Muzza & Jess The SPOTY Value

Dec 12, 2012 by

Muzza & Jess The SPOTY Value

It is interesting to look back on the post we made on December 31 last year, previewing this year’s SPOTY award. You can read it here.

Aside from Beckham’s surprise omission from the Team GB football squad, virtually everything mentioned in that post came to pass in 2012 with Farah landing double gold, Ennis heptathlon gold and Murray achieving a first Slam at the US Open, not to mention Olympic gold in the men’s singles.

The one that passed us by at the time was Wiggins who went on to win the Tour De France and Olympic gold in the time trial which led to Ladbrokes prematurely paying out on him for SPOTY 2012.

This seemed a bizarre decision, given the potential headline-makers over the course of London 2012. Wiggins’ SPOTY win odds on Betfair touched a low of 1.15 which proved a golden lay for those who remained confident Farah and Ennis would achieve their Olympic dreams, and figured Murray could still get himself into contention with a maiden Slam.

Uncertainty over Wiggins then saw his odds drift out to odds against, so followers of the SPOTY market year-long have had a fantastic opportunity to ensure all the main contenders for the prize are green heading into Sunday night.

With Murray saying he will not be attending the prestigious awards bash – as he focuses on pre-season training in Miami – this has led to his odds taking a massive walk in the win market, and at time of writing he is trading at 19.5. This looks a very big price indeed and something of an over-reaction to his non-attendance.

Wiggins has hardened back in to 1.37 and the other one for money in recent days has been Jess Ennis, now into 10 on Betfair, while Farah has drifted on the back of the latest polling info, and is currently available at a win price of 11.5.

Our view is, Wiggins odds are unjustifiably short and he is by no means the certainty the betting market is portraying him to be. That’s not to say he won’t win but there are enough doubts to make us leave him well alone at current odds. The image of cycling has been tarnished by the Armstrong controversy and Team Sky has had to firefight some of its staff’s previous association with known dopers.

Aside from all that, we will have 12 VTs on Sunday and there is no knowing the order of them but what we do know from trading tv events is that the latter slots will be favoured, and the early slots disadvantaged, given phone lines only open after all 12 VTs have been shown.

Will the BBC give Wiggins the prize 12 slot or aim to dampen his vote with an early slot? There have to be question marks over his treatment on the night given concerns over what is still to surface during these ongoing cycling investigations into the sport’s doping past. Sky is a direct rival of the Beeb’s, the Beeb does not cover the Tour de France, and a Wiggins win would mean 3 cycling winners in the past 5 years, are 3 more potential negatives.

The other factor in this year’s award is phonelines remaining open for only half an hour. We expect voting figures to be unprecedented this year, as the event will provide glorious reflections on London 2012, and the casual voters will be keen to vote in such an outstanding year for British sport.

It is those casuals who will likely decide the winner of SPOTY 2012, most of whom will probably only be swayed by what they see on the night. Such a small voting window could also cause some serious issues with phonelines being engaged adding a further degree of uncertainty.

In terms of which short-listed candidate might have the most dedicated, multi-voting fans out there, we reckon this is still likely to be Murray ahead of Wiggins die-hard cycling fan base. It was quite some vote Muzza achieved in 2011 – nearly 20,000 votes (and 5th place) in a year when he only made the Australian Open final, semi-finals in the other 3 Slams, and was off the radar as a SPOTY contender.

The Scots are fiercely loyal in supporting their own, and we think Muzza’s bloc vote should ensure him a podium finish, despite him not being in the studio on the night. He has changed the opinion of many middle Englanders too after his tearful words post-Wimbledon final, and his comeback to beat Federer to take Olympic gold and go on to win the US Open after an epic 5-setter with Djokovic was the most compelling sporting narrative of the year.

Given the show will focus so heavily on London 2012, it makes sense to us that Jess Ennis will have a starring role in the edit. She was the poster girl for the Games and she went on to deliver in one of the iconic track & field events. Despite Farah’s double gold being an historic achievement, we expect Jess to grab a bigger share of the casuals’ vote compared to Mo.

