Early I know, but this is the time to do the research and get in with initial thoughts. In a year without a World Cup, Euro's and especially the Olympics to provide heroes, the market is a lot smaller. The past winners in these years are more drawn from ball sports. Let us form a shortlist now of this years main contenders:
Andy Murray - Has to win a Grand Slam to win it. Better odds backing that instead.
Lewis Hamilton - Not good value.
A. Cricketer - Possible, can't tell which one yet. Cook could be a lively outsider if he scores like Gooch did in 1990.
Ricky Hatton - Must beat Pacquiao to have a chance, which is unlikely.
David Haye - Is my current pick. He is class and good with the media.
Kelly Sotherton - The most likely athlete to win it.
Ian Poulter/Paul Casey/Justin Rose - see Andy Murray.
Laura Robson - Will win it within five years (This is something I would bet big on). She is the one possible real outsider for me at the moment for this year. She is increasingly looking like the real deal and the real deal in Women's Tennis can start causing damage at age 15 - Hingis, Austin, Kournilova etc. I can imagine her getting into Wimbledon via a wildcard and winning a few matches. The Daily Mail etc will champion her. Watch this space. Currently 100's but she will drift on Betfair - when she finally gets on the market!
No odds worth taking yet on anyone. Bide your time.