Sporting Events To Look Forward To In January 2019
January 1, 2019
New year, new you, new sport to cover yourself from head-to-toe in.
The festive period is usually a frantic time for sports fans with almost daily football, the PDC Darts World Championships, and the King George VI Chase to name but a few, and while January is no different, at least now we don’t have the family getting in the way of all the sporting goodness.
Yes, yes there might be some football on this month. In fact, right from the start we have a monster game as league leaders Liverpool travel to champions Man City. Anything but a win for City could make things insurmountable for the champs to chase down, but a Liverpool loss throws the title race wide open again.
Then the day after it’s FA Cup third round weekend with National League side Tranmere host Tottenham to kick it all off. Just two years we saw Lincoln City dump out Premier League Burnley, but surely Spurs won’t suffer the same fate will they? Will they? Unlikely, I’d say, but we will see another crack at it when Woking play Watford on Sunday. The Woking boss going into the match said, “Let’s get the cards on the table – people say you can make a shock, but you can’t. It’s ridiculous,” which must have instilled a hell of a lot of belief into his players. Or not. The other televised games are Man United (shock) vs Reading and Blackpool vs Arsenal on Saturday, Newport vs Leicester on Sunday, and Wolves vs Liverpool on Monday. The fourth round draw will take place after the game at Molineux and the round will take place on the 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th of Jan.
Then the next day it’s the League Cup semi-final first leg as Tottenham take on Chelsea before Man City host League One side Burton Albion on Wednesday. Burton getting through that tie will probably be a bigger shock than either Tranmere or Woking winning their FA Cup tie. The second legs are on the 22nd and 23rd.
On January 13th we have Spurs vs United to look forward and then on Arsenal vs Chelsea the week after on the 19th and that’s about it for the Premier League.
Elsewhere in Europe we have Atleti vs Sevilla on the 6th, Sporting vs Porto on the 12th, the Italian Super Cup between Juve and Milan from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on the 16th, Real Madrid vs Sevilla on the 19th, Leipzig vs Bayern on the 19th, Milan vs Napoli on the 26th, Lazio vs Juve on the 27th, and Feyenoord vs Ajax on the 27th.
Won. Der. Ful.
Some markets we see value in this month
It doesn’t take long for the first major of the year to come around in the world of tennis. Since 1982, the Australian Open has ranked alongside the US Open, Wimbledon and Roland Garros in terms of prestige and importance, yet before that, it was a bit of a wildcard – to most pro’s on the circuit it wasn’t even considered a significant event, never mind a major, and as a result the best players from the men’s and women’s draw barely considered it, nor played in it. That’s the reason why many consider Margaret Court’s current record of 24 Grand Slams a misnomer and not the actual record as she won 11 Australian Open’s against a distinctly average field.
Now though, it’s very much part of the Grand Slam furniture and 2019’s tournament on both sides of the draw is looking wide open.
In the men’s side, Novak Djokovic undoubtedly stands out as the firm favourite, and though his form in Doha has been quite sticky of late, it’s really hard to see past the Serb who seems to be back to his indestructible best. Since winning his fourth Wimbledon title last summer, Djokovic has just lost three ATP tour matches and has picked up the Shanghai Masters, the Cincinnati Masters, and the US Open in the process. It’s little wonder he’s 5/4 to win it with Boyle Sports.
In terms of the other frontrunners, of course, Rafa Nadal (15/2 with 888 Sport) and last year’s winner Roger Federer (5/1 with Betfair) will be in the running, but so too will the 21-year-old German Alexander Zverev (8/1 with Black Type) who pipped Djokovic to the ATP Tour Finals trophy in November. Maybe he might spring a surprise or two come January 22nd. And while he’s not likely to trouble any of the big hitters, Andy Murray will also be back for just his second Grand Slam in 18 months. The Scot admitted he was probably nearing the end of his career after suffering such wretched luck with injuries, but it would be lovely to see him go on a run in an event which has been the home of such heartbreak for the 31-year-old.
Meanwhile, on the women’s side, it feels pretty much impossible to call a winner at this stage. Women’s tennis, despite Serena Williams‘ dominance down the years, has always felt like a much more open draw than the men’s, and this time is round is just no different.
