Sporting Events To Look Forward To In March 2019
February 28, 2019
Summer is here! Well, it’s not, but it’s like it is! Global warming sure is going to be great until it kills us all.
But leaving behind the disintegration and destruction of humanity for just one minute, why don’t we look forward to what’s happening in the sporting world this March? It’s better than thinking about losing our loved ones to the ever-rising sea levels, in my opinion.
Big, big, biiiiig month is March for football. Champions League contenders will fall, title races will diminish, and the return of international football will piss pretty much everyone off.
We’ll start with the club football first, so as not to disturb the international football haters, and it’s the Champions League where it’s at in March, really. Though April is where it gets really tasty with the quarterfinals and semifinals, March with its solo round of 16 ties is the juicy but not fulfilling appetiser, the prawn cocktail before the big beef wellington. These are the games we have to look forward to:
- Dortmund vs Tottenham (0-3) – 05/03
- Real Madrid vs Ajax (2-1) – 05/03
- Porto vs Roma (1-2) – 06/03
- PSG vs Man Utd (2-0) – 06/03
- Juventus vs Atletico Madrid (0-2) – 12/03
- Man City vs Schalke (3-2) – 12/03
- Barcelona vs Lyon (0-0) – 13/03
- Bayern vs Liverpool (0-0) – 13/03
Four of the eight ties look done and dusted – it’s highly unlikely Dortmund will score four unanswered goals past Spurs, Real Madrid surely won’t slip up at home with a lead already intact, the injury-plagued United aren’t going to turn their deficit around in Paris, and City won’t lose at home to Schalke – but there are four ties that are still delicately poised.
Bayern vs Liverpool is the pick. The first leg was a nervy affair played at a frantic pace, yet despite it probably being the least open game of the round it was arguably the most absorbing, and the second leg is likely to be the same with so little to choose between the two sides. Indeed, with Boyle Sports, both sides are 20/23 to qualify.
Atleti vs Juve is also a mouthwatering one, and despite that two-goal deficit, it’s tough to rule out Juve with the firepower they possess, especially as it only takes Ronaldo half a yard’s space to fire in from any angle. It’s going to be mighty hard, though; Atleti have kept a clean sheet in all four Champions League games since their capitulation in Dortmund, and in their 37 games this season, they’ve only conceded two goals or more 7 times and have kept 21 clean sheets. That’s why they’re 2/9 to progress with Ladbrokes – Juve are 3/1 if you fancy them.
Then there’s Porto vs Roma which was probably the least appetising tie following the draw, but now it’s anything but. Roma are currently 1/2 favourites with Betfair, yet Porto can never be ruled out the Dragao.
And finally, it’s Barca vs Lyon, another one poised at 0-0, though anyone backing Lyon is either clinically insane or a Lyon fan who could never contemplate his side losing. Or both. Barca dominated the first leg in France having 24 shots to Lyon’s 5, and surely no one expects the second leg to be any different. The bookmakers don’t; Lyon are even money with Unibet with a +2 handicap.
And then away from the Champions League, we have the Europa League round of 16 first and seconds legs on the 7th and 14th, and of course loads of domestic action as well. Here’s some big games to look out for across the month:
- Tottenham vs Arsenal – 02/03
- Lazio vs Roma – 02/03
- Real Madrid vs Barcelona – 02/03
- Everton vs Liverpool – 03/03
- Napoli vs Juventus – 03/03
- Arsenal vs Man Utd – 10/03
- PSG vs Marseille – 17/03
- AC Milan vs Inter – 17/03
- Celtic vs Rangers – 31/03
- Ajax vs PSV – 31/03
- Liverpool vs Tottenham – 31/03
- Barcelona vs Espanyol – 31/03
Now for a bit of international football, and come on don’t groan – the international break is great if you throw yourself into it. I know people love their clubs, but international football can have some batshit storylines and ridiculous drama.
Sure, the start of Euro qualifying is the worst bit, but over in Africa there are some huuuuuuuge games with AFCON places at stake – Libya vs South Africa with Libya needing to win to leapfrog SA, DR Congo vs Liberia with the DRC needing to do the same, Mozambique vs Guinea Bissau in another winner takes all, and Tanzania, Lesotho and Cape Verde are all battling it out for the final qualification place in their group.
Then in Euro qualifying, these are the picks:
- Holland vs Germany -24/03
Maybe the international football haters were right this month after all.
Some markets we see value in this month
It’s all set up for Wales to win their first Six Nations since 2013 and their first Grand Slam since 2012, isn’t it?
That magnificent victory over England last weekend has put them on the cusp of glory, and now it’s only Scotland and Ireland who can stop them. A defeat over the cumbersome yet improving Scotland should be straightforward enough, and then it’s all down to the Ireland game in Cardiff on the final day (assuming the Irish beat France on the 10th). And my, what a game that will be.
Wales will have to win it too. Presuming Wales don’t pick up a bonus point victory in Scotland next Saturday, Ireland will go to the Millenium Stadium knowing victory will see them leapfrog Wales. But probably not into first place, because that’s where England come in.
Though England have that Wales loss on their record, they’re far from out of the running, and should Wales lose, England’s two bonus points picked up in their two victories so far leaves them in prime position to swoop in and steal the title. Plus, even if Ireland pick up a bonus point over France on the 10th, England’s point difference is currently 33 superior to Ireland’s, and that’s not being clawed back, especially with England still having Italy still to play.
And that’s why England are still favourites to win the title in the Six Nations betting odds at 4/6 with Ladbrokes; the undefeated Welsh are 13/8 with Coral, and Ireland, hoping for a miracle, are way out at 11/1 with Black Type.
