January does not lack for punting opportunities.
Thoroughbred racing at the Group level is somewhat limited in January 2018,
Flemington has the Group 3 Standish Handicap. A few days after, Ascot has the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400 m) to showcase the Western Australia stayers and the Group 3 La Trice Classic (1800 m) to test the milers.
Moonee Valley waits until nearer the end of the month for the Group 2 Australia Stakes, a weight-for-age sprint, while Caulfield will present the Group 3 Blue Diamond Preview (1000 m) for the up and coming fillies looking to make their way into the Blue diamond Prelude in early February and/or the Blue Diamond Stakes.
Two-year-old races can be a challenge for the average punter, but they are worth following as a way of finding those who will go on to star in the big races as three and four-year-olds.
January is the month for the biggest prize money race in the world, the Pegasus World Cup in Florida.
The country tracks are all in action and the prospect for a rejuvenated Eagle Farm might be one to cheer the state of Queensland.
Summer in Australia, of course, means cricket, and all levels and grades will be on display from the international Tests, to the Sheffield Shield and the popular Big Bash League.
Australia is looking to secure a draw with India at the Test level and there will be three ODIs for the two squads, before Sri Lanka tours Down Under for two Tests to inaugurate in January and conclude in February.
It is still a couple of months until the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership competition gets underway, but the clubs are training and the AFLW will be on the horizon, with two new clubs joining the original eight and a new format that will feature more finals, so there are plenty of futures markets up and running.
None of the bookies seems to think much of a repeat premiership by the West Coast Eagles, so the club might enter 2019 with a chip on their shoulders and a desire to silence the naysayers who think that the 2018 Grand Final win over Collingwood was a fluke.
Same for the NRL, as the clubs prepare for 2019 after an offseason that was compelling for all the moves the clubs made regarding coaches and players.
Some of the biggest punting markets in terms of interest and turnover in January will involve the NFL, as the regular season has concluded and the playoffs begin. Last year’s champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, squeezed into the playoffs at the last possible moment and it seems that this year, just like last, saw their fortunes improve when the team lost Carson Wentz and had to rely on Nick Foles at quarterback.
There is no small degree of controversy, as the NFL’s playoff system is far from perfect. The Baltimore Ravens won the AFC North due more to the ineptitude of the other teams in the division, particularly the Pittsburgh Steelers, who squandered the division with losses to the bottom dwellers in Denver and Oakland.
The unfair aspect of the NFL system is that the Los Angles Chargers compiled a 12 – 4 record, yet have to play their first playoff game on the road against a team that finished 10 – 6.
The other U.S. market that holds much appeal is the NBA, where the teams are battling for playoff ranking and the status quo is not quite as expected, as the Denver Nuggets have surprised the Western Conference and LeBron and his young squad at the Los Angeles Lakers is starting to show some promise.
The Golden State Warriors have slipped a bit, seemingly from personality clashes amongst members of the team, but they still seem formidable and cannot be dismissed.
Of course, the first Grand Slam of the 2019 tennis season, the Australian Open, will display the best tennis players in the world, so it might be the perfect time to join Sportsbet for a hugh variety of betting markets.