THE great and good of sport are in Glasgow for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year. As always, there’s a betting angle, so we asked Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) to give us his thoughts.
BBC Sports Personality Of The Year | Sunday 20:00
This year’s contest has been billed as a two-horse race between Rory McIllroy (8/11 with Boylesports) and Lewis Hamilton (7/4 BetVictor). And when you consider their sporting achievements, that seems a fair assessment.
But the crucial word in this betting heat is personality, and both of these candidates struggle in that department. I’m fairly certain none of these guys are loved by the public. McIllroy has made great strides that year, but his super-millionaire lifestyle and steely focus doesn’t lend itself to public affection.
Similarly, Lewis Hamilton isn’t someone you’d see down the boozer playing darts. Do you think Nicole Scherzinger would accept that? Of course not. Isn’t he based in tax-haven Switzerland anyway? Yeah definitely won’t see him down the pub.
What also binds these two together is a previous disappointing result in this competition. McIllroy only finished 8th in 2011 despite winning the US Open in a canter that year just two months after his Masters meltdown. Hamilton was odds-on in 2007 to claim the crown after winning the Formula 1 World Championship but missed out to Joe Calzaghe.
Neither of their sports are represented well either. Nick Faldo was the last golfer to win in 1989 while Damon Hill last won for F1 18 years ago.
One area of sport that always gets behind it’s heroes is horse racing/equestrian sports. Tony McCoy stormed to a wide-margin victory in 2010 after finally winning the Grand National, while Zara Philips shocked us all by taking the title in 2006 after a World Championship eventing win. This TV event provides an excellent platform for these sports to aggressively promote their stars and the this particular sporting community excel at it.
Representing that sporting sphere on Sunday is Charlotte Dujardin and that’s where my money is going. She made history this year by winning two gold medals at the World Equestrian Games, and therefore become the first ever Brit to be Olympic, World and European champion at the same time.
She’s already won Sky Sports Sportswoman Of The Year and is sitting very high on a Daily Telegraph poll relating to this event. I’ll back her to finish in the Top 3 at 6/1 and get involved also at an enormous 150/1 with Bet365 that she wins outright. Zara’s win in 2006 will never leave me.