A McIlroy/Hamilton one-two the only way to bet for BBC SPOTY

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It’s almost Christmas which invariably means a new BBC Sports Personality of the Year is set to be crowned, as we delve into the betting for the prestigious award and reveal just who Ladbrokes customers should be backing.

You have to feel for freshly-crowned Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton as once again his marvellous achievement has been overshadowed by a more monumental one in the race to become the SPOTY winner.

Last time Hamilton secured the F1 drivers’ title back in 2008, Sir Chris Hoy pedalled his way to Olympic immortality in Beijing and despite the McLaren man joining an elite list of multiple world champions, a certain golfer has lit up the sporting sphere in 2014.

Rory McIlroy is the worthy 4/9 favourite for the Beeb’s top sporting gong, while Hamilton looks set for a hat-trick of runner-up spots, behind the Ulsterman at 13/8 for first place, but, Nicole Scherzinger’s boyfriend is the rightful 4/6 market leader for second.

Not since Sir Nick Faldo way back in 1989 has a golfer claimed the SPOTY prize, but then not since Tiger Woods in his pomp has someone taken this universally popular sport by storm in the fashion McIlroy has this year.

Still only 25, McIlory won back-to-back majors this summer taking his tally to four overall.

By securing The Open Championship the Holywood native completed the third leg of golf’s grand slam and in doing so became the first European to win three separate majors.

As if these achievements weren’t enough, McIlroy won the European Tour’s Race To Dubai standings and finishes 2014 as world number one; all in a year’s work.

The 1st McIroy/2nd Hamilton straight forecast has to be snaffled up at 8/13 as a result.

Meanwhile, Jo Pavey is yet another laudable favourite for third spot, having become the oldest-ever female athlete to win a European Championship gold in the 10k.

Although not a household name, Pavey’s story is so inspirational – she only given birth ten months before taking part in Zurich – voters are bound to be receptive.

Furthermore, athletics has featured among the top three prizes in five of the last six years.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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