We’re ringing 2014 the only way we know how: drinking, gambling, and like always, carrying on.
But even if we’re going to celebrate the revelry of a new year, it doesn’t mean that we’re leaving the fun all to ourselves. The first day of the new year will have a whole plate of matches that we can all indulge a little bet or two in and if you’re pockets aren’t too disheveled from the holidays, maybe you can also start 2014 on the right betting foot.
The UK is a ripe spot for some sports betting, thanks to a full calendar of football matches, from the Premier League all the way to Conference leagues. There aren’t any marquee matches on the first of January, but there are some appetizing games that will directly affect the top – and bottom – of the Premier League standings. How’s Swansea and Manchester City, for you? How about Arsenal against Cardiff, or Liverpool versus Hull City? Maybe have some helpings of Southampton taking on Chelsea? Those games should favor all the top teams, but who’s willing to take a side that at least one of those games will have a wonky finish?
With a lot of people still in the holiday mood, maybe a slip-up of one of the top teams is in the cards. Keep an eye out on that.
English football isn’t the only one on tap in the British islands on New Year’s day. The Scottish Premier League will have its lights on, as will the Welsh and Northern Ireland top leagues.
On the other side of the Atlantic, both the NBA and the NHL will have their own packed schedules, highlighted by a tasty NBA encounter between the Portland Trailblazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder on New Year’s Eve, followed by what should be a high-scoring tussle between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Minnesota Timberwolves on New Year’s Day.
On the ice, New Year’s Eve will see the San Jose Sharks against the Anaheim Ducks, the Pittsburgh Penguins taking on the New Jersey Devils, and the Los Angeles Kings versus the Dallas Stars.
And let’s not forget the Winter Classic on the 1st of January, the NHL’s marquee game of the year that in itself has turned into a spectacle on its own. This year, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings, two of the most storied franchises in league history, take to the rink in the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan in a game that could pack as many as 50,000 fans inside the stadium.
Finally, the pigskin is going to be thrown around a whole lot, both on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day. Just before we turn the calendar, college football will have four bowl games on the docket, none more interesting, at least in our opinion, than the Chick-fil-A-Bowl featuring no less than Johnny Football and the 21st ranked Texas A&M taking on the surprising 24th ranked Duke Blue Devils.
But when the new year rolls around, college football will be on the entire day with a total of six games, including some of the best matches on the bowl schedule: No. 19 Wisconsin against No. 9 South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl; Iowa against No. 16 LSU in the Outback Bowl; and No. 4 Michigan State taking on no. 5 Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
On the second day of the new year, only one bowl game will be on the schedule, and it’s going to be a doozy. The defending champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide, will not be around to defend their title, but they still figure to play in a hellacious encounter with No. 11 ranked Oklahoma Sooners in the Sugar Bowl.
Similar exciting encounters are on tap on the 3rd with the Cotton Bowl featuring No. 13 Oklahoma State taking on No 8. Missouri, and the Orange Bowl with No. 12 Clemson locking helmets with No. 7 Ohio State.
And then there’s the big one. January 6th in Pasadena, California. The No. 2 ranked Auburn Tigers will take on the No. 1 ranked Florida State Seminoles and recently-crowned Heisman winner Jameis Winston for all the marbles in the BCS Championship game.
Here’s to hoping that fake/dead girlfriends don’t ruin the game for us like it did last year.