This is the full fixture list for March:
- Scotland vs Wales – 09/03
- England vs Italy – 09/03
- Ireland vs France – 10/03
- Italy vs France – 16/03
- Wales vs Ireland – 16/03
- England vs Scotland – 16/03
Just two matchdays to play, but so much drama to come.
Some markets we see value in this month
Right, so seeing as I know practically nothing about horse racing, I’m going to leave you in the capable hands of Luke Parkinson for this one:
“Nothing else really matters in March for the sport of horse racing other than the Cheltenham Festival.
The four-day meeting in the middle of the month is pretty much the World Cup of horse racing with the best of the best from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and sometimes France, battling it out to become a Festival hero.
It all gets underway with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 1:30pm on the Tuesday, when the famous Cheltenham roar kicks into gear as the crowd hit fever pitch and the tapes rise for the first race of the meeting.
28 races are run from Tuesday 12th until Friday 15th March, with a Championship race being the feature event each day at 3:30pm. They include the Champion Hurdle, the Champion Chase, the Stayers’ Hurdle and of course, the Gold Cup.
In truth, there isn’t a bad race at the entire meeting with 14 of 28 races being Grade One’s and a further eight being either Grade Two or Grade Three. In a nutshell, this is jumps racing of the very highest quality. It doesn’t get any bigger or better than this.
With Cheltenham though, comes a fancy for a flutter, so we’ve taken a look at each of the feature races and picked out a name to follow.
Day One: Champion Day – 12th March 2019
13.30 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
14.10 The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase
14.50 The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase
15.30 The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
This is a hot race for the opening day and is likely to go the way of one of the top three in the betting. The favourite, Buveur D’Air, is aiming for a hat-trick of Champion Hurdle victories but faces a tough test from two classy mares, Apple’s Jade and Laurina, who have a weight allowance in their favourite. Both already have Cheltenham Festival victories in the bag, but Apple’s Jade has some excellent form this season and looks the one most likely to win this. 15/8 with Boyle Sports if you fancy it.
16.10 The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle
16.50 The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Steeple Chase)
17.30 The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase
Day Two: Ladies Day – 13th March 2019
13.30 The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
14.10 The RSA Steeple Chase
14.50 The Coral Cup Hurdle
15.30 The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase
Look no further than Altior at 4/9 with Betfair for this one. He is widely regarded as the best National Hunt horse in training at the minute and it seems that only Altior can stop Altior from winning a second Champion Chase. Conditions were against him last season, yet he still stormed clear up the hill to win in some style. The spring air means that conditions are likely to suit him down to the ground and it would be the biggest shock of the meeting if he got beat. He’ll equal Big Bucks record of 18 successive victories over fences with victory.
16.10 The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase
16.50 The Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
17.30 The Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Day Three: St Patrick’s Thursday – 14th March 2019
13.30 The JLT Novices’ Chase
14.10 The Pertemps Network Final
14.50 The Ryanair Steeple Chase
15.30 The Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle
The Willie Mullins-trained Penhill won this on his first start of last season, and the plan looked to be repeating itself until connections ruled him out of the meeting recently. That leaves Paisley Park at 9/4 with Ladbrokes as the overwhelming favourite and on what he has showed this season, that is entirely justified. He’s practically beaten everything in this division in the UK, so unless something like Faugheen or Samcro can spring a surprise from Ireland, then this is his to lose.
16.10 The Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate
16.50 The Trull House Stud Mares Novices’ Hurdle
17.30 The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase
Day Four: Gold Cup Day – 15th March 2019
13.30 The JCB Triumph Hurdle
14.10 The Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle
14.50 The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
15.30 The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup
Presenting Percy has been a long-time favourite of this race, but after only seeing him once over hurdles this season, he’s easy to go against. Clan Des Obeaux and Native River are the next two in the betting, but the Gold Cup could go the way of Thistlecrack at 14/1 with Sportnation who has been edging back to form with every race this season and has an excellent a record at Cheltenham. He’s won three of his five visits to the track, all at three miles or more, and that makes him a solid each-way player at for the biggest race of the meeting. H
16.10 The St. James’s Place Foxhunter Steeple Chase Challenge Cup
16.50 The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual
17.30 The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
In the cricket we’ve got plenty of Cricket World Cup tune-ups with the final England vs Windies ODI on Saturday, and then four five-match ODI series’ with India playing Australia, South Africa hosting Sri Lanka, Afghanistan facing Ireland in the UAE, and Australia and Pakistan also facing off in the UAE, while the only two World Cup nations not featuring, New Zealand and Bangladesh, will play a three-match test series across the month.
In the boxing we’ve got six World title fights to look forward to with Dmitry Bivol vs Joe Smith Jr., Shawn Porter vs Yordenis Ugas, Tevin Farmer vs Jono Carroll, Errol Spence vs Mikey Garcia, Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs Doudou Ngumbu, and the only British competitor Charlie Edwards who defends his IBF Flyweight title against Angel Moreno.
Then on top of that, there’s five big nights in the UFC with Fight Night 146, 147 and 148, UFC 245, and UFC on ESPN 2; loads of darts with the resumption of the Premier League Darts and the UK Open on the 1st; and also the return of the Formula 1 season with the Bahrain Grand Prix on 31st March.
Dancing on Ice and The Voice continue through March, and because I have no idea what’s happening over there, I’ll point you to Laura Waldron who does. Here are her two latest articles – Another Pair gets Frozen Out of Dancing On Ice & The Voice Auditions Are Over, Bring On The Battles.
Have a lovely March, and don’t think too much about the destruction of the earth!
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.