Nothing unusual in Andy Murray making the Wimbledon semis but Friday's opponent has come as a major surprise. It seemed a forgone conclusion that Murray would have to get past the mighty obstacle of Rafa Nadal in the last four but the Spaniard's early exit means all the Scot has to do is beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to become the first British male to contest the men's singles final since 1938. Sky Bet make Murray just 4/9 to make it through, with Tsonga the 7/4 outsider. Murray is 9/4 to win in straight sets, 11/4 to win 3-1 and 5/1 to come through a five-setter. Tsonga meanwhile is 8/1 to blow Murray away 3-0, 6/1 to win 3-1 and 13/2 to win in five. The good news for Murray is that he's beaten Tsonga in five of their six meetings and that includes a four sets victory in the 2010 quarters at Wimbledon. Somehow you sense it will be far from easy so the bet I like is for Murray to win an epic five-setter. The 11/2 looks generous.
After winning Euro 2012 in such style, hammering Italy 4-0 in the final, Spain are 4/1 to make it four huge tournament wins in a row by capturing the 2014 World Cup. That makes them second favourites behind hosts Brazil at 7/2 and just in front of Argentina at 5s. Then comes 8/1 Germany, 14/1 Holland and 16/1 Italy. England, who have still never reached the final of a major tournament on foreign soil in the entire history of football, are 18/1. Getting there shouldn't be a problem though and England are 4/9 to top the qualifying group featuring Ukraine, Poland, Montenegro, Moldova and San Marino. Perhaps home advantage can help Team GB win gold in the men's Olympic football although not picking David Beckham - our biggest inspiration and best dead-ball expert, who would have got the fans hyped up - was a monumental own goal. Team GB are 6/1 to strike gold and 1/2 to kick off with a win against Senegal on July 26th.
Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are vying for favouritism going into this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Both are around the 3/1 mark but each has only won one GP all season (this is race nine) while the dodgy weather forecast will potentially further level the playing field. Sky Bet have a number of specials for the big-name drivers. Lewis Hamilton is 7/2 to set the fastest race lap, 11/4 to lead after lap one, 28/1 to retire on the first lap and 13/2 to take pole and win. Jenson Button is 12/1, 16/1, 28/1 and 40/1 in the same markets. The bet I like is Mark Webber at 5/2 to finish on the podium. He won this race in 2010 and also made the top three in 2009 and 2011 while this year he's banked a win and finished fourth on five other occasions so he's very much there or thereabouts. He's made the podium 23 times in his last 48 races which is virtually a 50% strike rate. Therefore 5/2 to do so again looks more than fair.
Betting on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year could go crazy over the next couple of months. What if Andy Murray wins Wimbledon? What if Lee Westwood wins The Open and then holes the winning putt at the Ryder Cup. What if Bradley Wiggins wins the Tour de France? And then, of course, there are all are potential Olympic gold medallists. The current calm-before-the-storm betting from Sky Bet has heptathlete Jessica Ennis as the 11/4 favourite ahead of 7/2 Wiggins and 6/1 Murray. Others of note include 12/1 Rebecca Adlington, 12/1 Mo Farah, 16/1 Tom Daley and 40/1 Westwood, Luke Donald.