Christmas time always sees bookmakers unveil a host of 2016 markets, part designed to grab newspaper and magazine headlines, seemingly part designed to fleece you out of money.
Some of the eventualities they are offering as 2015 draws to a close are not only mindless, they also offer no value whatsoever. Nevertheless, if you do think Ireland will sell the most campervans in the EU during 2016 Paddy Power will give you 14/1!
The same company make Jessica Ennis-Hill their 8/1 favourite to win Sports Personality of the Year 2016. They opened their book on this market before the arena used for SPOTY 2015 had been vacated and before the voting figures were made public. They showed third-placed finisher, Ennis-Hill polled just 79,898 as opposed to winner Andy Murray who received 361,446.
Paddy Power also have a market on the name of Andy Murray’s first-born child which is due to make an appearance early in 2016. Andrew is their 8/1 favourite and William 10/1 second best. William (available at 12/1 with Betfair) is the name of Murray’s father so you can see where the Irish betting firm are coming from, but as it’s even-money his wife delivers a boy or a girl, once again there is no real value in their prices.
Briefly returning to the Sports Personality, bet365 are offering 1/3 about the 2016 SPOTY award winner being an Olympian. Now, whilst 2012 SPOTY winner Bradley Wiggins did not win an Olympic medal in the 2012 games he did take part meaning, by definition, he was an Olympian.
2008 SPOTY winner, Chris Hoy certainly did win medals at the Olympics as did 2004 SPOTY winner Kelly Holmes and Steve Redgrave in 2000. So this one looks a no-brainer.
Eastenders has become the UK’s most popular soap opera by some way and, because of this, Betfair are offering a host of markets on ‘Key Events in the Queen Vic’ in 2016. To clarify the Queen Vic is the fictitious pub used in the show and during the past 30 years pretty much everything has happened within it.
Obviously 1/66 about a fight happening there represents no value but the 3/1 about a murder on the premises? There have ‘only’ been three deaths inside the pub to-date, but three outside of it which come under the ‘licenced area’. What’s more the Queen Vic has not played host to a good old murder since Christmas Day 2009 since Archie Mitchell got banged over the head by Stacey Branning. Suffice to say one is overdue!
Meanwhile, back in the real world…
One of the most intriguing novelty betting market’s is the identity of the person that will appear on the next £20 note.
The chosen character will be made known in the spring of 2016. Author and illustrator Beatrix Potter is Betfair’s current favourite at 7/2 but she has been subject of support at bigger prices.
Even so odds compilers believe the final decision will be a tightly run race and four contenders are trading at single figures: Landscape painter J.M.W Turner is challenging for favouritism at 4/1. Matchstick men painter L.S Lowry is 6/1 and poet, painter and printmaker William Blake 15/2.
Sticking with the real world, well as much as you can when talking about the Next James Bond… Damian Lewis has been backed down from 50/1 to 7/4 favourite (shortest at Ladbrokes) to be the next actor to play 007. Admittedly he is 5/2 with William Hill and Unibet but Betfair’s 5/1 is the stand-out price.
The Homeland star has been touted by a series of newspapers as heading producer’s ‘wish list’ should and when Daniel Craig finally quit the role. If 44-year-old Lewis does not take the part the bookmakers say Tom Hardy, top-priced 5/2 with Skybet and BetVictor), is going to be the next man wearing an expensive suit and driving an Aston Martin.
If you do choose to invest in this particular race do be mindful that Daniel Craig is contracted make a fifth and final Bond film and so your pay-day may not come around in 2016.
Another stand-out from the film/movie genre is Ladbrokes 4/1 about Michael Fassbender winning the Oscar for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. This is a proposition I really like and not just because none of the dozen other companies which are pricing-up this market are going bigger than 11/4.
Put simply, biographical films have fared tremendously well at the Oscars in recent times. Last year Eddie Redmayne collected the award for portraying Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Before that Matthew McConaughey took the award for another biographical portrayal in Dallas Buyers Club.
The 2012 winner’s film (Lincoln) was historical/biographical as was 2010’s (The King’s Speech). 2009’s winner (Crazy Heart) was loosely based on a real-life character. 2008’s winner was biographical as were the films 2004 and 2005 Best Actor winners: Milk, Capote and Ray …it’s all I have to go on but it is a strong case. Back the strongest candidate from the biographical film category – Michael Fassbender for his portrayal of Steve Jobs