Ennis the value for Sports Personality

Aug 13, 2009 by

Ennis the value for Sports Personality

Favourite for BBC Sports Personality Of The Year has fluctuated markedly throughout the summer with Andy Murray, Andrew Flintoff and Jenson Button all heading the market at various times.
Jenson Button’s lead in the Formula One world championship has seen him come into favouritism though there’s no guarantee he’ll secure the F1 title with seven races still to go, and given Lewis Hamilton won the F1 title last year but still didn’t win the BBC prize, suggests he’s no sure thing even if he ends up victorious.
Flintoff’s inspirational spell at Lord’s saw his odds plummet, only for injury and England’s woeful defeat at Headingley now making Freddy followers sweat on him producing something special at The Oval on his test farewell.
Murray backers were hoping for a Wimbledon success. It didn’t happen so their hopes now rest on the feisty Scot winning the US Open. Murray improved his PR no end during Wimbledon, and the Scots have a track record for supporting their own in droves when it comes to phone-in voting (Leon Jackson, Chris Hoy). A win at Flushing Meadow would make him a short-priced favourite regardless of what Button and Flintoff, a previous winner in 2005, do. His supporters are certainly better off backing him to win S.P.O.T.Y. rather than the US Open purely on value grounds. He’s only 7-2 for the latter, 11-2 for the former.
But with question marks over all three market leaders, the value could lie with Jessica Ennis. Not heard of her? No, not that many have but you may do soon. She’s a bit of a hottie in the Denise Lewis mould and is looking good to take heptathlon gold at the athletics world championships starting in Berlin in two days time.
And this doesn’t tell half the story. Ennis missed last year’s Olympics due to a career-threatening ankle injury and as a result has had to go as far as changing her take off foot in the long jump. She’s been achieving personal bets this season in the various heptathlon disciplines and is as short as 6-4 joint favourite with Paddy Power to win world championship gold.
Ennis’ is the kind of story the Beeb love to go to town with, and she could shine given a great edit on the night and a shimmering cocktail dress, with victory in Berlin guaranteed to see her odds shorten from a current best-priced 10-1.
Other pluses for Ennis are that athletics has yielded five of the last 18 winners (along with five runners up), and the fact solo performers tend to fare better than those who play in a team, with 13 of those winners coming from individual performances. She also heralds from Sheffield, the venue of this year’s event, so she is sure to receive a major voting boost from her adoring hometown fans.
In recent years it has also paid dividend to oppose the favourite. Last year Rebecca Adlington and Lewis Hamilton both traded at odds on at various times only for Chris Hoy to triumph, and the biggest shock came in 2006 when 80-1 shot Zara Phillips beat hot favourite Darren Clarke to the prestigious title. It’s an event that is worth betting on in-running, with the edit contenders receive on the night proving absolutely pivotal in assessing how the phone vote will go, a great segment with dad Enzo helping Calzaghe land the spoils in 2007.

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  1. Virtual Reality

    Great spot. Even post-Berlin, I think Ennis is value at 10/3, especially given SPOTY is being hosted in Sheffield. With Button’s form on the wane, only an unlikely US Open win for Murray can stop her?

  2. Marv

    I agree that Ennis is still worth backing. She’s got the girl-next-door looks and beaming smile that Beeb viewers will love.

  3. Lady Margaret

    Ennis would be a worthy winner but Murray seems to be in good form at Flushing Meadow so he is a real danger – never underestimate the power of the Celtic vote – it has won the SPOTY for Calzaghe and Hoy the past two years.

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