SPOTY: Murray is nailed on but there’s plenty of value without him

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The BBC have revealed their list of 16 contenders for 2016 Sports Personality of the Year, and as usual, discussion has raged over who should and shouldn’t be included.

We won’t get into that here, but at 1/6, Andy Murray is one of the strongest Sports Personality of the Year favourites for some time.

It’s shouldn’t be a surprise, given his incredible success this year, including a second Wimbledon title and a second Olympic gold medal. And of course, Murray finally became world number one and claimed a record nine ATP titles this season.

Given the 29-year-old also won this award last year and in 2013, we don’t think that even the bizarre nature of 2016 can deny him here.

Thankfully, the Winner Without Andy Murray market offers plenty of potential to keep things interesting on December 18.

Naturally, in an Olympic year, and with the British contingent producing one of their best ever medal tallies in Rio, this year’s SPOTY list reads like an Olympian roll call.

No fewer than 13 of this year’s nominees participated in Brazil.

And leading the charge Without Murray is Alistair Brownlee at 4/5.

The Yorkshireman became the first man to retain the Olympic men’s triathlon title, but that alone won’t necessarily win him votes over fellow GB winners.

What may well do it though was his selfless actions in the Triathlon World Series in Mexico, when he helped his exhausted brother Jonny over the line in one of 2016’s greatest sporting moments.

But if you think the great British public are too cold hearted to fall for that, Laura Kenny and Mo Farah are each next up at 4/1.

Cyclist Kenny – then going by her maiden name Trott – became the first British woman to win four Olympic golds this year, and cycling has proven mightily popular here in the past.

Between 2008 and 2012, three of the five winners were cyclists, and Kenny’s other potential asset is that she’s one half of Britain’s golden Olympic couple, marrying fellow gold medallist Jason Kenny this year.

And then there’s Mo. Everybody loves Mo. The long-distance runner produced a stunning display in Brazil to win his second Olympic double across 5 and 10,000m, overcoming a fall in the latter.

Farah finished third in the 2011 SPOTY, and came fourth in 2012 on the back of his famous London success.

Finally, of the three non-Olympians in the running, Gareth Bale leads Jamie Vardy and Danny Willett in the betting.

The Wales captain memorably led his country to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, and if the Welsh vote is strong enough, could be well worth backing at 8/1 W/O Murray.

It’s been seven years since a footballer won the award with fellow Welsh legend Ryan Giggs the recipient. Is that a good omen for Galactico Gareth?

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.