Olympic hopeful Ennis favourite for 2012 Sports Personality gong
There may have been a notable absence of female contenders for the 2011 BBC”s Sports Personality of the Year award, but bookmakers believe that will change in 2012, with Jessica Ennis heading the early betting on next term”s gong.
The heptathlon star is tipped to shine in the London Olympics, while fellow gold medal hopeful Rebecca Adlington is also rated one of the front runners to top the BBC polls in 12 months” time.
William Hill make Ennis 6/1 favourite to get the nod next year, with Adlington next best in their betting on 8/1, while the same firm offer 5/2 for a sportswoman to prevail for the first time since Zara Phillips in 2006.
Front runner: Heptathlete Jessica Ennis is the early favourite to win the 2012 award
“The Olympic Games is undoubtedly the highlight of next year”s sporting calendar and it would seem that only missing out on gold in London will stop Jess from scooping the BBC gong,” said Hill”s spokesman Joe Crilly.
Ladbrokes go just 9/2 on the heptathlete picking up most votes, with spokeswoman Jessica Bridge adding: “Ennis is the pin-up of 2012. A gold medal will see her odds collapse.”
With the likes of Victoria Pendleton, Sarah Stevenson, Paula Radcliffe and Beth Tweddle also sure to be in the public eye, Victor Chandler have opened a market on how many women will be represented in the final 10 and make four or more 8/13, with three or less 6/5.
Clear winner: Cyclist Mark Cavendish won the 2011 award with 49 per cent of the votes and is 14/1 to retain his title
VC spokesperson Charlie McCann said: “Next year we envisage such Olympians as Rebecca Adlington, Jessica Ennis, Katherine Grainger,
“Anna Watkins and Sarah Stevenson coming to the fore, but how many will make the final 10 in what could be a vintage year for British sport
“We think there will be four or more but if Britain”s males do well at football, cricket, golf and even tennis then a gold medal might not be sufficient to make the shortlist.”
Olympic hope: British cyclist Victoria Pendleton would also be a strong contender if she wins gold in London
Mark Cavendish, meanwhile, is 14/1 with Ladbrokes to retain the title after giving many punters an early Christmas present when pipping Darren Clarke and Mo Farah to this year”s award following strong support in recent weeks.
“We have taken a bit of a hammering, with SPOTY taking a five figure sum off us just before Christmas, but Cav”s performances this year have surpassed anything ever achieved by a British cyclist and we do not begrudge him this victory,” said Hill”s spokesman Crilly.
For anyone looking to have a bet on Boxing Day, Stoke are rated worthy favourites at 20/21 with Stan James to beat Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium in the evening match.
The Potters can be forgiven for losing at Manchester City and had previously picked up four straight wins against Blackburn, Everton, Tottenham and Wolves, while Villa appear to have gone backwards under Alex McLeish.
As for Tuesday”s televised action, Swansea can continue their fine home form by seeing off QPR at 11/10 and Tottenham showed enough in their draw with Chelsea to suggest they can prove a cut above Norwich for a 4/5 Carrow Road triumph.