One of sport’s most prestigious awards will be handed out this Sunday at the 63rd annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year gala. Ahead of the awards ceremony in Liverpool, it’s time to take a look at who the favourites among the shortlist of 12 nominees are and which are worth backing.
Andy Murray has picked up the gong in three of the last four years, but after a season blighted by injury problems, the tennis star is not in the running this year. And with only one of the 12 candidates being a previous winner, it seems we’re likely to see a new name on the trophy.
Last year’s shortlist was dominated by the Rio Olympics, but 2017 was a quieter year for the country, with no Olympics or major football tournaments taking place. The 2017 lineup may not be as star-studded as in recent years but there has still been plenty of success for British sportsmen and sportswomen.
There’s normally a definite favourite for the Sports Personality of the Year award and this year that honour falls upon Anthony Joshua. The current top heavyweight boxer in the world added the WBA and IBO belts to his IBF title in April with a memorable 11th-round win over Wladimir Klitschko.
The mega fight, watched by a record 90,000-strong crowd at Wembley Stadium, went down as one of the biggest in the history of the sport of boxing. The 28-year-old then defended his WBA and IBF titles in October with victory over Carlos Takam despite breaking his nose in the second round.
This cemented his place as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. It’s been ten years since a boxer won Sports Personality of the Year, but Joshua is the strong favourite to win the public vote on Sunday. He’s best-priced at 1/6 with a number of online sports betting sites.
Joshua’s nearest challenger in the voting is likely to be Lewis Hamilton, who’s the only previous winner on the shortlist having won the award in 2014. Hamilton has enjoyed another great season, securing his fourth world title in October with two races to spare. Hamilton is one of only five drivers to have won four or more Formula One world championship titles.
Hamilton is now clearly Britain’s most successful ever F1 driver. This is the fifth time he’s been nominated for Sports Personality of the Year and he’s finished in the top three on three occasions. He’s list at odds of 1/5 with William Hill to be on the podium again, while 10Bet are offering odds of 7/1 on the 32-year-old to collect his second Sports Personality of the Year award.
After Joshua and Hamilton, the the top online bookies’ odds start to get a lot longer, but with a public vote there’s always the chance of a surprise. Athlete Mo Farah is on the shortlist for the sixth year in a row after winning gold in the 10,000 metres at the World Championships in London back in August.
However, he’s never finished higher than third in the BBC vote so is a long shot at 40/1 with William Hill. Cycling has contributed plenty of Sports Personality winners over the last decade and Chris Froome is their representative on the 2017 shortlist.
After winning his fourth Tour de France title, Froome became the first Briton to win the Vuelta a España and only the third cyclist to do the Tour-Vuelta double in the same year. His reputation has been tarnished in the run-up to SPOTY after failing a drug test though, and this has seen his odds drift to 50/1 with Paddy Power.
Jonathan Rea is not a household name but he’s certainly achieved something remarkable this year, becoming the first rider to win three successive World Superbikes titles. In total he won 16 races in 2017 and was also made an MBE. He’s 50/1 with Power Paddy but could be worth a punt at 7/4 to finish in the top three.
The only footballer on this year’s list is Harry Kane. The Tottenham striker has been the top scorer in the Premier League for the last two seasons and was also the only English player nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or prize. Kane is a well-liked character but it’s 16 years since an English footballer won the award (and that was David Beckham), which is why 10Bet have him as a 50/1 outsider.