With the BBC unveiling its official Sports Personality of the Year 2020 shortlist this week, the annual award has become one of those novelty markets that enjoys a lot of attention from UK punters during the last month of the year.
The event is only two weeks away and will be broadcasted live on BBC One on December 20th. Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton is the Paddy Power & Betfair favourite at odds 1/4 (80% chance of winning), followed by snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan at 11/2 (15%) and controversial boxer Tyson Fury at 13/2 (13%) on William Hill.
The reigning F1 world champion is odds-on after Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, previously favourite at 6/4 (40%) at the bookies, has not been included among the nominees by the BBC. The broadcaster announced on Tuesday that the footballer will be honoured with a special award to celebrate his campaigning for free school meals. This decision has left many sports fans shocked as they hoped the battle against child poverty would grant Rashford the award.
While it is true that Hamilton's achievements this year are really difficult to match for any athlete in the world, the six candidates come from a very successful season in their respective sports. As every year, the public will have the last say on Sunday 20th, as phone and online voting will be open during the live ceremony.
So while fans start to mobilize and bettors take note of the market's current odds, nobody knows what can happens in these two weeks. At the end of the day, isn't that what 2020 is all about? Below is a brief review of each contender along with the best betting odds.
🏎️ Lewis Hamilton – 2/7 (78%) at William Hill
The F1 superstar has entered the G.O.A.T. debate on his own merits after winning his fourth consecutive championship in 2020, equaling Michael Schumacher's record of seven world titles and passing the German legend in total Grand Prix victories. Hamilton is now the driver with most Formula One wins in history: 95.
🎱 Ronnie O'Sullivan – 13/2 (13%) at William Hill
'The Rocket' has won his 6th world title this year becoming the oldest champion in over four decades. He is second in the list to win the BBC award after being nominated for the first time in his 28-year career. The snooker star could miss the ceremony to play in the World Grand Prix, the last tournament of his calendar year.
🥊 Tyson Fury – 13/2 (13%) at Paddy Power & Betfair
The 'Gipsy King' is the last one on the podium after being favourite earlier this year. He had a glorious start of 2020 by winning his second world heavyweight championship with a devastating defeat of Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC title in Las Vegas. In addition to this triumph his fans witnessed an epic comeback from a battle with depression and drugs.
Fury made headlines on the same day his official nomination was known as he asked the BBC to be removed from the shortlist, sharing a video on Twitter to insist he is 'people's champion' and has 'no need for verification or any awards'. With the broadcaster claiming he will remain in the list, we'll see if supporters listen to his words or the reaction is actually the opposite.
⚽️ Jordan Henderson – 12/1 (8%) at Paddy Power & Betfair
Ranking fourth in the market, the Liverpool captain was one of the main leaders of the team during the previous season, where they won their first league title since 1990, just a year after lifting the UEFA Champions League. Jürgen Klopp's soldier has been capped 58 times by the England national team and was also named Football Writer Men's Player of the Year.
🏇 Hollie Doyle – 25/1 (4%) at Paddy Power & Betfair
The record-breaking jockey is the fifth contender and the first award nominee from the world of racing since Sir Anthony McCoy, who was third in 2013. In 2020 alone, Doyle has broken her own record for the most winners in a calendar year by a female jockey riding a historic double on British Champions Day. She has also become the first woman to ride five winners on the same card and has been named Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year.
🏏 Stuart Board – 200/1 (0.5%) at Paddy Power & Betfair
The Nottinghamshire fast bowler completes the list after his return for the final two Tests, both won by England, and taking 16 wickets at an average of 10.93 to pass 500 for his career. In 2020 he has moved up to 7th on the all-time list of worldwide wicket-takers.