February is a busy month for sports wagering, especially for punters who search the international scene.
There are currently thousands of markets in U.S. sports. The National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League are in the midst of their regular seasons as teams from both leagues engage in the jockeying to see which will have seasons extended by qualifying for the playoffs. Both leagues now seemingly permit half the teams into the post-season, where the head-to-head matches of the regular season are replaced by best-of-five and best-of-seven series to crown champions. In hockey, draws are not tolerated in the playoffs, so that could conceivably add additional markets and opportunities for in-play wagering.
A typical regular season NBA game will see bookmakers with 60 or more markets per game with almost the same number for the NHL.
The big hype, however, is reserved for the National Football League’s Super Bowl on 9 February on this side of the line. There are already close to 100 markets on Sportsbet alone and the competitors, the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, have only just been determined, so punters can shop for bargains amongst the different bookmakers and watch the various markets shift for whatever reason, such as which team has the most players arrested or suspended in the two weeks of hype leading up to the 50th anniversary edition. Punters worldwide will place billions of dollars in wagers and the Yanks will consume billions of calories over the course of the four hours of the game.
The northern hemisphere also has winter sports in full swing, so punters will have some markets in men’s and women’s ski racing to have a look at.
Closer to home, there is plenty of cricket action at various levels, including T20, one day internationals, women’s international Twenty 20 Matches and ICC U19 World Cup, to mention a few.
The English Premier League and A-League will have plenty of markets to examine as the best teams in the world vie for superiority. As matches get closer to jumping, the number of potential wagers will escalate. Some of the more compelling matches will have upwards of 100 different propositions.
Anyone interested in futures markets can get in early for the NRL. The season proper does not get underway for about another month, but it might be time to look at Grand Final winners and things of that sort in both union and league. There are also international rugby markets to consider.
There are already AFL markets to explore as team train and players try to secure their jobs for the 2016 season. Hawthorn and West Coast are the shortest on Sportsbet at the moment to win the flag in 2016, with Freemantle and Geelong only a bit behind. Lovers of longshots should have acted earlier if desirous of a punt on Essendon. They had been at over $1000, but have since shortened to $251, no poorer than Carlton.
Tennis punters will wrap up the first of the Grand Slam tournaments when the Australian Open concludes at the end of January, but they will still have chances to pick the winners of the remaining three Grand Slams events spaced out through the coming season.
Players with last names Djokovic and Williams would make good wagers, albeit nothing to make anyone exceedingly rich. World number 30 Australian Nick Kyrgios at $34 is in the top 10, surprisingly much better than current world number 17 Bernard Tomic at $101. At this point, there does not appear to be a prop market on whether or not Kyrgios will be taking any phone calls from his girlfriend mid-match during The Championships.
Motor Racing will feature a new season of NASCAR racing kicking off with the Daytona 500 nearer the end of February. There are markets for the outright and the season-long Sprint Cup series. Formula 1 gets underway in March, so the market for now is futures only.
We saved the best for last, so fret not thoroughbred punters. February features no fewer than six Group 1 races, commencing with the C.F Orr Stakes at Caulfield on the 13th and concluding with the Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm on the 27th.
Then, in the middle, there is a little something called the Blue Diamond Stakes where punters will look for any potential, however small, that Capitalist can be beaten by any of the other two-year-olds that bother to show up. There are 14 Group 2s going off and 21 Group 3s as racing awakens from its temporary slumber. Of course, there is no shortage of listed races, black type races and plenty to action to be found at one of the country tracks. The other codes have events, as well, and there are always the dogs.
If all that is not sufficient to retain racing punter attention, there are also plenty of international markets to be found in all the racing codes.
February is an exciting month for punting anywhere you turn. Banks will be built throughout the month, as the footy punters get ready for a new season of Rules and rugby, so log on to your bookmakers website via your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone and start filling out those betting slips.