Tag Archives: Lewis Hamilton

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..

 

Hamilton a big price at 9/2 ‘without Jessica Ennis-Hill’

* 1.5 pts each way Lewis Hamilton without Jessica Ennis-Hill 9/2 (1/5 odds 1,2,3) with Coral

Those following the site are in good positions with Jessica Ennis-Hill advised at around 14/1 (now odds on), Andy Murray at various prices from 9/1 to 16/1 (now 8/1) and Mo Farah 22/1 to 80/1 (now generally 12/1). Hamilton is a danger and although he may have a bit to do to win for a second successive year, he looks likely to place.

I’ve written previously here about the high number of SPOTY votes the F1 driver has polled historically and, with Murray not definite to get the Davis Cup win required and doubts about the popularity of Chris Froome, the 9/2 each way without Ennis appears particularly generous. Essentially it means a bet to nothing if Hamilton finishes in the SPOTY first four for which he would be a short price to do so and a shot at collecting at 9/2 if he wins SPOTY or finishes second to Ennis.

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.

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.

shortlist announced

The shortlist from which the winner of SPOTY 2014 will come from was announced this evening. Probably the main surprise was that Jonny Wilkinson was omitted from the list. Here it is in order of bookies’ odds with the best current price shown:

Rory McIlroy (golf) 1/4

Lewis Hamilton (F1) 7/2

Jo Pavey (athletics) 50/1

Gareth Bale (football) 66/1

Lizzie Yarnold (skeleton) 200/1

Charlotte Dujardin (equestrian) 200/1

Max Whitlock (gymnastics) 250/1

Carl Froch (boxing) 250/1

Adam Peaty (swimming) 250/1

Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans (skiing) 300/1

It looks a two horse race at the moment. Hopefully our selection Bale has a good chance of 3rd place – it looks to be between him and Pavey for that. There is of course potential for shocks in this market as has been known on many an occasion.

Once things have settled down and the markets become more liquid on Betfair I’ll update on any potential plays. Social media and polls can be quite interesting as we build up to Sunday 14 December 2014.