Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Dutch Double-Barrelled Contenders for British Award

Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Fresh from tipping Andy Murray at long odds to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year it is time to take an early look at betting on the 2016 edition of the famous award.

Murray features prominently in BBC Sports Personality of the Year markets but no-one has won the prize three times and no-one has gone back to back. Murray will have to make a great amount of BBC Sports Personality of the Year history if he is going to justify favouritism. Anything less than at least two major men’s singles titles, one of which must be Wimbledon, and Murray will not be a BBC Sports Personality of the Year factor so one rates him as a false favourite.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year voters absolutely love an Olympic Games gold medallist and recent counts in Olympic years have been dominated by champions. In 2012, Bradley Wiggins won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, with Jessica Ennis (second), Murray (third), Mo Farah (fourth), David Weir (fifth), Ellie Simmonds (sixth), Chris Hoy (seventh), Nicola Adams (eighth), Ben Ainslie (ninth), Katherine Grainger (11th) and Sarah Storey (12th) polling well after Olympic Games or Paralympic Games glory – Rory McIlroy’s two major championships, world number one ranking and contribution to Europe’s Ryder Cup victory could not lift him above 10th position with 1.83 per cent of the vote. In 2008, Hoy and Rebecca Adlington finished first and third respectively in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year race. In 2004, Kelly Holmes and Matthew Pinsent were the BBC Sports Personality of the Year straight forecast. And in 2000, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trifecta was Steve Redgrave, Denise Lewis and Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Basically, one is willing to put a pen through every BBC Sports Personality of the Year contender who will not take part in the Olympic Games – the Paralympic Games may throw up a compelling story but one is willing to take that risk. Also, one is going to overlook BBC Sports Personality of the Year contenders from sports that really should not be in the Olympic Games – football, golf, rugby sevens and tennis. And one is going to bet against the BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner emerging from the UEFA European Championship at which England, Northern Ireland and Wales will compete.

Athletics superstars have won 17 editions of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year – the next most successful sports have been Formula One (seven), football (five), boxing (five) and tennis (five) – so it makes sense to focus on contenders who ply their trade on the track and/or in the field. Ennis (now Ennis-Hill), Farah and Rutherford were Great Britain’s London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists in athletics, while one expects that Katarina Johnson-Thompson will challenge for Rio 2016 Olympic Games honours as well.

Farah’s popularity has taken a hit due to his association with Hamza Driouch and Alberto Salazar, plus he polled well behind Ennis in the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year vote – 22.92% versus 8.07%. Rutherford did not even make the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year short list and he was miles off the pace in the 2015 contest in spite of another stellar 12 months in his event of long jump.

That leaves Ennis-Hill ( +800 with Coral) and Johnson-Thompson ( +1400 with PaddyPower), the women’s heptathlon rivals about whom you can dutch for +463  and that is one’s suggested way to wager on the market right now.

Ennis-Hill is very popular having finished in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year top three four times since 2009 – Sally Gunnell (second twice and third once) is the only other person who has placed more than twice without taking out the honour. Ennis-Hill should be shorter odds to be the BBC Sports Personality of the Year bride at long last.

Johnson-Thompson is a legitimate threat to Ennis-Hill in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games women’s heptathlon and BBC Sports Personality of the Year contests, though. Johnson-Thompson would have gone close to beating Ennis-Hill in the 2015 IAAF World Championships had she posted one of her usual long jumps and not tailed off in the 800 metres. Johnson-Thompson has the potential to improve past Ennis-Hill – the former is nearly seven years younger than the latter – so one would prefer to back both women rather than single out one.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games women’s heptathlon will play out over two days in August and one can see the British media loving the battle between Ennis-Hill and Johnson-Thompson – it is likely to be the key domestic narrative of the Games.

Tips Summary

Ennis-Hill or Johnson-Thompson to win SPOTY 2016
Dec 2016
Odds: +463  (Dutched)

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