Will Sports Achievements or Fund Raising be the Key to 2020 Sports Personality Victory?

2020 has not been the best year for sport. No traditional mainstream sporting genre has avoided Covid-19 induced interruption. Football leagues are being completed behind closed doors, darts players have been throwing their arrows from the comfort of their living rooms and F1 drivers were forced to hone their skills on simulators, racing competitively but virtually throughout the spring.

Just how the sporting year will be remembered in the annals of time remains to be seen but it’s highly unlikely to be ranked as a classic even for the staunchest of Liverpool fans.

At this point in time the length of the Formula 1 season is not even clear. The races at Australia, Canada, France, Singapore, Japan, Texas, Mexico and even the fabled Monaco have been cancelled and there remains a dark cloud over China, Vietnam and Bahrain.

Sports Personality Betting Odds

We mention Formula 1 as, in the shadow of a postponed Olympics, Britain’s biggest sporting winner in 2020 is likely to be Lewis Hamilton. The driver could well match or exceed Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 race victories during the coming year. Furthermore he can match the German ace’ record of seven World Championship titles.

Those who enjoy a bet are of the same opinion as Hamilton currently sits as joint second favourite (at odds of 7/2) amongst the various betting odds for the celebrated end-of-year BBC ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ (aka ‘SPOTY’) award alongside Marcus Rashford. To give yourself a little betting interest for this event there are plenty of free bets for 2020 from Freebets.com which are well worth a look.

Charity Begins At…

If Marcus Rashford does win the award it’s not going to be by virtue of his exploits for Manchester United or the English national team. Instead his efforts in raising £20 million during the coronavirus pandemic in order to provide three million meals to vulnerable people across the United Kingdom – and successfully campaigning for the government to issue free school meal vouchers to 1.3 million children – will rate as his big vote winner on awards night. 

But, according to the betting odds, both have Tyson Fury to beat. The boxer has been at the top of SPOTY betting lists since the 31-year-old floored Deontay Wilder (in the third and fifth rounds) before sealing victory by TKO to become WBC World Heavyweight champion in Las Vegas in February. The ‘Gypsy King’ was odds-on favourite by March but is now a solid 6/4 favourite.

There is one problem however, boxing is out of favour with Sports Personality of the Year voters as underlined by Anthony Joshua’s failure to win the accolade in 2017. In a remarkable turn of events, and despite beating Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 at Wembley, the fighter didn’t even make the top three despite being just 1/7 for the Sports Personality crown and 1/100 to collect a top-three medal at the very least. On that occasion Sir Mo Farah won the award.

The Also Runners

It is unlikely two football players will be amongst the final list of Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) nominees. Nevertheless Liverpool and England midfield player Jordan Henderson is the punters fourth favourite at 12/1.

Similarly it’s been over 30 years since a snooker player won this award but the bookmakers are not under-rating the popularity of Ronnie O’Sullivan and make ‘The Rocket’ just 22/1 to emulate Steve Davis who won this award in 1988.  Interestingly Judd Trump, the 2019 snooker world champion, is only 25/1 in the betting lists.

Horse racing has barely had a mention at the SPOTY awards yet champion jockey Oisin Murphy is in the betting lists at 25/1. Given the rider is Irish, it is surely a bad bet!

Darts has enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years which makes reigning world champion Peter Wright (100/1) an interesting contender, similarly Fallon Sherrock (125/1) who became the first woman to win a match at the ‘big one’ over the Christmas period.

Room For Another Cyclist?

But sadly darts is an all-SKY affair and with SPOTY broadcast on the rival BBC, neither are likely to get a nomination. So, at a tasty 66/1, Chris Froome is our idea of a ‘value bet’. Chasing his fifth victory in the Tour de France, the 35-year-old will be catapulted up the betting order if he can land the ‘big one’ in September.

He has a back-story too (always a vote winner), having overcome terrible injuries in a horrific June 2019 crash and recently being dropped by Team Ineos (formerly Team SKY) from the end of the current season.

Throw in the success of cycling in the SPOTY down the years – four individual riders have won the award during the past 12 years – and jumping on Froome’s betting broom may not be such a bad idea.

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