December supplies plenty of punting opportunities.
The bookmakers’ markets are loaded with cricket. International cricket, interstate cricket, short format cricket. Jiminy Cricket.
India is coming in for a Test tour at the beginning of the month. Other countries will be in action, so overseas markets will be abundant.
Victoria is at the top of the table in the Sheffield Shield, winners of three, losers of none, with one drawn match. Only South Australia and Queensland have yet to record a win, but with four rounds concluded as of this moment, the standings can and will shift at some point.
For punters, cricket offers many markets, some based on the season, some based of the states and countries and hundreds based on individual players, match scores, wickets taken, runs scored and too many others to mention.
Thoroughbred racing is winding down for 2018, so far at least as major racing is concerned, but the calendar will offer the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes at the outset of December, with the Group 1 Kingston Town to be the last chance in December to have a punt on Group 1 racing.
The month has just one Group 2 event, the Villiers Stakes at Randwick, but Ascot, Doomben. Gosford, even Rosehill all have something on.
Racing Victoria reported record turnover for the spring carnivals at Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley, and it is probably safe to say that New South Wales enjoyed high turnover rates, so the predictions of the decline and disarray in racing will have to wait.
Racing punters can always find markets at some of the country tracks and the horses there race as though they were at Flemington, so while the spring carnivals are done and there is a holiday and a spell for many, it is only a short interlude until autumn racing rises on the horizon.
Many punters will look domestically for A-League soccer, where the Perth Glory is leading the way. Sydney FC and Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United cannot be dismissed, and soccer punters are accustomed to one swing of the foot or nod of the head can shake things up in rapid fashion. Only the Brisbane Roar and the Central Coast Mariners have failed to tally a win at this stage, but Brisbane has drawn three and Central Coast two, so they are obviously fielding competitive sides.
Basketball will capture a lot of attention in December. The NBL is thriving to the extent that a new team, the South East Melbourne Phoenix, has been announced to make a debut next season. Perth tops the table for the moment, but Melbourne is lurking, so if Perth should pause from its torrid pace, the competition could tighten.
NBL fixtures typically see an expansion in the number of markets as the games come closer to tipping, so if you do not see what you want, hang about for a pit and see what comes along.
The NBA is in full swing in the U.S. Action is more or less continuous and at any given time, it is not uncommon to have a gander at one of the bookmaker’s websites and find nearly 500 markets across the league, with some games offering 50 and upwards markets.
European leagues are also in action, with both men’s and women’s competitions. College basketball is an exciting code to watch, as the Division 1 NCAA teams engage in contests of endurance with the aim of making it into the frenetic post-season tournament in March.
December offers plenty of chances to have a punt of NFL gridiron football. We have not seen the market yet, but we anxiously await any of the bookmakers posting odds on the chances of Valentine Holmes doing what Jarryd Hayne could not, that is, find a prominent spot at a skilled position with one of the NFL clubs.
Most NFL fixtures offer around 30 markets, with head-to-head, line and total points markets leading the way. The leaders of the two conferences and the eight divisions will perhaps offer guidance to punters who want to make top-four bets. The national Football Conference seems the stronger of the two, but Eastern Conference powerhouses cannot be overlooked as playoff season edges closer in December and the post-season scenarios come into play.
We cannot entirely neglect the National Hockey League. It is in the middle of the regular season fight that leads to the post season and the chase for the Stanley Cup. One of the bookmakers had well over a thousand markets posted for the league and most fixtures were offering around 50 markets, so there are punts to be had.
Europe and Scandinavia are both passionate about ice hockey, and even in a non-Olympic year, even France will be skating the puck, with players trying to avoid le boxe du penaltie. Punters who want to test their expertise can look at the lower professional leagues, such as the American Hockey League, a training ground where some learn their trade and advance to the NHL. The AHL fixture features around 40 markets per game, so you might need a couple of extra pages on the old bet slip if you enjoy multis.
Diehard domestic punters have plenty of rugby to look at in December.
Internationals will be played and the big story for December is whether Ireland can dethrone New Zealand as the world’s number one team, a perch the Kiwis have occupied for nearly a decade.
One bookmaker we had a look at had over 300 markets for union matches, including competitions in the Guinness Pro 14, the Gallagher Premiership, a few for France’s Top 14 and every manner of futures market imaginable.
Australian Rules is right around the corner. There are already futures markets up for the Toyota 2019 AFL Premiership competition, as well as some for the newly expanded and exciting AFLW, which is growing by adding two more clubs for 2019 and bumping players’ salaries at the same time.