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SPORTS BETTING INDEX was founded in 2000 to help punters with all aspects of internet betting as the phenomenon of online gambling took off.
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Newsletter 12

I have a love/hate relationship with betting on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award (SPOTY) mainly because it is such an emotive thing to bet on. Every year there are cries that it is a joke and an anachronism but it still carries on and people like myself who moan about the winner usually turn up at some point in the following twelve months with some ideas as to who is going to win the next renewal! It is such an interesting subject matter – who will sway the great British public enough that they will vote for someone and I must admit I have struggled a bit since tipping Zara Phillips at 66/1 in 2006 but below are my thoughts on the main protagonists as we stand at the moment.

Jessica Ennis – the golden girl of British athletics and the current SPOTY favourite. She is around Even money to take Olympic gold in the heptathlon and if she does she will be the one they have to beat. However anything can go wrong in the seven events and Chernova beat her last year – certainly not worth the risk at around 3/1.

Mo Farah – possibly one of the best long distance runners this country has produced although he was born in Somalia. I don't think he can win unless he wins both golds at the 5k and 10k which I guess is around an 8/1 chance at least so the 10/1 represents very little value.

Rebecca Adlington – even having won double gold at the 2008 Olympics she was beaten by Chris Hoy and Lewis Hamilton despite being a short priced favourite and it is easy to see something very similar happening again.

Andy Murray – is now out to 12/1 for Wimbledon and that realistically is his only chance of winning SPOTY – even then I have my doubts as he is not exactly Mr Popular and never comes over that well to me which is crucial to winning this.

Ben Ainslie – has been well backed and would certainly be well deserving of the award. Were he to win this Summer it would be his fourth Olympic Gold in his fifth Olympics, he won silver at his first attempt which is an incredible achievement. However I have a big question in my mind - is the sailing fraternity big enough to carry him over the line? I have my doubts

England Football Players – first of all England would have to win Euro 2012 for which they are 9/1 at the moment. Then the question is which player? If a few are nominated then the vote will be split plus they won't be getting any votes from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – whatever happens I just don't buy it.

Paula Radcliffe – at the beginning of the year she was someone I wanted onside but she has shown precious little this year and maybe age is catching up with her. If she were to win marathon gold then she would have a huge chance but on a warm day in London at the moment she would struggle to finish let alone win.

Cyclists – this is my grey area and the weak link in my armour and has caught me out in recent years. There are a whole host of potential candidates - Wiggins, Hoy, Pendleton, Cavendish etc and I really am unsure as to what to make of them as a group.

Golfers – we saw in the past few years that lots of great performances actually hindered their performance overall in SPOTY and one player would have to win the Open and perform heroically at the Ryder Cup to stand a chance.

Tom Daley - at the moment he is the one person who has a lot going for him and who I think represents a touch of value. He is currently around 5/2 to win individual gold at the Olympics and is one of those sports where one false move can mean failure. He won the young SPOTY award three years running from 2008-10 (not a public vote) and has twice been nominated for the main award. In 2009 he was little known but had won the World Championships aged 16 and with 36,000 votes finished 6th. In 2010 he again finished 6th with 56,000 votes having won double Commonwealth gold. If he wins Olympic gold all the stories surrounding him and his coping with the death of his father will be headline news. He is the housewifes pinup and favourite and will be popular amongst the young female texting public. If he is really 5/2 to win gold then 25/33 e/w represents some value as I think he will be odds on the place top three with an Olympic gold round his neck.
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