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!).

selections – Hamilton, Johnson Thompson, Farah

In my previous post I raised some doubts about AP McCoy’s price. I therefore thought it a good time to get some selections on board.

* 2 pts win Lewis Hamilton 7/1 generally available (simultaneous 2pts lay to win F1 title at around 1.38 on Betfair)

Lewis Hamilton won SPOTY last year and if he wins the F1 title again this year, becoming the first British driver to retain it, then he should go close to winning again. He looks to have the beating of Rory McIlroy for one judging on last year’s voting. I’m not sure he will win it but his odds should hopefully shorten at some point over the summer if he builds up a lead in the championship. For example, by May last year he was 7/4 favourite for SPOTY.

At the moment he is heavily odds on to win the F1 title so this means we can lay off our stake in that competition with minimal downside with a good chance of a greater upside if he contracts a fair bit in the SPOTY market.

* 1 pt win Katarina Johnson Thompson 16/1 BetVictor, 14/1 elsewhere

This summer should hopefully see an intriguing battle between old SPOTY favourite, Jessica Ennis, and the young pretender Johnson Thompson. It remains to be seen how quickly Ennis will return to form following having a baby last year, and with Johnson Thompson in fine form with a good chance of heptathlon gold in the Beijing World Athletics Championships in August, I think it is worth backing her for SPOTY at this stage.

* 1 pt win Mo Farah 50/1 Betvictor, 33/1 elsewhere

I seem to have backed Mo for SPOTY every year for as long as I can remember without success. He has though traded at short prices on a couple of occasions, and I think there is a good chance he can trade a lot shorter than the current 50/1. Following his slightly disappointing display in last year’s London Marathon, Mo has got himself back in good form, breaking the European half-marathon record recently, and should be favourite to win at least one of the 5,000m or 10,000m in Beijing.

AP McCoy – a false favourite?

AP McCoy

Immediately after riding his 200th winner of the season on 7 February 2015, AP McCoy announced that he was to retire at the end of the season. He was suddenly installed as clear favourite for SPOTY (best priced 10/3 currently).

It is easy to see why as he won the award in 2010 and finished third in 2013. He is also widely considered a sporting legend as he will have been champion jockey in all 20 of his years as a professional, a feat which may never be repeated.

The problem is I think there is some doubt as to whether he will actually be nominated for the shortlist come November.

These days a panel decides upon the shortlist. A panel that includes some members of the BBC. It could well be the case that he will be pencilled in for the Lifetime Achievement Award. I am not sure simply retiring from the sport, which will happen in April, will be enough of an achievement to warrant being nominated.

In 2010 McCoy won the National – and he may do again – in which case he would probably be on the shortlist and probably win the whole thing again. However, his likely horse is around 8/1 to do so and this may overestimate its chances.

In 2013 McCoy, at the time of the shortlist was announced, had just a few weeks previously ridden his 4,000th winner. This year, I have a feeling, if he doesn’t win the National, that by November, his retirement will be far from most people’s minds with a whole summer of sport, and a new National Hunt season without AP, fresher in the memory.

I wouldn’t be surprised if McCoy was on the shortlist but I think there is enough doubt that I have been laying him in the place market at about evens. I will be looking to do so further as publicity increases around Aintree and his retirement. I will be covering by backing AP in the National. If he doesn’t win the National, I can see his SPOTY price drifting over the summer and the opportunity to lock in some profit.

His price in the outright market may also mean there’s some value elsewhere and in my next post will make some selections.

review of SPOTY 2014


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:


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.

selections – Jo Pavey and Gareth Bale (lay)

 * Jo Pavey 8 points to finish 3rd 13/8 Ladbrokes 6/4 generally

* Gareth Bale 10 points lay without McIlroy 25/1 on Betfair (covering previous advice to back at 33/1)

As discussed in my post yesterday there seems a genuine lack of confidence in Gareth Bale at the moment – he has been drifting quite substantially in the top 3 market (from about 2.66 earlier in the week to 3.6 to back now). This may change on the night if the Welsh vote in numbers.

But at the moment it look prudent to get Pavey on side to cover our position on Bale.

The only other contender I am a bit worried about who could upset the applecart is Charlotte Dujardin,who will have large equestrian support (Zara Phillips won the award previously). So you may want a small saver on her. Also there is a possibility that Pavey could fly into the top 2 somehow – we can keep an eye on this.

In relation to Bale and the previous back to lay advice at 33/1 on 30 October there has been plenty of opportunity to trade out (traded as low as 12 on Betfair). This was certainly worth a bet as if Lewis Hamilton had not done the business in the final race then Bale would have gone favourite and probably odds on in this market. As it is, given the confidence behind Hamilton, I am not sure he has much chance and you should be able to get out, if you haven’t already, at about 22 to 25s. (As I mentioned in my post yesterday the staking for this bet was too high and in reality I don’t think anyone (I didn’t) would have actually staked this high – this should really have been a one or two point selection.)

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 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.

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