The month of December does not lack for punting opportunities.
The big spring carnival thoroughbred races are behind us, but the focus switches to Western Australia, where a total 10 Group level races, combined with the other races on the cards.
The two Groups 1s for the month are at Ascot. The first is the Winterbottom Stakes (1200 m), run under weight-for-age conditions, as is the Kingston Town Classic (1800 m) the following weekend.
Two Group 2s and six Group 3s mean that the best of West Australia and some interstate horses as well will see some action.
The country tracks offer an option for punters out the prowl for some good bargains, perhaps some good quality markets as well, as thoroughbred racing in Australia never truly sleeps.
Then, there are always the other racing codes to consider, including harness and greyhounds.
December of course, is cricket and the Ashes, but just as with racing, there are cricket markets of many different descriptions.
The Ashes gets underway in late November and runs through the first week of January. The second Test will get underway on December 2 at the Adelaide Oval, where the first day/night Test in Ashes history will be held. The series then moves west to the WACA Ground in Perth, moves on to Melbourne for the fourth Test to wrap up 2017 in style.
Soccer punters will find plenty of action with the A-League and the Premier League and just like racing, soccer never takes a holiday, so some punters may want to try their hand at some of the hundreds of international markets that make soccer a 24/7 punting opportunity.
The NRL may be spelling, but rugby players are working hard, as they always do. Rugby League World Cup action will conclude in Brisbane at the start of December, but some of the top players from the Wallabies and the All Blacks will be working at their other jobs, some in the Top 14 clubs, such as Toulon and Lyon.
If you are one of those punters who eats, sleeps and breathes the AFL, well you have to wait a bit, but the draft is set to go, following a highly active trade period, so there is much to which to look ahead to when the 2018 season gets underway.
Turning our attention internationally, there are markets galore in Europe for many different codes.
The Yanks have all the major sports leagues, save baseball, running concurrently, so along with watching developments domestically in the NBL, punters can watch the NBA, where the Australian presence continues to grow.
The big story of the current season is Ben Simmons from Melbourne, who is giving the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia) a taste of what it feels like to return to the ranks of relevance in the NBA for the 76ers. It is early in the regular season and most nights of the week and days of the weekend will have several games going.
The National Hockey League is in a similar mode, as the teams jockey for superiority in their respective Divisions and Conferences.
The NFL is getting down to the nitty gritty. December is when the regular season concludes, so many different scenarios for the playoffs make for compelling action.
The New England Patriots, after starting slowly, now have control of the AFC East. There is a tight race in the AFC West between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Pittsburgh Steelers have firm control of the AFC North, while in the AFC South, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans are neck and neck.
The city of Philadelphia has seen the Eagles post the best record in the league to this point and seize the NFC East. The NFC West is competitive with the Los Angeles Rams just one game clear of the Seattle Seahawks. The Minnesota Vikings are atop the NFC North and the streaking New Orleans Saints lead the NFC South, but the Carolina Panthers are hot on their heels.
Tennis fans can catch the Brisbane International when it kicks off in December and they can do much the same for the Hopman Cup in Perth. December is not exactly a busy month for professional tennis, but followers know that they may find some in form players tuning up for the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Australian Open in January.
The big tennis stories of 2017 have been the resurrection of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, both of whom reasserted their dominance and split the four Grand Slams in 2017, with Nadal winning the French and U.S. Opens and Federer taking the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Professional golfers are busy during December. The PGA Tour is playing in the Bahamas during early December for the Hero World Challenge before heading to Florida for the QBE Shootout, where the top players from around the world will vie for a share of the $US 3.3 million dollar prize pool.
Some interesting stories surrounding Australian golfers include Jason Day and his quest to return to the pinnacle of golf, whether or not Marc Leishman can continue his torrid pace from the end of 2017, how well young Cameron Smith will advance and whether Adam Scott will rise above the snubbing he received from the Australian Open.
This brief glimpse of the December sports calendar only touched briefly on the major sports. There will be plenty of other markets in sports that do not always receive the most publicity, but nonetheless feature fierce competition. Some of those will be the winter athletes who are looking to make a showing at the 2018 Winter Olympics.