto the SPOTY podium. I think he’s worth a bet at 66/1, 50/1 generally, in case that happens (Coral also have gymnastics as the winning sport at 33/1 which also looks fair).

My other main bet at this stage is Charlotte Dujardin in equestrian. Dujardin already has a strong SPOTY pedigree finishing fourth in 2014 with 75,814 votes. This year she will be favourite for gold in Rio in the dressage with her wonderful horse Valegro. She will also have a chance in the team event (although Germany will provide stiff competition). Two golds would complete a double-double (won two golds in 2012) and likely take Dujardin  clear with most golds of any female British Olympian. She’s currently generally available at 100/1.

* 0.75 pts each way (1,2,3 1/5) Max Whitlock 66/1 Sportingbet; 50/1 Coral, Bet 365, Bet Victor 

* 0.5 pts each way (1,2,3 1/5) Charlotte Dujardin 100/1 Coral, Ladbrokes, Bet Victor, Winner

 

 

SPOTY 2015 review

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Andy Murray was a deserving winner and landed a spotybet gamble having been advised at 16s, 14s and 9s at various points throughout the year.

The final voting figures were:

Andy Murray 361,446 votes
Kevin Sinfield 278,353
Jessica Ennis-Hill 79,898
Tyson Fury 72,330
Lewis Hamilton 48,379
Chris Froome 39,007
Mo Farah 31,311
Max Whitlock 25,925
Greg Rutherford 23,492
Lizzie Armitstead 22,356
Adam Peaty 13,738
Lucy Bronze 13,236

The figures show Kevin Sinfield had huge support – 278,353 would have been enough to win it last year. He landed a big 66/1 each way payout at a third of the odds for 2nd.

Tyson Fury had a good edit in the show and nearly toppled Jess for 3rd.

In my preview earlier it looks as though I predicted (guessed!) the 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 – I got Lucy a bit wrong though!

It’s been a very profitable year and I hope readers managed to make a good few pounds. I’ll tally up and post the 2015 total P&L figures soon. Hopefully 2016 will provide plenty of opportunities too.

 

SPOTY 2015 show preview

Jessica Ennis-Hill 1.58, Lewis Hamilton 3.0, AP McCoy 3.5, Chris Froome 4.0, Mo Farah 7.8

Those are the lowest prices that these contenders have traded at during the year and with Andy Murray and Jess having been decent odds for long periods it has been a good year for trading. AP McCoy in particular seemed a very short price. He always appeared more likely to pick up the Lifetime Achievement award and will do so later on tonight.

The big talking point since the shortlist was announced three weeks ago has been the inclusion of Tyson Fury. His controversial views have been click-bait for much of the media and the petition for the BBC to remove him has matched the ‘no airstrikes in Syria’ petition for popularity.

How he’ll fare tonight seems a bit tricky to call. Maybe some parts of the population will be more motivated to vote for him than if he hadn’t received such publicity. That said, he remains someone who most people are relatively unfamiliar with and certainly doesn’t have the wide-ranging popularity of Muzz and Jess.

Normally on the day of SPOTY there is a poll that appears in the Sunday Times. This has been pretty accurate but alas there was no sign of it today. Other polls, in particular the Telegraph’s (which was accurate last year), have shown Murray well ahead. It all looks set up for him to collect the award (now trading at around 1.65) and he will be in Belfast tonight rather than his training camp in Miami where he is usually based at this time of year.

On the night it’s easy to imagine Muzza’s VT being the most impressive, with his lob shot on match point to clinch the Davis Cup final a standout single moment for British sports stars in 2015.

I get the feeling Jess’s achievements (winning gold in the heptathlon at the Worlds) this year have not really registered with the public. Athletics is at a low ebb. But Jess is very popular (with three SPOTY places previously) and her comeback to win after giving birth to Reggie last year should see an automatic boost to votes – particularly if, as expected, that angle is played up in the coverage tonight.

Rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield is subject of a social media campaign to win the award and has to be respected with such support.

Anyone following the advice on this site is in a strong position with all of Murray, Ennis-Hill and Sinfield covered at big prices. Hamilton is also covered (at shorter prices) and the petrol head support cannot be entirely discounted.

