Last updated September 23rd, 2021
Who wins SPOTY this year? Compare BBC Sports Personality of the Year betting odds for 2021 from the best bookies below and claim SPOTY free bets from best bookmakers.
BBC Sports Personality of Year Odds 2021
To win SPOTY 2021; Sunday December 12; TV: Live on BBC1; Click best odds bold; Each-Way Place Terms: Bet365: 1/5 odds 1,2,3; Others: Win Only.
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Learn From SPOTY betting odds trends
All sports fans have an opinion on it, so placing a wager on your choice could prove a wise investment when it comes to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year betting.
Odds are widely available from the online bookmakers long before the SPOTY nominations are even made public. It does not always make sense to place your bet too early. Anything that happens right up to the night of the show can seriously influence a contender’s chances in the betting. A sniff of a scandal, whether personal or professional, can result in plummeting popularity. Similarly, a notable victory or some positive media coverage can disproportionately bolster a candidate’s chances. Remember that the voting public tend to have short memories, as proven by the events of 2014.
The nomination system that has been used since 2006 includes using a combination of public votes received via the BBC’s sport website and the input of key sporting journalists and editors. An expert panel then decides the final shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, which was increased from six to ten in the same year. After that it is down to public voting to decide the winner, and voting closes only 10 minutes before the SPOTY winner is crowned.
Looking back at the list of past winners, there are certain patterns that it would be unwise to ignore. Time and again the bookies have been slow to appreciate certain trends, so you can sometimes benefit from their shortcomings.
Rule 1: It is not sufficient to be at the top of a sport which does not encounter significant international opposition. The more international the nature of the sport or of the contest won, the greater the chances of the person winning. The past winners of have almost invariably brought glory to the UK on an international stage. So make sure that you bet on someone who has beaten more than national competition.
Rule 2: Rule number two for BBC Sports Personality of the Year betting is that the sport must be high profile in terms of media coverage and viewing figures. Users of the BBC sports website and sporting journalists may be well informed about sporting achievements that haven’t occurred in peak time viewing. But the voters on the night of the show are the ones that decide it and they are a very different audience whose knowledge levels should not be overestimated.
Rule 3: This dictates that, in an Olympic year, you might as well forget about betting on anyone who has not won a gold medal. In 2008, Lewis Hamilton may have ticked the boxes in terms of achieving success high profile success on an international stage as Formula One World Champion, but he never really stood a chance against Chris Hoy in SPOTY, even though he was at one time an odds-on favourite. Hoy’s haul of three gold medals in the cycling in the 2008 Beijing Olympics broke a multitude of records and made him the most successful Olympic cyclist ever.
Even when Bradley Wiggins won in 2012, while it was primarily for his Tour De France victory, he would surely not have won had he failed to add a time trial Olympic gold to his tally too.
Two other cyclists have won the award since the Sports Personality of the Year began in 1954 and they were Tommy Simpson in 1965 and Mark Cavendish in 2011. Despite his undoubted achievements in 2011 becoming world champion and lifting the Tour De France Green Jersey, Cavendish was the beneficiary in a year when no other UK sports men or women boasted much international success and the golfing vote was split between a number of contenders. Nevertheless, when looking to wager on this BBC popularity contest, we must acknowledge that history now tells us pedalling a bike is no longer the disadvantage it once was.
The significance of the Olympic factor has proved rock solid since the turn of the century. In 2004 Kelly Holmes should have been viewed by the cognoscenti as a certainty in the SPOTY betting. She had won gold medals in both the 800 metres and 1500 metres in Athens. The runner up that year was Matthew Pinsent, one of the gold medal winning coxless fours team who succeeded in the absence of Steve Redgrave.
Steve Redgrave won the BBC contest in 2000 following his success in the coxless fours at the Sydney Olympics (it was his fifth Olympic gold in total) and he was one of the favourites for good reason.
Rule 4: Winners generally come from individual rather than team sports. Yes, footballers, rugby players and cricketers have won on occasions in recent years, but they were exceptional goal or point or run scorers, usually in a high profile international contest. For examples of individual sportsmen think Andy Murray in 2013 and Lewis Hamilton in 2014, along with the other F1 winners before him.
In 2003, Jonny Wilkinson did not just have an outstanding record as England’s best try converter of all time, but his last minute drop goal secured victory for England in the Rugby World Cup. He and his captain team mate Martin Johnson were favourites in the Sports Personality of the Year betting, but Wilkinson’s point scoring prowess gave him the edge. Johnson was runner-up.
Not only do non-team sports people have a natural advantage, some are helped by other factors. Formula One Champions have a particularly good record and often reach the top of the odds. Their sporting calendar helps a lot as the championship is decided in November, shortly before the BBC show in December. Lewis Hamilton won the F1 championship and then SPOTY just a couple of weeks after that in 2014, despite golfer Rory McIlroy being as short as 1/20 favourite to win Sports Personality when the voting closed 10 minutes before the announcement was made. McIlroy must have realised what an upset the result was as he understandably looked stony-faced holding his runner-up trophy. Recent success reaps better dividends than winning The Open several months earlier – it seems voters memories really are short.
If a UK F1 driver wins the Championship, they are usually among the favourites in the betting and achieve a podium position in the Sports Personality of the Year. Lewis Hamilton had been second twice before winning it in 2014 and Jenson Button filled runner-up spot in 2009. Damon Hill won SPOTY twice in the 1990s.
Record of Sports Personality betting odds favourites
There have been some spectacular overturns of odds-on favourites in the Sports Personality of the Year betting, as the bookmakers have presumably responded to the weight of betting support which does not always correspond with the behaviour of the voting BBC audience.
In 2009, Jensen Button was odds-on, having won the World Drivers’ Championship in spectacular style in a non-Olympic year. The betting markets had reckoned without the enduring appeal of Ryan Giggs. He had been a Manchester United first team player since the age of 17. He was known not just for his coruscating skills but for his integrity as a footballer, who would never indulge in a penalty seeking dive or self promotion. His personality was admired as well as his sporting skills, and he had the backing of the Welsh vote. As mentioned, 2014 saw McIlroy beaten by Hamilton. The golfer had been heavy odds-on for months and was a 1/20 certainty when betting closed as few moments before the announcement. Punters and bookies called that one wrong too.
However odds-on shots should not be ignored without good reason. Champion horse racing jumps jockey Tony McCoy (2010), the aforementioned cyclist Cavendish (2011), Sir Bradley Wiggins (2012) and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray (2013) were all raging favourites who won.
McCoy helped fill the pockets of his followers with his success in the Grand National aboard the joint favourite, Don’t Push It, in April 2010 but there are stronger reasons why McCoy won SPOTY. He was supported by an extensive PR operation designed to promote horse racing that even lobbied parliament to further his claims. Previously no jockey had done better than third. Legendary flat jockey Lester Piggott never achieved so much as a placing, but in a weak year McCoy bucked the anti-racing trend and this favourite romped home.
Despite these short-priced victors, as we have seen many times it can pay to ignore the clear favourite in the Sports Personality of the Year betting odds and profit from a longer priced contender.