It helps her being the outstanding female candidate this year following the furore in 2011 over no females being short-listed, she will receive a very strong vote from her home city of Sheffield, and as the golden girl of British athletics we see her as likely to be a big favourite among middle England voters on the night. While the cycling anoraks are sure to come out in force for Wiggins, we are not convinced he has the profile to be embraced on the same level as Ennis among the casuals.

It’s really poor on the part of high st bookies they are not offering e/w first 3 for such an exciting and competitive contest. Our advice is to perm Ennis, Murray and Wiggins in straight forecast bets at best available odds:

Wiggins/Ennis – 11-4 (Betfred)
Ennis/Wiggins – 10-1 (widely available)
Wiggins/Murray – 5-1 (widely available)
Murray/Wiggins – 20-1 (Bet365)
Murray/Ennis – 80-1 (Skybet, Betfred, BetVictor)
Ennis/Murray – 66-1 (widely available)

In betting w/o Wiggins, the value here looks to be Murray at 4-1 with bet365. Another way to proceed is to back Ennis at a widely-available 8-1 to win, 5-2 to finish 2nd, and 5-2 to finish 3rd (both with Ladbrokes), scaling your stakes to ensure a profit if any of these 3 outcomes come to pass. Similarly, you can back Murray for the win at 18-1 with Coral, to finish 2nd at 9-2 with Ladbrokes, and to finish 3rd at 5-2 with William Hill.

SportingBet has a betting w/o the Big 4 market, and we would advise Ben Ainslie here at 14-1. White, handsome, well-spoken Ben looks a perfect match with the Beeb’s middle England viewers. A fourth sailing gold has put him in the Olympic history books and merely that notorious soundbite of his, ‘They’ve made me angry, and you don’t want to make me angry’ should see him get a very healthy vote share. Also, no laughing at the back, but let’s not forget the popularity of the BBC soap opera ‘Howard’s Way’ and there are plenty of die-hard yachties around the UK’s shores. Ainslie is also worth a speculative poke to finish in the top 3 with Coral at 50-1.

Having backed Farah previously at double figure odds e/w, we are a little concerned he might now miss out on a Top 3 finish. Pre-show we would be looking to dutch Farah to finish 3rd at 7-2 with Ladbrokes, and him being unplaced at 9-4 with William Hill. We might well see a moving and potentially vote-winning VT for one of the Paralympians which could certainly see Ellie Symonds poll highly enough to achieve a top 5 placing.

All things considered ahead of the show we anticipate a very strong edit, and potential pimp slot in the running order for Ennis. But we are second guessing TPTB here and positions will need to be adjusted during in-running as we see who gets the most favourable slots and edits on the night.

As for the Team award, the Paralympians look in pole position to, at the very least, jointly land this prize with the full Olympic team, as was the case back in 2000. Hopefully you got the 5-1 we flagged up, if not the 12-1 which quickly got scrubbed.
Rob Furber

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  1. Boki

    Hi Rob, thanks for the spoty article, will try to make something of it with small stakes (thinking Muzza top3 offers reasonable value).
    Btw, on the strictly site I found dance off confirmed in the semi so it’s not looking great for Lisa.
    The fact that they put 4 dancers in the final and after vote freeze it leaves 3 (so Louis and two females) ensures the vote split so it doesn’t look like they want to avoid Louis as a winner.

  2. Rob

    Thanks Boki – & good spot on SCD website update: been waiting on this confirmation all week & you got this info first.

    Certainly doesn’t bode well for Lisa’s chances. And the Murray top 3 bet looks fair value at around Evens.

  3. Guildo Horn Forever

    Hello everyone,
    Often enjoy reading the excellent advice of this site; thought I should add a response, join in.

    Excellent in-depth preview of SPOTY. Agree that “Our Jess” is the one to be on; have backed her to finish first and to finish second and took the 4/5 from last week for a top three finish.
    For a SF I would look no further than combinations from Ennis and Wiggins.
    I disagree when it comes to Muzza. I have stellar respect for the achievements of the Dunblane survivor (he is my choice of winner), but this is the once in a lifetime Golden Olympic Year and the real regional vote that matters is the English one.
    I have to say that I judge the suggestion of a wager on Ainslie to finish in the top three as very optimistic; still, as you say, 50/1 is a startling price.