It’s Serena who leads the betting at 9/2 with Ladbrokes to equal Margaret Court’s record, but is she still great as she was pre-baby? She did look it for long periods of the US Open, but removing the controversy from the equation, she was pretty much outplayed by the then-20-year-old Naomi Osaka in the final, who quite frankly couldn’t have won her first major in a more anti-climactic circumstance. And it’s Osaka who is in fact second favourite at 9/1 with Mansion to win back-to-back majors, and just behind her is Angelique Kerber (35/4 with Novibet) then Elina Svitolina (21/2 with Karamba).
But pretty much anyone can win it. Ashleigh Barty, who’ll have the backing of the home crowd, shouldn’t be dismissed, and she’s our outside bet for the tournament.
Some markets we see value in this month
After one of the best British boxing month’s in living history, it’s time to divert our attention away from these shores and focus our gaze on Las Vegas, Houston, New York, and Los Angeles with four massive world title bouts to come across the next 31 days.
The first one to kick us all off is the eccentric Caleb Plant who takes on the defending IBF Super Middleweight champ Jose Uzcategui from Los Angeles on the 13th. Uzcategui demolished the stubborn Andre Dirrell in March last year before beating the stand-in Ezequiel Maderna in September, but he has lost twice in his career – by unanimous decision to Matt Korobov and by DQ to Dirrell. Plant, by contrast, is still to be beaten, and even though his opponents haven’t exactly been stellar, his performance last time out against the wily Rogelio Medina did enough to suggest he might be able to shock Uzcategui should the Venezuelan not be on form. Uzcategui remains the hot favourite though at 2/7 with SportNation.
Then the week after, it’s the return of Manny Pacquiao who’s fighting the former four-time world champion Adrien Broner at the MGM in Las Vegas. Broner hasn’t won since beating Adrian Granados in early 2017, but his pedigree speaks for itself and the three blemishes on his 33-3-1 record were defeats to world-class fighters in Marcos Maidana, Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia. However, Broner’s preparation has been far from ideal as he was arrested just before Christmas after failing to appear in court following a charge from December 2017, and that’s just one of the reasons why Pacquaio’s a 10/31 favourite with comeon – even at the ripe old age of 40.
7 days later, it’s a doubleheader as Keith Thurman returns to the ring after two years of injury frustration to defend his WBA Super Welterweight title against Joselito Lopez, while the unbeaten Jaime Munguia takes on the pretty much unknown Takeshi Inoue. The Munguia – Inoue isn’t expected to be much of a fight with Inoue a massive outsider at 10/1 with Betfair, but Thurman vs Lopez should be closer. Lopez has lost seven fights in his career, but he has got a couple of big wins on his card including a 9th round stoppage of Victor Ortiz and a 7th round knockout of Mike Dallas Jr. Thurman will probably be too much for Lopez, though. Odds aren’t currently available for the fight.
Then stateside we’ve got the NFL playoffs starting on the 5th December with the Texans vs the Colts, the Cowboys vs the Seahawks, Ravens vs the Chargers, and the Bears vs the Eagles, then the week after we have the Divisional Playoffs, and the Conference Finals on January 20th. What a month for American Football!
Then on top of that, we have the Snooker Masters kicking off on the 13th, the NBA London game between the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks on the 17th, there’s UFC Fight Night 143 on the 19th, in the cricket we have the first test between West Indies and England from Barbados on the 23rd and the second test on the 31st, the Winter X Games kick off on the 24th, and finally, the new Rugby Super League season starts at the end of the month!
December may have seen X Factor, Strictly, The Apprentice, and I’m a Celebrity all pack their bags and leave our screens, but 2019 starts with a bang when it comes reality TV with a new series of Dancing on Ice and The Voice opening up on the first weekend of the month.
Then on top of that we have the premieres of The Greatest Dancer and Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club, and old classics return with Shipwrecked, Hunted, and The Charlotte Show to name but a few.
Author: Tom Mortimer
Tom is the editor at Betting Circle and has been creating online content for over 10 years. Tom mainly writes about sport and gambling, but every now and then also delves into fleshier subjects like politics and psychology. When he was 18 he created HungarianFootball.com and over the last few years he's written on a freelance basis for ESPN, WorldSoccer, Goal.com, among many others.