Christmas bonuses, 13th month bonuses, end-of-the-year commissions, no matter how we try to say that the season is tantamount to having our accounts bled dry, we still have enough disposable income in our wallets to make the occasional sports bet or two. Or maybe even more depending on the quality of presents you bought for your loved ones. So what better way to enjoy the last remaining days of 2012 – and welcome 2013, for that matter – than to lay some wood on some appetizing sports matches scheduled on the holidays, beginning on the 24th.
The Christmas Eve schedule doesn’t look all that busy for a lot of major sports leagues in the world but there are still some games that are worth taking a look at. The Hawaii Bowl, for one, between Fresno State and SMU will be played on this day, as are a couple of European soccer matches, highlighted by an English Premier League encounter between Aston Villa and Chelsea, a pair of French Ligue 1 matches between Toulouse and Sochaux and Marseille and St. Etienne. The Scottish Premier League will also have a game on this day between Hearts and Dundee Utd, and finally a pretty stout encounter between Anderlecht and Genk in Belgium’s Jupiler League.
For all intents and purposes, Christmas Day is all about the NBA. Unofficially christened as the “real” start of the NBA season – a distinction that was placed because of the conclusion of the NFL season a week after – December 25 will have five showcase games, one being played in succession. So yeah, if you’re an NBA fan, your Christmas begins at 12 noon on the 25th when the Boston Celtics take on the Brooklyn Nets. After that, it’s an East-West showdown featuring the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers. The third of the five games is arguably the most intriguing of them all, a Finals rematch between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The five-game calendar is then finished off by the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls on primetime followed by the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers.
While the attention of the sports betting world will be centered on the NBA during Christmas, Boxing Day is all about UK soccer. A full slate of EPL, Championship, League One, and League Two matches will be played on the 26th with some pretty juicy encounters on the horizon. Similarly, Scotland’s SPL will also have a full pack of games. Over in the States, December 26 will have the Little Caesars Bowl between Western Kentucky and Central Michigan.
Moving on to December 30, you’ll get a full treat of football games as Week 17 in the NFL will have plenty of huge match-ups in the calendar, a lot of whom could have enormous play-off implications. Based on the current standings and not taking into account the results of Week 16, more than half of the games played in Week 17 will have a whole lot riding in them, be it play-off seedings, wild card entries, and on the other end of the spectrum, draft implications. Taking a look at what’s on tap, expect Green Bay Packers – Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens – Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans – Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles – New York Giants, and Dallas Cowboys – Washington Redskins to all have some serious wood laid on them.
Likewise, the NBA will have a regular schedule of games on tap for the 30th, the 31st, and January 1st.
The EPL, which seems to be the only major soccer league that has no concept of a holiday break – every other league like Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, and France’s Ligue 1 won’t return to action until the 7th of January the earliest – will also have a schedule of games on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, beginning with QPR and Liverpool on the 31st and West Brom – Fulham, Swansea – Aston Villa, Manchester City – Stoke City, Wigan – Manchester United, West Ham – Norwich, and Tottenham – Reading.
And finally, college football’s Bowl Season continues on the 31st and the 1st of January, highlighted by the Capital One Bowl between Georgia and Nebraska, the Orange Bowl between Northern Illinois and Florida State, and the Rose Bowl between Stanford and Wisconsin.