  4. Rob

    Thanks for posting, Guildo.

    Jess looks very solid for a top 3 finish & could topple Wiggins for sure. Murray’s Scottish vote also gives him a realistic shot at a top 3.

    Given his non-attendance, he may be hamstrung by an early VT, whereas you might expect Jess to get a great edit & a late slot.

    All guesswork of course, but important to strive for value, which was the reason for the Ainslie suggestion. Top 3 will be difficult but he ticks a lot of Middle England boxes & certainly the S.Bet w/o the Big 4 looks within range.

  5. Guildo Horn Forever

    Hi Rob,
    Thanks for the reply.

    Rereading your article’s reasons for a speculative wager on Ainslie, I made a mental note to ensure I back him on first market show if he ever is confirmed for a series of Strictly!
    Thinking about the degree of basking in the Olympic glow BBC 1’s SPOTY will provide this weekend, might this help ensure that next weekend’s BBC 1 Strictly provides one more outright Gold? (No disappointment of receiving the Silver on count-back, this time!).

  6. Rob

    Yes, very true Guildo. It would cap the ‘feel good’ Olympic year if Louis is crowned winner of SCD.

    Saw enough reasons to oppose him at series start but he now looks a highly likely winner, & odds of 8-11 are probably on the large side given we know from the Star he has been winning the pv, & now have had it confirmed the final, as per previous series, will be decided by pv-only.

  7. Tim B

    Hi Rob, please can you share the results of the poll that has Mo polling badly?

  8. Rob

    Hi Tim,
    Here are some of the polls. Ennis certainly seems to have gained the momentum recently, & if she is not ahead of Farah in some of these polls she is not far behind him.


    Total Survey Responders: 530

    Who do you want to Win Sports Personality of the Year 2012?

    JESSICA ENNIS (Olympic Heptathlon Gold) 19% ██████████████████
    ANDY MURRAY (Wimbledon Runnerup, Olympic Gold & Silver, US Open Winner) 17% █████████████████
    MO FARAH (Olympic 5000m Gold & 10,000m Gold) 7% ██████
    BRADLEY WIGGINS (Tour de France Winner, Olympic Gold) 33% ████████████████████████████████
    CHRIS HOY (2 Olympic Cycling Golds & now Britain’s Greatest Ever Olympian) 3% ██
    RORY MCILLROY (Won Golf’s US PGA Major) 4% ███
    BEN AINSLEE (Olympic Sailing Gold is 5th Medal in 5 Olympics) 1%
    ELLIE SIMMONDS (2 Paralympian Swimming Golds) 7% ███████
    SARAH STOREY (4 Paralympian Cycling Golds) 1% █
    DAVID WEIR (4 Paralympian Athletics Golds) 4% ███
    NICHOLA ADAMS (Olympic Boxing Gold) 3% ███
    KATHERINE GRAINGER (Olympic Rowing Gold) 2% ██

    Digital Spy also has a poll (over 10,000 votes)

    Poll: Who should win the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award

    Andy Murray

    Ben Ainslie

    Bradley Wiggins

    Chris Hoy

    David Weir

    Ellie Simmonds

    Jessica Ennis

    Katherine Grainger

    Mo Farah

    Nicola Adams

    Rory McIlroy

    Sarah Storey


    Radio Times:

    Bradley Wiggins 33.46%

    Mo Farah 7.9%

    Andy Murray 25.06%

    Jessica Ennis 14.07%

    Chris Hoy 0.99%

    Katherine Grainger 2.72%

    David Weir 4.94%

    Nicola Adams 2.22%

    Ellie Simmonds 5.43%

    Ben Ainslie 1.23%

    Sarah Storey 0.74%

    Rory McIlroy 1.23%

    Mail Online:


    Andy Murray31%
    Jessica Ennis10%
    Mo Farah13%
    Sir Chris Hoy4%
    Bradley Wiggins24%
    Victoria Pendleton2%
    David Weir3%
    Ellie Simmonds5%
    Greg Rutherford0%
    Rory McIlroy3%
    Ben Ainslie1%

    Daily Telegraph:

    Mo Farah 7.43% (2,128 votes)

    Bradley Wiggins 51.89% (14,857 votes)

    Jessica Ennis 6.42% (1,837 votes)

    Andy Murray 22.68% (6,494 votes)

    Rory McIlroy 1.7% (488 votes)

    David Weir 5.51% (1,578 votes)

    Ellie Simmonds 2.72% (780 votes)

    Sir Chris Hoy 1.64% (470 votes)

    Total Votes: 28,632

  9. Tim B

    Thanks Rob, very interesting. My feeling since the summer has been that Mo will miss out on a Top 3 placing. Agree with you that a lot may come down to the running order and edits on the night.

  10. Guildo Horn Forever

    Here’s a link to another, recent poll:

    Will feel sorry for whoever of the Big 4 is squeezed out from a podium place.
    Mo Farah’s 2nd Gold winning performance in the 5,000 metres staggered me. I considered Galen Rupp the value bet at 20/1 for a place before the race and backed accordingly, but saw his goose was cooked when he slowly faded just after cruising into contention. I expected Mo to go the way of his training partner, falter as the Olympic schedule also caught up and weighed down on his legs. But no.
    Before the race, another fellow, sitting near to me, passed on his opinion that he could not get behind Mo Farah as he was not ‘one of us’. I replied that Mo had come to this country at the age of eight and had trained and grown up in this country. He replied that he knew this but motioned to the screen and opined that you only had to look at Mo to see he was African, the shape of his body, his recent genetic history etc. He declared that watching Mo was like watching an African athlete beating other African athletes.
    Is this the shadow attitude that means Mo will miss out, I wonder?
    Though a third place last year proves he can attract the votes.

    Personally, I find it hard to rally behind Bradley Wiggins achievements. I read today that he may defy team Sky orders in next year’s Tour (de France) and not support team-mate Chris Froome, Sky’s designated team leader for the event, in his bid for the crown.
    In this article you can read this section:
    “On stage 11 of the race, the 27-year-old [Chris Froome] was ordered back to assist Wiggins after breaking off the front and later appeared to be held back from launching a challenge for stage 17 by his responsibilities to his team leader.”
    Bradley Wiggins won the Tour but we cannot with certainty say if he was even the best rider in his team! I also checked the price collapse for Wiggins 2013 Tour chances with Blue Square and 888 Sport off the back of this intention. In a fair, free contest (with no team orders) who is to say that Froome would not have had the beating of Wiggins?
    Also fabulous fun to listen to and read cycling enthusiasts explain how they “know” Bradley could not ever be a cheat. He’s never failed a drugs test, don’t you know.
    How unreasonable of anyone to harbour any qualms about the validity of the performance of a winner of the Tour de France! Lol.

    As adorable and worthy as Jess Ennis is, for many reasons, I think this year’s winner has to be Andy Murray.
    Ans as you mention, Rob, in your commentary, the near 20/1 is an outrageous price.

  11. Boki

    Didn’t watch the show but great result! Only order that could have been better for me was Enn/Wigg/Murr but I’m really satisfied with this too. Never placed a bet on SPOTY before so thanks Rob for the advices.

  12. Rob

    Glad it was profitable for you, Boki.

    It was a great market to trade this year. The top 3 market was very lucrative, after backing Jess & Muzza to finish in the top 3, & laying Mo. You could get amazingly generous odds on Murray to be top 3 in-running last night – managed some 4-1 and bigger. A recap of the win bets advised:

    Wiggins/Ennis – 11-4 – LANDED!
    Ennis to finish 2nd – 5-2 – LANDED!
    Murray to finish 3rd – 5-2 – LANDED!
    Farah to be unplaced – 9-4 – LANDED!
    Paralympians to be Team of the Year – 5-1 (cut on day of original post from 12-1) – LANDED!

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