Captain marvel Kevin Sinfield is now third favourite with the bookies for Sports Personality of the Year, with more votes being cast for the competition in Yorkshire than anywhere else in the country.
Sinfield took Leeds Rhinos to sensational trible success this year and was a rank outsider when the nominations were announced last month.
However rugby fans are putting their money where their mouths are by backing Sinfield with the winner to be announced on Sunday.
Bookie Betfred have revealed that treble-winning Sinfield – known as Sir Kev to Leeds Rhinos adoring fans - was a 66/1 outsider but he’s been heavily backed at Betfred and is now 7/1 behind 15/8 Sheffield based Jessica Ennis-Hill and the 4/5 favourite Andy Murray.
If the popularity of the Oldham-born ex Rhinos and England captain continues to surge he’ll make history as the first SPOTY winner to have made his name in the “northern” sport of rugby league.
The bookie also revealed that more people from Yorkshire than anywhere else nationwide have put bets on the 12 nominees with not surprisingly Sinfield and Ennis-Hill their most top choices.
THis year’s shortlist has proved controversial with recently-crowned World Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury’s inclusion attracting criticism owing to his outspoken views on women and homosexuality. There was also no place for any of England’s Ashes winning cricket team or Wayne Rooney who broke the all-time goal scoring record for England.
Betfred spokesman Peter Spencer said: “With two stars in the top three it is no surprise that Yorkshire is the first county to have wagered more than £100,000 although, as you would expect, there is phenomenal support in Scotland for Murray. Sir Kev’s switch to rugby union with Leeds Carnegie won’t have done his chances any harm.
“Along with the big betting swing on Sinfield, Fury’s inclusion has dramatically affected the SPOTY market.”
The winner will be announced on BBC1 on Sunday evening.