Every year in December BBC announces a number of sports related awards for the best sporting performances of the year. The main award is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, which goes to the British sportsperson Ã¢â‚¬Å“whose actions have most captured the publicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s imaginationÃ¢â‚¬Â. In 2010 the award was given to the Irish jockey Tony McCoy. Past winners include Bobby Moore, Ian Botham and Sebastian Coe.
Though it is very early days for the 2011 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, some of the UK online betting sites have opened the market already. One such online betting site is Bet365.com. The odds offered for the top five favorites make interesting reading.
Leading the pack is tennis player Andrew Murray (in picture) with odds of 5/1. This Scottish sports person has reached the finals of the last two Australian Opens and the semi finals of the last two Wimbledon events. The online betting site Bet365.com has given Murray odds of 4/1 to win the 2011 Wimbledon in June.
Athlete Jessica Ennis is second on the list. She has been given odds of 13/2 by Bet365.com to win the BBC Sports personality of the year award. She is the current world and European heptathlon champion and world indoor pentathlon champion.
Next on the list is the captain of the England cricket team, Andrew Strauss. He has odds of 8/1. The team is presently competing for the ICC World Cup in the Indian sub continent and Strauss is leading from the front. His century was instrumental in England tying with favorites India in their head on encounter last night. At 10/3 he has the shortest odds for being the best batsman in the tournament. Should England win the World Cup, StraussÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ chances of winning the BBC award will soar.
With odds of 12/1 David Haye the English professional boxer and current WBA World Heavyweight Champion is next on the list. He shares these odds with Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, who is with team McLaren. After winning the championship in 2008, Hamilton has had a tough time the last two years. The online betting site Bet365.com has given him odds of 5/1 to win the 2011 Formula 1 Drivers Championships.
The first leg of the round of 16 in the soccer UEFA Champions League was played between February 15 and February 23. The results have thrown up some interesting positions. The online betting sites have already reacted to some of the upsets. The second leg will be played from March 8 to March 16 with the home and away positions reversed. That will decide which eight teams will get knocked out and which eight teams will go through to the quarter finals.
The biggest surprise so far was the 2-1 defeat of Barcelona to Arsenal. Now, in order to go to the next round Barcelona has to beat Arsenal by at least 2 goals when the two teams meet on March 8. At the online betting site Sportsbook.com Barcelona was favorites to win the UEFA Champions League with odds of 9/4 before the round of 16 began. This loss has not resulted in significant difference in the odds. In fact Barcelona remains the favorites with slightly shortened odds of 21/10. Clearly the punters at the betting sites are expecting Barcelona to thrash Arsenal.
The next favorite is Real Madrid with odds of 4/1. Real Madrid also did not fare as expected in the first leg. It tied with not so fancied team of Lyon and now needs to beat Lyon to go through without the complicated rules coming into play. The third favorite as of now is Chelsea with odds of 9/2 at Sportsbook.com. Chelsea beat Kobenhavn in their game.
The results of the other first le matches were as follows: Tottenham beat Milan; Schalke tied with Valencia; Shakhtar Donesk beat Roma; Manchester United tied with Marseille and Bayern beat Internazionale. Kobenhavn is not given any chance at the online soccer betting sites. Sportsbook.com gives it odds of 1000/1.
The most exciting and keenly contested match of the second leg of the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League will be that between Barcelona and Arsenal. At Sportsbook.com the odds for Barcelona winning the reverse game are 8/25 and the odds of winning by a margin of over two goals are 2/5. The odds for arsenal winning are long at 13/2.
The Academy Awards, popularly known as Oscars, are the most popular and most prestigious awards in the international film fraternity. The awards will be announced at a glittering ceremony on Sunday February 27 and this week is being celebrated as Oscar Week by entertainment related television channels and web sites. Online betting sites also offer markets on the Academy Awards. In fact these markets have been open for quite some time.
The odds offered for the various categories of prizes do not remain the same. They keep changing based on the wagering pattern exhibited at the betting sites. The Academy Awards are preceded by some other notable film awards and the results at these awards are reflected in the betting patterns. The BAFTA awards, which are the British equivalent of the Oscars, were recently announced. The KingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Speech swept the BAFTA awards leading to heavy betting on this movie for the Oscars. The odds for the KingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Speech were noticeably shortened as a result.
