The 10 finalists for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year have been announced but bookmakers are already treating the contest, decided by a public vote on the night, as a one-horse race.
Andy Murray dominated the headlines, despite another year of considerable achievement by British sportsmen and women. Becoming the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title for 77 years elevated the Scot to legendary status and you aren’t going to get rich backing him to win SPOTY at a best 1/19 with Unibet and 888sport. Also a finalist in Melbourne at the start of the year, he will become the first tennis player since Greg Rusedski in 1997 to land the prestigious trophy if successful – and few people think he won’t be. Indeed, there is even talk that Murray will single-handedly collect more votes than the rest of the nominees together but that would be disrespectful to others who have excelled in their field. You can, however, get 10/1 against any other unnamed sportsmen pipping Murray to the title with Coral.
Many bookmakers have formed a market without Murray and Mo Farah is fancied to finish as runner-up ( a best 13/16 on betfair). The double Olympic champion repeated his 5000m/10000m double at the World Championships in Moscow this year but didn’t even make the top three last year, despite his London heroics. Chris Froome became the second Briton in a row to win the Tour de France in July and is 4/1 with Paddy Power to finish runner-up to Murray. But the Team Sky rider is not one to put himself in the limelight and cycling may have to take a back seat this year after all the votes for Sir Bradley Wiggins over the last two years. Sir Ben Ainslie is a general 16/1 in the market but how many will know of the yachtsman’s involvement in the America’s Cup? Cricketer Ian Bell (125/1 with bet365) and Welsh rugby star Leigh Halfpenny (66/1 with Boylesports, Coral and Skybet) had plenty of help and it’s cruel to say that athletes Christine Ohuruogo and Hannah Cockroft (both 125/1 with bet365) are fulfilling a quota but that looks the case and more people will be voting for Justin Rose.
The first Englishman for 43 years to win the US Open, he’ll be getting the vote of the golf masses and his 35/1 quote with bet365 is better value than the 5/1 at Coral about AP McCoy. National hunt’s champion jockey may have passed 4,000 winners recently but has been nominated with stronger claims in the past.