hot list updated – Rory’s year and what it means for SPOTY

Not much to say in many ways. The hot and cold colour coding below speaks for itself!

Rory has been outstanding this summer since his break up from Caroline Wozniacki (he himself says it has helped him focus on his golf and she is also doing well since, having just dumped Maria Sharapova out of the US Open).

No-one deserves to win SPOTY more this year after his two major wins (with the Ryder Cup still to come) – although I am sure he doesn’t care about winning a popularity contest.

On the eve of the USPGA he was actually the same best price to win that tournament (22/1) as he was to win SPOTY. There were some good opportunities to trade on both markets during the tournament but I was bit slow on the uptake eventually getting on a bit late in the day.

I’m sure the winner has been decided but there will still be good opportunities to look for value in the place markets and the without-McIlroy markets which I will update on in the coming months.

Ralph Ellis makes some good points in this Betfair article but in that year Ryan Giggs was up against Jenson Button and I am not convinced that this generation of F1 drivers capture the imagination as they did say twenty years ago. Also a campaign for Jonny Wilkinson may not be as strong as that for Giggs for a couple of reasons, mainly that he has already won the award before in 2003.

Rory McIlroy 1/6

Lewis Hamilton 7/1

Andy Murray 100/1

Jonny Wilkinson 22/1

Jo Pavey 33/1

Gareth Bale 100/1

Carl Froch 50/1

Claudia Fragapane 33/1

 

 

 

hot list updated

A real shake up in the market with Andy Murray and Chris Froome going out in spectacular fashion just as their odds were significantly contracting. It really does seem the award that no-one wants to win.

This has led to Jonny Wilkinson and Carl Frock being well backed.

We covered ourselves on Murray and Froome by laying them for their respective events to come out of it all unscathed. We have Gareth Bale and Mo Farah running for us and their prices have naturally come in a bit.

Wilkinson is the really interesting one and we will have to keep an eye on him. For now we will keep a watching brief but there is still all to play for in this market with Lewis Hamilton still at the head of affairs after a successful British GP.

Lewis Hamilton 13/8 F1 Champion

Gareth Bale 25/1 Won European Cup scoring the winning goal

Jonny Wilkinson 6/1 F1 Retired after a stellar career 

Mo Farah 25/1 Winning gold(s) at the Commonwealth Games

Carl Froch 8/1 Super middleweight Champion

Rory McIlroy 20/1 Win a major and be a key part of a Ryder Cup win

Andy Murray 33/1 US Open Champion

Lizzy Yarnold 25/1 Won Winter Olympic gold medal

selections

* 2 points Mo Farah 40/1 Winner, You Bet (33/1 with a variety of bookies)

* 3 points each way Gareth Bale 33/1 Ladbrokes 1/5 odds 1,2,3

We’re on the brink of a key period in the SPOTY year – Wimbledon second week, the Tour De France and the Commonwealth Games.

We have two selections advised just over three weeks ago in Chris Froome and Andy Murray who are currently strong in the market. They were advised at 7/1 and 14/1 respectively and are now best priced 6/1 and 7/1.

I would go so far as to say that if Murray won Wimbledon again he will win SPOTY again (if memory serves me correctly he went very heavily odds on for SPOTY after winning Wimbledon last year). It is difficult to imagine a performance during the rest of the year that could beat it for popularity. This makes the 7/1 that is still available with Betfred / Totesport very appealing as he is a best priced 3/1 to win Wimbledon. I think Murray should be favourite against anyone he plays during the tournament but of course he will likely have to beat two of the greats (Djokovic and Nadal (or Federer)) along the way which is not entirely straightforward.

While the focus of the SPOTY market is on Murray, I think it is worth our while looking elsewhere in case Murray falters. If this happens the focus on SPOTY will shift to the Commonwealth Games, the two remaining golf majors and the Ryder Cup and back to the F1 Championship (where Lewis Hamilton has lost more ground recently to Nico Rosberg).

