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Murray will win title but Chris Froome is the best SPOTY bet of the night

Since leaving London in 2006 and going on the road, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony has visited five northern cities.

However one man who won’t be heading to Leeds for this year’s event is the red-hot favourite Andy Murray.

Murray is the 1/20 favourite but will not be on hand to pick up any prize as he is currently in America recovering from back surgery.

Back surgery he had in September.

However whilst Murray has put his training ahead of attending the 60th BBC Sports Personality, it appears unlikely to stop him lifting the prize.

Bet on Andy Murray to win SPOTY at 1/20

The Scot won the men’s singles at Wimbledon in July – becoming the first Brit to lift the trophy since Fred Perry 77 years earlier – and absolutely deserves to win the prize.

His achievement, in 40 degrees heat, was monumental and was reward for months of hard work having lost in the final 12 months earlier.

Murray said: “I think I persevered. That’s really been it, the story of my career probably.

“I had a lot of tough losses, but the one thing I would say is I think every year I always improved a little bit.”

God loves a trier, so they say, and so do the British public.

This competition is no longer about which of the various sporting figures are most liked in lean years, as in the days of David Beckham (2001 winner) and Zara Phillips (2006).

But a celebration of great sporting achievement, through hard work, grit and determination, typified by Dame Kelly Holmes (2004), Sir Chris Hoy (2008), Tony McCoy (2010) and Sir Bradley Wiggins (2012).

Murray, like he isn’t the most ascetically pleasing tennis player to watch, doesn’t have the most endearing personality.

But Britain no longer cares.

Bet on Andy Murray to win SPOTY at 1/20

A sometimes dour and surly Wimbledon winner beats an amiable US Open losing finalist (Greg Rusedski, 1997) in ‘SPOTY Top Trumps’ every day of the week.

For that reason, there is no point opposing Murray in the outright betting as – despite his absence and his dry personality – one replay of that fine day in July will have the public remembering why this award exists.

However there are some tasty bets to be landed in the other markets, all involving Chris Froome.

The Tour De France winner emulated the achievement of compatriot Sir Bradley Wiggins when landing the historic title by over four minutes.

Bet on Chris Froome to be in top 3 at 11/4

We know that cycling is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and Britain has really taken to voting for cyclists in this competition.

Wiggins won with 492,064 votes 12 months ago – nearly 120,000 more than runner-up Jessica Ennis – whilst Hoy and Cavendish have also picked up the top prize over the last five years.

Froome is battling it out with AP McCoy and Mo Farah for the places this year.

McCoy won the award in 2010 and the iron man of horse racing has this season recorded the unbelievable figure of 4000 career winners.

However he won the Grand National in 2010 and, without wanting to belittle his achievement, he hasn’t achieved anything in 2013 that he hasn’t been doing for 20 years – riding winner after winner.

Bet on Chris Froome to finish second at 5/1

Farah was fourth last year and that was remarkable given that he had completed the 5,000 and 10,000 metres double at the London Olympics that summer.

His number of votes was nearly 100,000 less than the third (Murray) and it’s hard to see where a surcharge of votes will emerge from despite completing the same double in the World Athletics Championships this year.

Froome can be backed at 5/1 to finish second tonight, however the safer option of 11/4 to finish in the top three is definitely a wager worth placing.