Plenty of value in backing a footballer to land SPOTY podium

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This year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year conundrum is quite simple. If you didn’t feature in the Olympics this summer in Brazil, then you really haven’t got much of a chance.

No fewer than 14 of this year’s nominees took part in Rio, but we think there may be value in backing two names who didn’t head to South America.

With Andy Murray 1/7 to win this Sunday’s accolade, followed by Alistair Brownlee, there isn’t much hope for everyone else, with the betting starting at 25/1.

But our traders have priced up the odds for a top three finish, and that’s where the value could lie.

Gareth Bale and Jamie Vardy are the only non-Olympians on the 2016 list, but both could land themselves a podium spot.

Granted, a footballer hasn’t won SPOTY since 2009 – coincidentially Bale’s compatriot Ryan Giggs – but both Bale and Vardy have reached extraordinary heights in the past 12 months.

The former lead Wales to a famous semi-final run at the European Championships, and it’s perfectly plausible that the Red Dragons’ skipper receives enough votes from his homeland to bag a spot on the podium.

The Real Madrid star is 5/1 for a top three finish, just ahead of Vardy at 6s.

The Leicester City striker broke the Premier League records for scoring in consecutive games last season, en route to firing the Foxes to a famous 5000/1 success.

Vardy’s performances last season completed a remarkable rise from non-league obscurity, and a film is now in the pipeline to capture his story.

With so many Olympians on the bill, it’s very possible they might actually take votes off each other, leaving the football lovers, Welsh fans, Leicester City supporters and just those few who don’t even like the Olympics – they do exist – to vote for Bale and Vardy.

Murray and Brownlee look dead-set for a 1-2 finish, but from a punter’s point of view, the race for third is where the interest lies.

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

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.