With sixteen nominees as opposed to the usual ten, and still the likes of Chris Froome missing out, it just goes to show that, whilst the rest of us suffered, it’s worth remembering that British sports had a good 2016.
After the best year of his career to date which pivoted him to number one in the rankings having won Wimbledon, the ATP World Tour and an Olympic gold for good measure Andy Murray is the strong bookies’ favourite.
The gambling world is in serious doubt that anyone else can prevent the Scot from securing another SPOTY title, and the claim of being the only sports star to win it three times.
Sun Bets Spokesman Tim Reynolds commented: “Andy Murray is one of the greatest sportsmen in British history, and ought to win SPOTY at an absolute canter- so we rightly make him our 1/10 favourite to hold on to his crown. Of course there’s a risk that the public will tire of voting for him, but equally it’s factored into his price that he’s got a track record of a big fanbase supporting him on the night.”
A year of impressive sporting feats from countrymen and women however could mean an upset is on the cards. Mo Farah for instance, is priced as high as 20/1 in places, whilst Alistair Brownlee is generally at the 7/1 mark and Laura Kenny is at 25/1 with Stan James.
Also reportedly somewhat in the running is Welsh hero Gareth Bale (best odds of 33/1).
Reynolds noted: “There’s a strong case for third favourite Mo Farah at 16/1, much as there was in 2012. He’s a popular character but for whatever reason, doesn’t seem to motivate the public to back him strongly enough- just 8% voted Farah when he won Olympic Gold in the 5000m and 10,000m in 2012.
“Quite frankly if 7/1 second favourite Alistair Brownlee wins for helping his brother over the line in an event that almost no Brits watched live, it’ll make a mockery of the award. If two American or Kenyan brothers had done the same thing, denying a Brit of a medal- we’d be calling them cheats!”
It’s important to note that this is a public vote, and that following his Olympic heroics Brownlee won hearts and minds when he sacrificed his own race to help brother Jonny cross the finish line in the Triathlon World Series in September.
William Hill is so convinced that Murray will make it a hattrick of titles that they’ve opened up betting for who’ll finish second to him. William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams commented: “Andy Murray is nailed on to win this year’s award, in fact we are so sure he will win that we have opened betting for who will finish second to Mr Murray.”