Oppose unpopular Hamilton in popularity contest


The BBC has announced its 10-person shortlist for its Sports Personality of the Year award and, while there are not many surprises about the contenders, one thinks that there is a decent chance of a shock on one of its betting markets.

It is difficult to construct a strong case for anyone other than Rory McIlroy winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. McIlroy became the first British golfer to win back-to-back major tournaments when he took out the Open Championship and the PGA Championship and he earned three points for Europe in its Ryder Cup victory over the United States of America. Caroline Wozniacki’s fans are not going to vote for McIlroy after the high-profile couple went their separate ways midway through 2014 but most people view him as a good guy and he has achieved great things in golf.

McIlroy is trading at odds of -400  with Boylesports and Ladbrokes to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and justifiably so. What is not so easy to explain is why Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is the same odds – -400  with Bwin – in BBC Sports Personality of the Year betting without the world’s number-one ranked golfer.

Formula One is the second most successful sport/discipline in BBC Sports Personality of the Year award history, with only athletics producing more winners. But Hamilton did not win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2008 when he won his first Formula One title, finishing second behind Chris Hoy, the winner of three Olympic Games gold medals in Beijing. A couple of things concern one about Hamilton being such short odds. First, motor racing fans know that his Mercedes car was easily the best in Formula One this year and that, in truth, he only had to beat Nico Rosberg to win the championship. And second, is Hamilton very popular with anyone who does not like Formula One?

One believes that there has to be a value bet in BBC Sports Personality of the Year betting without McIlroy because Hamilton is ridiculously short odds. And to make matters even better, one does not understand how bookmakers view Gareth Bale as the next in line at odds of +900  with Coral.

Bale comes across as a nice guy and the world’s costliest footballer enjoyed a stellar first season with Real Madrid as the Meringues won the Spanish Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League. But surely Bale’s achievements are not worthy of a BBC Sports Personality of the Year podium finish, although one acknowledges that he will be a big player next year if he leads Wales to the UEFA European Championship. Wales has not qualified for a major football tournament since the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden.

The names that leap off the BBC Sports Personality of the Year betting without McIlroy list are Jo Pavey and Carl Froch. Pavey is available at odds of +1600  with Boylesports and Paddy Power, while Froch is trading at odds of +8000  with Coral.

Pavey became the oldest-ever female European athletics gold medallist when she won the women’s 10,000 metres at the age of 40 years and 325 days. Pavey had returned to the track just three months before the competition having given birth to her second child, Emily, last year. Pavey is an athletics star, which ticks a BBC Sports Personality of the Year box, and her story resonates with millions of potential voters. We also tipped her previously, but we like the odds even more now that the shortlist has been revealed.

Froch retained his IBF and WBA super-middleweight titles by beating his bitter boxing rival, George Groves, in front of a British record 80,000 fight fans at Wembley Stadium. The right hand that Froch unleashed to knock out Groves will go down as one of the best punches in British boxing history.

Tips Summary

SPOTY betting without McIlroy
14th December
Pavey at +1600 / Froch at  +8000
Bet both at Boylesports, Paddy PowerCoral

Carl Froch
Gareth Bale
Jo Pavey
Lewis Hamilton
Rory McIlroy
Sports personality of the year

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