The Express, in my opinion, is just being stupid. By their definition, anyone who doesn't appear in person can't win. So what about the people nominated in the overseas category? Andy will also be unlikely to be the only athlete who will be training abroad when the SPOTY is announced. It seems to me that they have a specific agenda in singling Andy out here, and it's pathetic.
To be fair, they weren't having a go at him. They were simply stating the fact that the betting odds for him winning had lengthened since it became known he wasn't turning up. This is true according to at least one betting site. Andy is one of the front-runners for the award, and his name gets mentioned whenever the award gets mentioned. If they are singling him out by naming him, it's because he's one of the favourites.
It isn't a judgement on him, more an observation on what factors affect a person's decision to vote. Some people will know in advance exactly who they think deserves it. Many will decide on the night, and I bet there will be a few who never intended to vote who end up voting for around five different athletes because they've had a glass of wine and all the positive memories from the Summer have come flooding back. Those are the people who are more likely to pick up the phone and vote for someone they've seen sitting in the audience looking keen or wearing a nice frock.
The international award is irrelevant, because it's decided in advance by a panel, which is probably because the voting public are too easily influenced by things like who turns up, or who has done the most UK chat shows saying how much they love the UK etc.
Wiggins odds have also lengthened, supposedly because they think the public will be put off cycling with all of the scandals, while Mo Farrah is holding strong.
I've no idea how voting will pan out. Andy and Bradley do have a massive advantage in having achieved something huge away from the Olympics and getting the media attention that goes with that all to themselves, but I get the feeling a lot of people loved the Olympics so much they will want to reward the athletes whose sports are mainly associated with the Olympics. They might think that Jess Ennis will benefit more from the accolade, and they'd probably be right!