Most of the value in the markets has been snapped up already but for fun my guess for the 1-12 is:

  1. Murray
  2. Sinfield
  3. Ennis
  4. Fury
  5. Hamilton
  6. Froome
  7. Farah
  8. Bronze
  9. Rutherford
  10. Whitlock
  11. Armitstead
  12. Peaty

Team of the year has Britain’s Davis Cup team as 1/12 favourites. That seems very short given that Murray almost singlehandedly was responsible. The BBC may want to spread the love a bit more and select a different sport for the trophy. I’ve backed the women’s football team, Leeds Rhinos and the men’s gymnastics team as alternatives.

Dan Carter will pick up the Overseas award (advised on the site at 3/1). The Coach (which could also be Davis Cup related with Leon Smith in contention), Young SPOTY, Unsung and Helen Rollason awards will also be presented.

I’ve personally put a little cash on Fury just in case and some savers to balance the spotybet books may be sensible as it is a bit unpredictable how far he could go:

* 0.5 pt win Tyson Fury 18/1 Coral

* 0.5 pt Fury 2nd place 9/1 Winner, Titan 7/1 Ladbrokes

* 0.5 pts Murray-Fury forecast around 12.0 on Betfair 10/1 Skybet

* 1.5 pts Fury 3rd place 5/1 Winner, Titan 7/2 Ladbrokes

The full list of the year’s selections can be found here.

Overall, the ideal finishing position for me would be Murray-Sinfield-Hamilton. Not long to go now and best of luck if having a bet.

Murray in control with Sinfield a livewire

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

 

 

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.

review of SPOTY 2014

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Winner Lewis Hamilton 209,920 votes

2nd Rory McIlroy 123,745

3rd Jo Pavey 99,913

“Absolutely ridiculous that @McIlroyRory has not won Sports Personality 2014. Huge respect to @LewisHamilton but come on.” Ian Poulter

“@BBCSPOTY has turned into a complete joke. It’s such a great shame. Huge congrats to @LewisHamilton, but he had 1 person to beat all year.” Ian Poulter

“Technology of the year goes to the silver and red dodgem!!! Just have to win all 4 next year @McIlroyRory!” Lee Westwood

Ah SPOTY. It’s become a bit of a laughing stock really. A sign of the times and the general public’s love of the celebrity. How I long for the old fashioned Sports Review of the Year as it used to be. Still, at least there’s some interesting markets! And last night certainly provided a shock to thousands of punters willing to back Rory all the way down to 1.10 in running.

The signs had been there ever since the shortlist was announced three weeks ago that Lewis was in with a decent shout. As mentioned in my previous post, the polls gave him a significant lead. Probably most telling of all was The Sunday Times YouGov poll published yesterday which had Lewis as the clear winner.

The market was beginning to react and Rory drifted out to around 1.75 around the time the show started. But then he shortened significantly on the back of his impressive VT in the show. This was interesting as there was still no way of knowing at this point for sure how popular he would be as no official votes had been cast (there was a flash vote with only around a 45 minute window).

I was happy enough with my green positions on both the main contenders but tipped the balance slightly more towards Lewis just before the off. I wish I’d trusted the polls a bit more though and gone in a bit harder. There now seems a rule of SPOTY to adhere to: essentially lay any major winning golfer.

I had lost confidence in my Bale selection in the week leading up to the big night and was pleased to see my more recent selection of Pavey sneak onto the podium at 13/8. I also tipped the 1-2-3 on the site at 5/1 so hope a few of you got on that, although I only had a fiver on myself.

Through the year I made some good calls and bad calls but in my first year of the blog (started in May) I was satisfied with a profit of + 7 points at a return of 29% on points risked (11% on total points staked) – please see BETTING RESULTS 2014 page. The aim of the blog is to provide a nice little profit in time for Christmas at say around £25-£50 a point. As I mentioned in an earlier post my staking for some of the larger priced selections was a bit unrealistic (it didn’t really make too much difference to the stats this time) so I will take that on board for next year as I want the prices to be achievable. I also hope the blog gives readers some good trading angles and ideas beyond the strict selections.