BetUS.com is a popular US online betting site and offers attractive markets for the Academy Awards. In the middle of January 2011 the favorite for winning the Best Picture award was The Social Network at 2/11, which was followed by The KingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Speech at 2/1. Today this position has dramatically reversed. The odds for The KingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Speech are 1/9 and that for The Social Network are 7/2.
The award for the Best Director tells a similar story. David Fincher the director of The Social Network is still the favorite but the odds have changed from 1/14 in January to 1/2 today. Over the last month the odds on Tom Hooper, the director of The KingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Speech, have shortened from 8/1 to even money.
The online betting site BetUS.com offers odds for 15 other awards categories. Colin Firth for Best Actor and Natalie Portman for Best Actress are so overwhelming favorites that BetUS.com has stopped accepting wagers on them. The odds shown are 0/1. Alice in Wonderland is the favorite for Best Costume Design, and is also a strong contender in Best Art Direction. But in most categories the fight is between The Social Network and The KingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Speech.
The 2011 season of Formula 1 is set to start in March with the first race in Bahrain. 20 Races are listed on the calendar ending in Brazil in November. India has been included for the first time in the Formula 1 circuit. Though October 30 has been fixed as the race day, it carries the tag of Ã¢â‚¬Å“to be confirmedÃ¢â‚¬Â. Let us hope that no disappointing news emerges later in the year.
Most sports betting sites have opened the online betting for the outright winners in the drivers and the constructors championships. These are decided at the end of the season based on the cumulative points awarded in individual races for the finish positions. In 2010 Sebastian Vettel representing RBR Renault had secured first place in the drivers championships. He beat Fernando Alonso of Ferrari by a narrow margin of 4 points. It is hardly surprising that these two are equal favorites for the 2011 season. BetUS.com offers odds of 3.25 for each of them. The betting site Bet365.com offers better odds at 3.60. While betting online it is easier to compare odds across betting sites using the decimal format rather than the fractional format. Mark Weber who finished third in 2010 is surprisingly lower down at the betting sites right now.
In the constructors championships in 2010 RBR Renault, nicknamed Red Bull, had won quite comfortably. They had been represented by Vettel and Weber. They are continuing with the same team this year. Red Bull is the favorite at both the betting sites with odds of 2.50. Mclaren and Ferrari follow close behind, with Bet365.com offering slightly better odds. All the other constructors have much longer odds and are really not in the reckoning.
Hardcore Formula 1 aficionados should check out the official web site. Quite a few of the constructors have made changes in the design of their cars ahead of the season. Williams has added innovative rear packing, Ferrari has made changes in the oil tanks and McLaren has introduced L shaped sidepods. In the month left for the first race fans can check out what experts have to say about these changes. March 13 is the first race at Bahrain and the online betting markets for that race will open shortly before that.
The Cricket World Cup will kick off on February 17. It is being hosted by the Indian subcontinent countries of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Fourteen of the best cricket teams in the world will vie for the coveted trophy. The teams are already in the subcontinent playing warm up matches. Yesterday, in one such game, the favorites India beat Australia amidst high drama.
The first match of the Cricket world cup will be held in Dhaka in Bangladesh when India will play Bangladesh. It will be preceded by an inauguration ceremony as is the custom in such sporting events. The International Cricket Council has roped in the singing sensation Bryan Adams to perform at the inauguration ceremony. Adams is presently performing in India. A spokesperson on his behalf said that Adams will sing three songs with his band, but refused to divulge which songs. Top Indian singers Sonu Nigam and Shankar Mahadeven will also perform.
Betting online sites are offering markets for the Cricket World Cup. Bodog.com is one of the most popular cricket betting sites. Till sometime back it was offering odds only for the outright winner but now the complete range of bets are on offer, including the outcomes of individual games. In the inaugural game India are overwhelming favorites with odds of 1/9. Bangladesh has odds of 11/2. But Bangladesh has surprised India before and is this time playing at home.
The most exciting Cricket World Cup markets are listed under Specials at Bodog.com. The Top Tournament Run Scorer is bound to be a favorite market. In the subcontinent the wickets are flat and cricket fans are expecting a run feast. Four players emerge as favorites at Bodog.com with odds of 14/1. These are the South Africans Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis and Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Tendulkar (in picture) holds every batting record in One Day International, the format for the Cricket World Cup. These include most runs, most centuries and highest score. He is the only cricketer with an individual score of 200 in this format.
India continues to remain the favorites for the outright winner with odds of 3/1. The final will be played in India and so far no team has lifted the World Cup in its home country. One billion Indians are hoping that their team will break this jinx.