Forget Harry Kane, Lewis Hamilton And Tyson Fury - This Welsh Star Should Win The Sports Personality Of The Year Award
The winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award will be announced on Sunday night as the result of a public vote to decide which athlete has achieved the most in 2018 is announced at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.
The glitzy event gets underway at 7pm and we await to see if someone can upset the odds in the manner of Mo Farah, who was a shock winner twelve months ago as he beat the bookmakers' favourite Anthony Joshua to the crown.
It is Harry Kane who is the bookies' 6/4 favourite this time. The Tottenham Hotspur striker won the Golden Boot award with six goals during England's memorable run to the World Cup semi-finals last summer, albeit three of those goals were penalties! Has he done enough to justify winning the SPOTY? We don't think so.
There have only been three English winners of the SPOTY award in the past eleven years and only five footballers have taken the title in the history of the event since it was first held back in 1954.
Latest SPOTY Odds:
5/4 Harry Kane
5/2 Geraint Thomas
11/2 Lewis Hamilton
14/1 Ronnie O'Sullivan
14/1 Tyson Fury
14/1 Dina Asher-Smith
The 2014 SPOTY winner, Lewis Hamilton, has strong claims after claiming a fifth Formula One World Championship. The brash F1 star is something of a Marmite figure, both for fans of Formula One and sport in general, and we wonder whether he will have enough support from the general public.
The same could be said of Ronnie O'Sullivan as he claimed his seventh UK Championship crown to a backdrop of talk of creating breakaway snooker events. Could he be the first snooker player to win the SPOTY award since Steve Davis in 1988?
Tyson Fury is another Marmite figure, although the reputation of the self-proclaimed 'Gypsy King' has soared since his drawn fight with Deontay Wilder. The boxer has attracted plenty of controversy during his career, but he will enjoy the benefit of a strong support from boxing fans. He could represent each-way value for those looking for a bet, with Fury currently 14/1 and most bookmakers are paying each-way terms on three places.
Contenders from the world of athletics tend to do well at the SPOTY awards as there have been 19 winners, 14 runners up and 19 third place finishes from athletes. With that in mind, Dina Asher Smith shouldn't be ruled out after breaking national records for the 100m during a stellar season that saw her win both individual golds at the European Championships.
However, Geraint Thomas is arguably the most deserving winner this year. The Welsh cyclist has won three World Championships and two Olympic gold medals during his career, and he now has a Tour De France title to his name.
Thomas served his dues as a 'domestique' to Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome during their Tour De France victories, before stepping out of their shadow to win the Grand Tour in France earlier this year. He was the first Welsh cyclist to win the Tour De France and it is fair to assume that he will get plenty of votes from a partisan and hugely patriotic Welsh public.
Five cyclists have finished in the top-three of the SPOTY award over the years, with four winning the title, and the Welsh have a decent record of getting their men to the title - Joe Calzaghe won the title in 2007 and Ryan Giggs took the spoils in 2009, while Leigh Halfpenny finished second in 2013. We expect the Welsh dragons to roar Thomas to glory this year!