Mo

Mo Farah has confirmed he is to run in Glasgow. He would be our most high profile performer (although he would be running for England in Scotland which complicates things a little) and it is worth getting him onside at a big price. I can only see his price getting shorter if he turns up and we can look to potential lay him off to win his events nearer the time if necessary as he will probably be a short price to win them. His price will get significantly shorter if Froome or Murray do not win.

Balo

I can’t resist getting Gareth Bale on board at 33/1 each way. He’s the world’s most expensive footballer currently (which still hasn’t really sunk in). A great player. He, along with Lizzy Yarnold, remain the only contenders to really have achieved anything at this point this year, with Bale scoring the ‘winning’ goal in the Champions League final. The key to this bet is that he must have a very good chance of making the short list of 10 and once there anything can happen. The Welsh are a force to be feared in SPOTY betting (Joe Calzaghe and Leigh Halfpenny are two recent examples) and I can see them really getting behind their man on the day. They may enjoy supporting him as a contrast to the English floundering in the World Cup.

Agree with the above thinking? Think having Mo running for England in Scotland makes things too tricky to back him? Think that everyone will have forgotten about the Champions League final come December? Do feel free to comment on here or Twitter with any opinion you may have on the matter.

 

hot list updated

No major surprise that England are out of the World Cup although maybe a bit earlier than expected. This removes Steven Gerrard from the list once and for all.

Chris Froome and Andy Murray’s odds are coming in all the time. I think Murray is still a good wager at 12s given that he is a best priced 4/1 to win Wimbledon, which I also think is a good price. Murray is arguably the best grass court player in the world, assuming he doesn’t have any major injury concerns. These next few weeks will have a significant impact on the SPOTY market.

If neither Froome or Murray wins their respective events then it opens the way somewhat for Mo Farah to maybe have a say or another, as yet unknown, contender at big prices.

Lewis Hamilton 7/4 F1 Champion

Chris Froome 5/1 Tour de France winner

Andy Murray 12/1 Wimbledon / US Open Champion

Mo Farah 50/1 Winning gold(s) at the Commonwealth Games

Rory McIlroy 20/1 Win a major and be a key part of a Ryder Cup win

Gareth Bale 20/1 Won European Cup scoring the winning goal

Jonny Wilkinson 18/1 Retired after a stellar career

Carl Froch 16/1 Super Middleweight Champion

Lizzy Yarnold 25/1 Won Winter Olympic gold medal

selections

I think the markets are set up quite nicely at the moment for us to strike with two selections.

* 10 points back Chris Froome 7/1 (8.0) Paddy Power

(10 points lay Chris Froome Tour De France winner 1.89 Betfair)

* 5 points back Andy Murray 14/1 (15) Bet365 BetVictor

(5 points lay Andy Murray Wimbledon 4.6 Betfair)

I think Lewis Hamilton is setting up the market with some value at the moment. Even if he wins the F1 title I think he is a vulnerable SPOTY favourite. And I have to discount any England footballers getting too involved in the market barring Owen or Gazza type heroics. Could happen but we have to deal in likelihoods in this game.

So come July time I think it is set up for two old faces to be at the forefront of SPOTY thinking – Froome and Murray.

Murray comes first at Wimbledon defending his title. He’s been without a coach for a while now since Ivan Lendl left. But as I write he has put together a determined run at the French Open. He’ll probably lose to Nadal in the semis tomorrow – Nadal is 65-1 at Roland Garros (one of the great records in the history of sport) but importantly he has shown that he is over his back operation. He has a fantastic record at Wimbledon and I expect him to be very hard to beat there.

Murray is not everyone’s cup of tea but he’s one of my favourite sportspeople to watch. Along with Mo Farah I think he is Britain’s best sportsperson. We all know what will happen to his SPOTY price if he goes well at Wimbledon (SPOTY held in Glasgow this year too). I think he represents good value at 14s. You may wish to consider laying off some of your stake on Betfair where he is 4.4 for Wimbledon at the moment but could well go shorter in the next weeks. Murray also has the US Open later in the year.

