Betting on the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year is an annual celebration of Britain's good sports people, who also have good personalities, which is why Wales's witty cyclist Geraint Thomas is favourite in the odds.
Thomas sort of won the Tour De France by mistake in July, starting the three week Grand Tour as Team Sky's number two, in support of four-time champion Chris Froome, but two stage wins in the Alps proved the down-to-earth biker stronger this year.
Three of the the last 10 Sports Personality of the Year winners were cyclists, two of them winning overall titles at the Tour de France - Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins. Does that mean Geraint Thomas's odds of 7/4 for SPOTY 2018 are in fact good value?
Changes have been made to the format of the Sports Personality of the Year nominations process, which make this year's SPOTY betting more open
Nominees used to be revealed weeks before the BBC's live show, allowing bookmakers to price up odds for the final field, but for 2018 the short-list will not be revealed until the night.
It is therefore certain that the odds are better value than in previous years, and not impossible that the winner is not actually listed in the Sports Personality of the Year betting.
However, with the number of sports stars making the short-list - typically 10-12 - set to contract with this change in format, only the most successful will make it to the public vote, which takes place during the live show on Sunday, December 16 at Birmingham's Genting Arena.
Three sporting heroes stand out at the head of the Sports Personality of the Year betting, all from different sports, and very different points in their careers.
Alpe d’huez man!!! 😂🙈 Wow!! Yesterday was a dream come true, today is just insane. Lost for words. The boys were incredible today and the support is amazing!! Thanks for all your messages and support on the road, means a lot!!🥂 pic.twitter.com/oagM9QkrIL
Alpe d’huez man!!! 😂🙈 Wow!! Yesterday was a dream come true, today is just insane. Lost for words. The boys were incredible today and the support is amazing!! Thanks for all your messages and support on the road, means a lot!!🥂 pic.twitter.com/oagM9QkrIL— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) July 19, 2018
Geraint Thomas's odds for SPOTY reflect the immense popularity of the Tour De France. Team Pursuit Golds at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 could not give him the BBC title, but Chris Froome is the only British Tour de France classification winner to not win the award.
The fashion in which Thomas achieved the victory, and the loyalty he maintained to Froome, right up until the man could not beat him, added to his appeal and it will take something special for his adoring public not to vote for Cardiff's darling.
Harry Kane became the second Englishman to win the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot at Russia 2018, proving instrumental in England's advancement to the Quarter-Finals. However, the 25-year-old's goals dried up.
Fans will support the Tottenham striker - and he does have more than 10 million social media followers - but for his odds to come in, England probably had to win the World Cup. Don't forget, there is also Team of the Year, and Coach of the Year, that could represent England's achievements.
As we approach the final race of the year, I can’t help but feel so appreciative of all your love and support through our journey to where we are now. Thank you for your positivity🙏🏾❤️ #grateful pic.twitter.com/EkB1romRn1
As we approach the final race of the year, I can’t help but feel so appreciative of all your love and support through our journey to where we are now. Thank you for your positivity🙏🏾❤️ #grateful pic.twitter.com/EkB1romRn1— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 21, 2018
Lewis Hamilton is the most accomplished sportsman in the line-up, having just won the F1 Drivers Championship for fifth time - a feat equalled only by Juan Manuel Fangio and all-time great Michael Schumacher. Predecessors Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell won SPOTY twice, in their breakthrough year, and their first Championship.
It's telling of Hamilton's low popularity then that he was second at both of those milestones, and only won in 2014 when winning 10 races to secure the Championship, and bring his overall tally to 32 wins - more than any other British driver.
In 2018, Hamilton's tally is 73, bettered only by Schumacher, and for the second time he won 11 races in a season, a record again bettered by Schumacher, and his present rival Sebastian Vettel. Is that enough back him in the Sports Personality of the Year betting?
Announcing your retirement from a sport in which you have become a national legend, has a habit of producing a slurry of service and performance awards, this being the last chance to show appreciation for said legend's legendary-ness.
Cricketer Alastair Cook, the unassuming hero, fits under this category and his Sports Personality of the Yeat odds are as big as 20/1 with Bet365. On his walk to play his last innings in international cricket, England's highest Test run-scorer was greeted by a standing ovation. There is no doubt that England's cricket fans revere Cook, perhaps there's enough of them to vote him SPOTY 2018?
The other potential bet is sprinter Dina Asher-Smith. In 2018 she has battled back from a broken foot to become the fastest woman in the world this year, landing Commonwealth and European Championships Gold in the 4x100m relay, and European Golds in 100m and 200m.
The bubbly 25-year-old never stops smiling. She is a beacon of British athletics recognised globally as the emerging star of women's sprinting by featuring among five nominees for the IAAF's Female World Athlete of the Year.
Women's empowerment movements in sport, and other industries, have been a strong theme of 2018, and it's 12 years since the last woman - Zara Phillips - won Sports Personality of the Year, the ever-popular heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill finishing second or third four times since.
Maybe if Ennis-Hill couldn't win, Asher-Smith can't either, but maybe her nomination has come in the right era? Dina Asher-Smith's odds for SPOTY are 20/1 with Betway - and she's 13/8 for a podium finish on Betfair's betting exchange.
Four weeks remain in the year, and only days until the Sports Personality of the Year awards are awarded, and yet, two people in the top 10 of the SPOTY betting are still competing.
Harry Kane's club football exploits don't count, but boxer Tyson Fury's fight on Saturday night against Deontay Wilder for the WBC Heavyweight title could well guarantee the star a top three finish - Betfair offering odds of 7/5 on their exchanges for that outcome.
Fury was a SPOTY nominee in 2015, after winning the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight titles when beating Wladimir Klitschko in 12 rounds. However, he fell down in public opinion over comments deemed sexist and homophobic, and over support for making performance-enhancing drugs legal.
"I've said a lot of stuff in the past and none of it is with intentions to hurt anybody. It's all a bit of tongue in cheek and if I've said anything in the past that's hurt anybody, I apologise to anyone that's been hurt by it."
Fury apologised, but internally spiralled as his career crashed down around him. The boxer did not fight again until 2018, and has emerged a new character. Openly speaking about his battles with depression, his spells of drug and alcohol addiction, and huge weight gains, has earned him public respect.
Victory on Saturday night would cement his place in their hearts, as an ordinary guy who got it wrong, but fought back to back amends. It's a rags-to-riches story that could make his odds for Sports Personality of the Year look generous at 25/1 with Royal Panda.
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