Tag Archives: Andy Murray

recency bias and SPOTY

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The last two SPOTYs have seen the main award collected by two men who produced the sporting goods late in the year, within weeks of the ceremony.

Both Andy Murray and Lewis Hamilton managed to turn over the long time odds-on favourites (Jessica Ennis-Hill and Rory McIlroy) when it was time to vote in December.

So what is the extent of any recency bias when it comes to SPOTY votes?

I thought it might be of some interest to look at all the SPOTY podium finishes since 1980. I split the timing of all the performances linked to those podium places into three – spring (start of the year up until the end of May), summer (June, July, August) and autumn (September onwards).

Sometimes there would be more than one stand-out performance in the year from an individual (for example, Mark Cavendish won the green jersey in the Tour De France in the summer and then the World Championship road race in autumn). In those cases I recorded that as the time of the later performance (it is often the latter one that consolidated and / or established the merit of that contender’s year when it came to votes).

Here’s how it looks for each decade:

podiums

Just over half of the podium finishes were from summer performances, 28% from autumn and 20% from spring. From 1990 onwards, 90% of all podium performances took place after spring.

Since 1980 there were six (Robin Cousins, Torvill and Dean, Nick Faldo, Steve Davis, Ryan Giggs, Tony McCoy) whose spring performances were such that they saw off all challengers over the rest of the year to be crowned winners. This compares with 16 winners from summer and 11 from autumn.

It is worth noting that spring’s podium showings are quite strongly influenced by the popularity of snooker and figure skating in the 1980s (with their major competitions traditionally early in the year). Steve Davis, for example, popped up six times in the decade.

So it does perhaps look difficult, especially from the 1990s, to do well from an early slot, with summer the best and autumn next.

But maybe it’s just that the summer simply has the most events where worthy performances are more likely to take place (and maybe autumn has more than spring). There is certainly some truth in this as summer is full of big occasions, including the Olympics – the biggest of them all.

And maybe the big summer (and autumn) performances would have done just as well in SPOTY terms if they had taken place in spring.

I guess one way to try to imagine the effect of any recency bias might be to think about SPOTY winners and what would have happened if their performances had happened early in the year. I think most would agree that Murray and Hamilton would have received a good deal fewer votes in the last couple of years if their performances hadn’t taken place when very fresh in the memory at the time of voting.

The extent of the effect can never be known for sure. But it’s worth pondering, particularly as Jamie Vardy has now gone clear SPOTY favourite..

 

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.

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!).

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!)