If Murray doesn’t win Wimbledon then Froome has the opportunity to take centre stage later in July. The Tour starts in Britain this year so I expect there to be a fair amount of hype. Although I am not sure if Froome has the appeal to actually win SPOTY, I am sure he will trade fairly short straight after winning the Tour – at which time we can look to green our books. The beauty of this bet is that we can trade our stake for a short price in the Tour market.

He’s about evens for the Tour so if we back him for SPOTY and lay him for the Tour then we would need him to go shorter than c. 7/2 for SPOTY on winning the Tour for there to be value (i.e 7/1 for SPOTY % 1.89  for Tour) – I think that is very achievable (might expect him to go into 2/1 or shorter, assuming Murray hasn’t gone very short, which would be fine as we would be on!)

hot list updated

It’s been an quite an interesting couple of weeks with some springers in the market.

Jonny Wilkinson retired. He’s had a fantastic career and is a very honourable and admirable individual. An old-fashioned sportsman in many respects. I’d imagine the market is thinking along the lines of Ryan Giggs winning the award back in 2009. I think, though, it’s safe to rule him out of the reckoning – by December I can’t imagine many remembering him bowing out.

Carl Froch won the rematch against George Groves at Wembley Stadium.

Gareth Bale won the European Cup, or Champions League as the kids like to call it these days. He also had an instrumental part to play, scoring the crucial goal in extra time of the final to put Real Madrid 2-1 up. He’s a genuinely wonderful and captivating footballer.

As it stands, Bale, Froch and Lizzy Yarnold, are essentially (bar Rory McIlroy winning the BMW) the only contenders in the list below to have won anything of real note so far. Bale is widely available at 20/1.

I am struggling to ignore this price I have to say. There are many reasons why I think it is a decent each way bet. First and foremost he has been at the forefront of Real Madrid winning one of the biggest prizes in football.

It is entirely feasible that during the next few months no British sportsperson wins much. Andy Murray could easily, indeed is likely to, come away empty handed this season. Lewis Hamilton may not win the F1 title (although is quite likely too, however, as I will mention in another post at some point, I am not convinced one can be too confident about him having a SPOTY winning profile). And it would be surprising if England did anything at the World Cup. Chris Froome must have a very good chance of winning the Tour for a second successive year (is odds-on now) and Mo Farah should win gold at the Commonwealth Games at the end of July. There is of course room for a left field contender. I can’t see cricket capturing the imagination too much this summer though but possibly it could come from the Ryder Cup or Commonwealth Games.

By December there could easily be no stand out performer, at which point Bale’s credentials will seem attractive. Even at this stage it seems he will be shortlisted (usually 10 are on the shortlist). The Welsh will not be afraid to vote for him either as they have proved time and again with their sons. Steven Gerrard in 2005 had a fairly similar profile and came third. That was the year Liverpool won the European Cup. Gerrard also got bronze in that year’s Ballon d’Or in the weeks before SPOTY.

Please, as always, feel free to comment and discuss anything I have posted and the latest in the SPOTY markets.

Lewis Hamilton 7/4 F1 Champion

Chris Froome 7/1 Tour de France winner

Andy Murray 14/1 Wimbledon / US Open Champion

Rory McIlroy 20/1 Win a major and be a key part of a Ryder Cup win

Gareth Bale 20/1 Won European Cup scoring the winning goal

Steven Gerrard 16/1 Captain England to World Cup final

Jonny Wilkinson 20/1 Retired after a stellar career

Mo Farah 50/1 Winning gold(s) at the Commonwealth Games

Carl Froch 20/1 Super middleweight champion

Lizzy Yarnold 25/1 Won Winter Olympic gold medal

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.

 

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