Katarina Johnson-Thompson celebrates after winning gold in the Women's 800m Heptathlon during day two of the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

Athletics Gold Winners Fail to Impress the SPOTY Bookies

Gold medal success for Josh Kerr and Katarina Johnson-Thompson at the World Athletics Championship has not dramatically changed the complexion of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) betting markets.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson celebrates after winning gold in the Women's 800m Heptathlon during day two of the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson regained her World Athletics Championship Heptathlon crown in 2023. Will she now receive some love from the SPOTY judging panel – and voters? ©GettyImages

England’s failure to win the Ashes and the women’s national team’s loss in the World Cup final seemingly threw the door open for a candidate from the world of athletics to put themselves in a prime position for the coveted annual award.

However, despite victory in Budapest, neither 30-year-old Johnson-Thompson nor Scotsman Josh Kerr have vaulted themselves to the top of the SPOTY betting. Both can be backed on 14/1-plus. Candidates from the world of Athletics may have taken this award a record 18 times, but only one track-and-field star has won the prize since 2004.

Will Broad Have a Smile on His Face Come Awards Night?

Despite cricket’s Ashes returning to Australia, it is Stuart Broad the bookmakers believe will win the SPOTY award in December. The BetVictor online betting site currently offers the industry’s top price of 13/8 on the 37-year-old taking the prize that will be awarded in December.

At the end of the third day of the fifth 2023 Ashes Test, Broad announced his intention to retire from all formats and all levels of cricket following the conclusion of the series. He took the last two wickets of the fifth Ashes Test on his final day in action to draw the series.

Stuart Broad, there are no words.#EnglandCricket| #Ashes pic.twitter.com/yy2MQmviBk

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 31, 2023

The history books will forever show the bowler took 604 wickets in 167 Tests. Now, a new career as a commentator for Sky Sports beckons. Conspiracy theorists may question how the BBC, organizers, and broadcasters of the Sports Personality of the Year award will feel about this move when their panel decides on its shortlist.

Could Goalkeeper Earps Find the Net?

Interestingly, very few firms have Mary Earps listed in their SPOTY betting. The winner of the Golden Glove award at the 2023 FIFA World Cup is 5/1 with the online betting sites that have included her in their market. These odds make Earps the second favorite ahead of Frankie Dettori.

Offering 6/1, Betfred is the online gambling site that is least enamored with the chances of the retiring jockey. Tony McCoy, the 2010 SPOTY winner, is the only person from the field of horse racing to have won the award. Dettori finished third in the 1996 SPOTY by virtue of his ‘Magnificent Seven’ – a day at the races so famous it even has an online slot named in its honor.

Next on the list is Ben Stokes. Quoting 12/1, Paddy Power offers the most generous odds on the cricketer. Form students will know he won the 2019 SPOTY courtesy of England’s success in the Cricket World Cup.

Will the Public Warm to the All-Rounder?

Heptathlete Johnson-Thompson was also SPOTY nominated in 2019 but failed to finish in the top three of the voting. That year, she took her first World Championship title. Will the voting public be warmer to her in 2023 now she is a double world champion? Her 14/1 odds suggest not.



Katarina Johnson-Thompson is a double Heptathlon World Champion 🤩👏 pic.twitter.com/m3OZuHgO7P

— Eurosport (@eurosport) August 20, 2023

The recently crowned Men’s 1,500 Meter World Champion, Josh Kerr, has bookmakers divided. His SPOTY odds range from William Hill’s cautious 5/1 quote to a dismissive 33/1 offered by Paddy Power.

In a distinctly ordinary year for British sport with very few highlights, 40/1 and greater is available about any other contender. Is it possible – as was the case in 2021 when Emma Raducanu came from obscurity to win the US Tennis Open and then SPOTY – there is a live longshot waiting in the wings?

Rory Has the Ball in His Court

Next week, England, Scotland, and Wales will begin an assault on the Rugby World Cup. Trading at 16/1, England is the shortest in the betting of the trio for the seven-week tournament. Owen Farrell will captain the England side. He is top-priced at 80/1 in the current SPOTY betting.

Diehard golf fans have the Ryder Cup dates circled on their calendar. The 2023 event, staged in Rome, begins on September 29th. It is another event that could deliver much-needed success and see a superstar performance from a Brit.

Englishman Luke Donald is Team Europe’s captain, and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy will be among his players. Many were shocked when the 34-year-old golfing star did not receive a SPOTY nomination in 2022.

In 2014 – a year when he won the Open Championship and PGA Championship and was part of the Europe team that retained the Ryder Cup – McIlory was nominated but also beaten, at odds of 2/7, by Lewis Hamilton in the SPOTY vote count.

Frankie Is a Proven Winner

Two-thirds of the way into 2023, the destiny of the Sports Personality of the Year picture is very clouded. It is difficult to predict the identity of any of the six sportspeople that will ultimately be nominated.

It is possible authorities could repay the retiring Frankie Dettori for his services to horseracing with an orchestrated funded PR campaign. AP McCoy enjoyed the benefits of a similar charm offensive when winning the 2010 SPOTY award.

Dettori, despite being Italian, fulfills the current SPOTY qualification criteria. He has won two Classics and the Gold Cup this season – and ‘winning’ in 2023 is not a term that applies to many of the current short-priced contenders.

Success in the St Leger, the Melbourne Cup, or the Hong Kong International meeting – conveniently just a week before the SPOTY live show is broadcast – will boost Dettori’s chances dramatically. He may not win, but in terms of betting value, he stands out at the current odds.

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Josh Kerr of Great Britain following the Men’s 1500-meter final during day five of the World Athletics.

Author: James Richardson