Thanks to those who have read the blog – Steven Gerrard trading at 1.74 seems a lifetime ago! Have a great Christmas and I’ll be back in 2015 to do it all again..

the big night

So the big night has finally arrived and picking the winner is a bit tricky. In my opinion Rory McIlroy’s achievements are phenomenal and he should win it.

But pretty much all polls I’ve seen, including the YouGov poll published today by The Sunday Times, show Lewis Hamilton ahead:

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I’m not really going to get too involved during the night but here is my guess for the finishing positions:

1) Hamilton
2) McIlroy
3) Pavey
4) Bale
5) Dujardin
6) Froch
7) Yarnold
8) Gallagher
9) Whitlock
10) Peaty

If looking for a bet the trio of Hamilton, McIlroy and Pavey at about 6 on Betfair should give you a good run.

I’ll be back in the week with a review once the voting figures are out.

Good luck everyone.

markets and polls

winner market

With three days to go the Betfair markets are becoming more liquid and firming up. There hasn’t been too much by way of polls to refer to this year but there are a couple of potential indicators that I’ve noticed.

The Guardian poll has probably been the most high profile but I could not see how many voted in it. It was open for a good few days so probably a fair number. This shows Lewis Hamilton with  42%, Rory McIlroy with 34% and then Jo Pavey with 11%. Gareth Bale is in with the pack on 3%. There are a few other polls dotted around the internet which also show a two horse race. Most of these seem to show the F1 champ ahead. Of particular interest I thought, on the night of the shortlist being announced, was the number of ‘retweets’ and ‘favorites’ for the tweets from the BBC SPOTY for each contender as they were announced. This showed Hamilton far ahead.

There was probably a strong recency bias here in that the shortlist was announced the day after the F1 title was decided. The question is how much will this bias wear off, if at all. Rory has slowly drifted out to around 1.6 and is now back in again at about 1.53 but support for Hamilton is very strong (3.1) and this is supported by polls. There may also be a YouGov poll to come at the weekend which I will update on.

I’m probably happy enough to leave my current position at the moment, until any further information comes to light.

SPOTY winner market

top 3 market

Back on 29 June 2014 I advised a 3 points each-way bet on Gareth Bale at 33/1, a fifth of the odds for top 3.  Effectively (assuming he doesn’t win and we lose that part of the stake) if he placed it would lead to a 16.8 points profit. There has been plenty of trading opportunity since the shortlist was announced and I have been slowly laying Bale at around 2.66 to green up my book. I was banking on the Welsh vote but there has been a general lack of support for Bale in social media and perhaps tellingly in Wales’s own SPOTY awards he did not even make the top 3.

A real danger I think is Jo Pavey who I have been slowly backing  to even up the green top 3 book. She is currently a best priced 13/10 top 3. I’ve noticed quite some support on social media for her and in the polls. Athletes have a fantastic record in SPOTY too. I’ll most likely be advising a play on Pavey before the show, possibly to finish third, depending on prices, to balance our book for what should be a profit. Two sound judges, Ralph Ellis and Joe Dyer at betting.betfair.com make a good case for her here and here.

Incidentally a word on my staking for my last selection which was Bale in the without McIlroy market – 8 points at 33/1. On reflection I should have advised a smaller stake of one or two points for such a big price for practical reasons of getting on. There has been plenty of opportunity to trade out for a profit on this selection though – has been around the 17 mark on Betfair for a week or so but I will likely make an official selection to balance the books on this bet. As we approach Sunday I’ll be providing further news and updates and will let you know of any selections. It looks like Pavey is the one to watch.

my year so far

Although not much has really happened, and there is a long way to go, I have managed to get a decent trade in.

At the start of the year I am always looking to get a large priced contender on side away from those at the head of the market who tend to be too short based on their actual chances.

Essentially that is the key to successful betting – consistently backing that whose chances of winning are greater than their odds imply. If you can consistently back say 5/1 shots who really should be 4/1 shots, you will have a significant edge in the long run and make profits. Finding that edge is the key.. and with a bit of planning (and luck) can be done.

