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I usually like to get involved in the Sports Personality of the Year betting but not at this stage this year following the BBC’s ridiculous decision not to reveal who we can vote for until the night itself (December 16th), which has killed it as a betting medium as far as I am concerned as I like to get involved in the specials markets.
Flagging viewing figures has led to a big drop in number of votes in recent years so maybe the decision not to announce the nominees, of which the number could be halved to just six, is to try and draw more viewers in to actually see who has been nominated? I don’t know, it just makes me even less likely to watch it and, judging by the presenters of The One Show telling us that tickets are still available, they are clearly struggling to even sell out the event in the arena!
I do have a small interest from back in the summer having suggested in a ‘Thought of the Day’ on the home page soon after Geraint Thomas had won the Tour de France that 9/2 was the wrong price and he should be favourite over Harry Kane and it looks a two-horse race between the pair to me. The popular Welshman now ranges between 7/4-5/2 just behind Kane in the betting.
Lewis Hamilton (9/2) now bores the life out of most sports fans and Tyson Fury (13/2) didn’t beat anyone last weekend, if the judges are to be believed and remains a divisive figure. Dina Asher Smith (20/1) and Lizzy Yarnold (50/1) could be the other pair on the shortlist. Both deserve to have their achievements recognised and it would help the BBC level up the male-female bias. It also helps that they were both the individual stars of BBC broadcasts covering the European Athletics Championships and Winter Olympics.
Alastair Cook’s (25/1) test century in his farewell test match is nominated in the new category of the Greatest Sporting Moment of the Year alongside England winning a penalty shootout, England winning the Commonwealth Games netball gold medal, Tiger Woods winning the Tour Championship (which surely has no chance in a public vote against four English alternatives) and Tyson Fury getting off the canvas! Jeez, was it that bad a sporting year?
Cook’s presence in that category could be enough to ensure that he is not a nominee for the main prize. Could he also be in the running for Lifetime Achievement Award being England’s Greatest Runs Scorer who has just retired from international cricket? If they gave that award last year to Jessica Ennis-Hill at the age of 31 then anything is possible with the BBC! How ridiculous was that? Lifetime award at 31! It reminded me of when Stephen Hendry was on This Is Your Life in 1990 and the first thing he said was when pounced upon was: “I’m only 22”.
Jonathan Rea (50/1) was less than 3000 votes short of winning it 12 months ago and has done just as well this year so it would be harsh if he missed out on a nomination, but it’s looking probable if there are just six names on the ballot box. We were on Rea at 12/1 each-way without Joshua last year with my argument being a combination of provincial voting and a minority sport getting behind their nominee after years of not being given the chance and I'm convinced that it was only Mo Farah's kid playing up in the live interview that got him over the line in such a dull show. Adam Peaty (66/1) keeps getting nominated and finishing in the bottom three and Anthony Joshua (66/1) was odds-on fav and not even in the first three last year and hasn’t had a big fight this year unlike in 2017 so I am struggling to see them nominated again.
Provincial voting is very important so this may boil down to whether the Welsh vote can outnumber Spurs and ardent England fans. One thing is for certain, the Scots have no Andy Murray to vote for this time and they ain’t voting for the England football captain! Hopefully they will club together and vote for a fellow celt. Similarly if Rea isn’t nominated, could Thomas pick up most of the Northern Irish vote? The World Cup run created lots of excitement and I thoroughly enjoyed it but when you boil it down, Kane scored three tap-ins, two penalties and a deflection taking on mainly pub teams.