Is a world champion in the troubled sport of athletics going to beat Andy Murray in a popularity contest if the Scot leads Great Britain to its first Davis Cup title since 1936?
Three months ago one highlighted the great value in backing Murray to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. Back then Murray was available at odds of +2200 with Bwin, which one rated as one of the most ludicrously big prices that one had seen in decades. On the eve of the Davis Cup final, in which Great Britain will play Belgium on a Ghent clay court, Murray is still available at attractive odds, with many bookmakers, including Bwin and Winner, allowing punters to get on the tennis player at +550 .
Jessica Ennis-Hill is odds on across the board to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy but is the British public going to vote for an athletics star in light of what has gone down recently? Athletics is a sport in crisis and, while one is not inferring that Ennis-Hill has done anything wrong, it is impossible to suggest backing her at best odds of -137 with Boylesports.
That Wayne Rooney, who became England’s highest goal scorer during 2015, is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year fifth favourite at top odds of +2500 should tell you that the field is not strong. The other two members of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year top five, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Tour de France winner Chris Froome, are not the kind of blokes whom the average British television viewer is going to race to the telephone to support in a vote. Hamilton’s success has been, in large part, down to his Mercedes car being faster than the other Formula One vehicles, while Froome grew up in Africa and does not have the same swagger as the United Kingdom’s other Tour de France champion, Bradley Wiggins.
One genuinely believes that Murray should be long odds on to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year prize, with his price not a great deal bigger than that of Great Britain to win the Davis Cup – the Britons are trading at odds between -455 with PaddyPower. The country will go bonkers if its Davis Cup team ends 79 years of hurt in Belgium this weekend and the euphoria will not die down before the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony on Sunday 20 December. Also, it is a plus that the BBC will broadcast the Davis Cup final live on its network.
Murray is 8-0 in Davis Cup rubbers this year and, with the ITF barring Aljaz Bedene from taking part in the final due to a row over his nationality, the likelihood is that Great Britain will require three points from Murray to lift aloft the trophy. The good news is that Murray has nothing to fear from his likely opponents. Murray leads David Goffin 2-0 in matches and 5-0 in sets over the course of their respective careers, with the Briton thrashing the Belgian 6-1 6-0 in France a few weeks ago. Murray has not faced Steve Darcis since 2003 when the then 16-year-old Briton defeated the then 19-year-old Belgian 6-3 3-6 6-3 in the United Kingdom. Belgium does not have any good men’s doubles players – its highest ranked exponent is Ruben Bemelmans at 160 – so the Murray brothers, Andy and Jamie, should win that rubber if Great Britain coach Leon Smith pairs the siblings again.
One has been watching the BBC Sports Personality of the Year odds of Murray fall over the last three months but still the bookmaking fraternity is way off the mark. Winning the Davis Cup may prove to be even bigger for Murray than winning the Wimbledon men’s singles crown – the brothers story is media gold – and the Scot ran away with the 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, recording 55.96 per cent of the vote compared to runner-up Leigh Halfpenny’s 9.19%.
Do not think about backing Great Britain to win the Davis Cup at odds of -333 . Back Murray to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year prize and, if you want to cash out following this weekend’s Davis Cup final, you should be able to take a nice profit. Better still, stay for the long haul.
Andy Murray to win Sports Personality of the Year
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