In SPOTY betting (as with all betting really) it’s important to get on before the masses clock on to a lively contender. So at the start of the year looking at the sporting calendar and picking out those who are likely to excel is a good place to start. In this respect I had Mo Farah (who has seemed a mainstay of my SPOTY portfolios for a while now) and, a few weeks into the year, Ronnie O’ Sullivan on board.

Gerrard bets

Around February and March Liverpool were extremely impressive and, on thinking there was a good chance they could win the title, I got stuck into Steven Gerrard. I started backing him at 25s, through 16s, 5s and down to 7/2. In the end I had £88 pounds on to win £1,200.

The key to a good SPOTY bet is your assessment of what you think that person’s odds will come into if they win the main competition that they are in. I was very confident, with all the publicity that Gerrard would get and the large number of Liverpool fans, that if Liverpool won the Premier League then Gerrard would be pretty likely to win SPOTY. At worst I thought he would go evens money for SPOTY maybe shorter on Liverpool winning.

To provide some security and reduce risk I covered my self by simultaneously laying Liverpool for the title – if Liverpool didn’t win it then I did not see Gerrard winning SPOTY (unless England did v well in the World Cup).

Some examples of the differentials in price:

30 March 2014: Gerrard was available at 16/1, Liverpool were available to lay at 2.96 or 2/1 on Betfair.

13 April 2014: Gerrard was available at 7/2, Liverpool around 1.83 or 5/6 to lay.

Given that I had a strong feeling that Gerrard would be evens or shorter for SPOTY if Liverpool won the league then I was satisfied I had a significant edge here. (There was a slight risk that Gerrard could get injured and miss some matches and be less likely to win SPOTY. As it was though, I thought it would take something very special to deny him SPOTY after him lifting the trophy, 20 years on from the Hillsborough disaster.)

So, for example, on 30 March and 13 April I could fairly safely back Gerrard and lay Liverpool without eating much into profit. In fact the edge was so significant here that I layed Liverpool to make a profit either way. I also did similar in the Gerrard SPOTY top three market. My thinking being it would likely be all or nothing for Gerrard – either win SPOTY if Liverpool won the league or not even be nominated if they didn’t.

While my punts didn’t work on Ronnie and Mo, with Stevie I am now in a profitable position by trading  accordingly. Hopefully there will be some similar situations to come this year that we can exploit when they appear.

As ever, please feel free to comment or flag up any potential interesting markets situations.

 

2014 the story so far..

Normally an even numbered year would see the English footballers featuring fairly prominently in the SPOTY betting markets. The last couple of years though has seen a long overdue sense of realism take over about the prospects of the home grown players.

So, at the start of the year, it was left to last year’s landslide winner Andy Murray to head the market at about 5.0. Chris Froome, the impressive 2013 Tour De France winner, was second favourite. Other than that though, the markets suggested that people could not really think of anyone else. And the market leaders would always be vulnerable once the year got underway and British sportspeople started putting top performances in the book.

Lizzy Yarnold was first up in February, winning gold in Russia. She traded as short as 4.2 on Betfair.

She was then followed by ..  well we’re still waiting really. But that’s not to say there hasn’t been plenty of activity in the SPOTY markets..

Mo Farah was originally priced up as the favourite for the London marathon in places before the market corrected. Mo eventually finished in 8th and any prospect of him being SPOTY appeared to vanish.

Last weekend Ronnie O’Sullivan gave up a healthy lead in the world snooker final to foil another SPOTY gamble (traded as big as 500 into 8.4 on Betfair).

By far the biggest story of this SPOTY year so far though has been Steven Gerrard. He was heavily backed into as short as 1.74 (from a high of 150) on the back of Liverpool’s ten game winning streak that took them to within touching distance of their first English title since 1990. The dream now appears to be over and Gerrard has drifted off again as quickly as he came.

Gerrard

The consistent Lewis Hamilton is the solid favourite having got off to a very good start in his shiny fast new F1 car.

The above illustrates just how so much can happen, yet nothing much at all. And how, to my mind, it is one of the most interesting betting markets, providing entertainment and many varied trading opportunities.

Here I aim to dissect and report on the market throughout the year, as well as the different sports and events that shape it. At the same time building up a profitable portfolio trading in the SPOTY market itself and in the sports markets involving the (perceived) potential protagonists.