As we move into a new decade, the 2020 sporting calendar promises to be one of the most thrilling years in history. As well as the annual sporting showpieces such as the four tennis Grand Slam events, a jam-packed F1 calendar and football’s numerous major club competitions we also have the small matter of Euro 2020, the Olympic Games and the Ryder Cup. Here at Compare Betting Sites we’ll offer a month-by-month preview all the year’s major sporting events, offering betting tips on several ante post markets. We start our preview by covering the events that underway between January and March.
Big guns enter FA Cup
The first weekend of the year traditionally plays host to the third round of the FA Cup; one of the highlights of the English football calendar. All 44 clubs plying their trade in the top two tiers enter the competition and will this year be joined by two non-league clubs; Hartlepool United and AFC Fylde. Hartlepool travel to League One high-flyers, Oxford City, whilst AFC Fylde face a daunting trip to Premier League side, Sheffield United.
There are two all-Premier League third round ties including a mouth-watering Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield whilst in a repeat of last season’s quarter-final tie, Manchester United take on Wolves at Molineux.
Holders, Manchester City, face League Two side, Port Vale, at the Etihad and remain the bookies’ outright favourites to win a second successive FA Cup title. City are priced at 3/1 with most bookmakers.
Judd Trump will defend his Masters snooker title when the world’s top 16 players compete at Alexandra Palace in mid-January. As the second leg of snooker’s Triple Crown, the Masters follows on from November’s UK Championship before the World Snooker Championship is held in April/May at the Crucible. Reigning champion, Trump, is the 23/10 favourite with tournament sponsors, Dafabet, whilst his main competition is set to come from Neil Robertson (15/4) and Mark Selby (7/1). UK Championship winner, Ding Junhui, is available at 12/1.
Conor McGregor returns to the octagon
The biggest name in UFC, Conor McGregor, will return to the octagon on January 19th when the Irishman takes on Donald Cerrone in UFC 246. You have to go back to October 2018 for the last time McGregor was seen in action, losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas whilst he has not won a fight since November 2016.
Despite not tasting victory in more than three years, McGregor will be the overwhelming favourite to win January’s welterweight bout. The Notorious is 3/10 with most bookmakers to win or alternatively he is 4/6 with BetVictor and BoyleSports to win by KO, TKO, submission or disqualification.
Australian Open tennis
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have dominated the men’s singles championship at the Rod Laver Arena, winning 13 of the last 16 titles between them. Last year’s winner, Novak Djokovic, has won the Australian Open a record 7 times and is the bookies’ 13/8 favourite to win again in 2020.
Federer is a generous 9/1 whilst the other member of tennis’ ‘Big Three’, world number one, Rafael Nadal, is available at 7/2. In the women’s draw, seven-time winner, Serena Williams, is the bookies’ favourite at 11/2 whilst last year’s winner, Naomi Osaka, is a 9/1 shot.
Six Nations gets underway
We've barely caught our breath after a thrilling Rugby World Cup yet in February, Europe’s elite rugby union sides get set to fight it out in the 2020 Six Nations Championships. The 2020 competition will see the dawn of a new era for 2019 Grand Slam winners, Wales. Last year’s winning head coach, Warren Gatland, stepped down after the World Cup and has been replaced by former Scarlets boss, Wayne Pivac. Pivac has drafted in a new-look backroom team as Wales aim to become the first side to claim back-to-back Six Nations Grand Slams since France in 1997 / 1998.
With daunting away trips against both Ireland and World Cup finalists, England at the Aviva Stadium and Twickenham respectively, Wales are a massive 14/1 to win another Grand Slam or 6/1 to win the Six Nations title outright.
Last year’s runners-up, England, are odds-on to win the Championship with most bookmakers whilst they are a best price of 13/8 to win a third Grand Slam in five years. Ireland will hope to put an underwhelming World Cup behind them and their trip to Twickenham on February 22nd may well be a Championship decider.
Champions League reaches the knockout stage
In what is developing into a wide-open competition, the 16 sides left in this season’s Champions League all ply their trade in one of Europe’s five biggest leagues. Holders, Liverpool, will play Spanish giants, Atletico Madrid, over two legs and are 9/2 second-favourites with most bookmakers to defend their title.
It's no secret that Champions League glory is the priority for Manchester City’s owners. City have all-but-surrendered their Premier League crown having slipped 14 points adrift of leaders, Liverpool. Pep Guardiola’s side have been the bookies’ favourite to win the Champions League all season and are now no bigger than 4/1 with any top bookmaker. City face a daunting last-16 clash with 13-time winners, Real Madrid, but if they can safely get through to the quarter final their odds are likely to be cut further.
After their less-than-favourable draw, Real Madrid have been pushed out to 18/1 whilst their fierce Spanish rivals, Barcelona, are available at 5/1.
Wilder vs Fury II
After battling to a thrilling draw in December 2018, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will go head-to-head once more in their second WBC heavyweight title fight. Defending champion, Wilder, scored two huge knock-downs when they met at Los Angeles’ Staple Center but many people believe that the Gypsy King, Tyson Fury did enough to complete a fairytale comeback by becoming a two-time world champion.
With their first bout ending in a controversial draw, it was inevitable that two of heavyweight boxing’s biggest names would meet again sooner rather than later. Since their first fight, Wilder has claimed two knockout wins against Dominic Breazeale and Luis Ortiz yet it is the challenger, Tyson Fury that edges the betting markets at the moment. Fury is odds-on at 10/11 with Coral and Sportingbet to claim the win whilst Wilder is 11/10 with several bookmakers. Another draw could be tempting at 25/1 with BetVictor.
The general consensus is that the fight will either end with a Wilder knockout or a Fury points win. Wilder to win by KO, TKO or disqualification and Fury to win by decision or technical decision are both available at 6/4. Given the fierce punching power of WBC king, Deontay Wilder, William Hill’s price of 5/6 on Fury to be knocked down offers excellent value.
Carabao Cup final
If the bookmakers’ odds are to be believed then Manchester City can claim a cup treble this season. As well as leading the outright betting markets for both the Champions League and FA Cup, City are also the odds-on favourites to win a fourth EFL Cup in five seasons.
Pep Guardiola’s side face fierce cross-city rivals, Manchester United in the Carabao Cup semi-final with the victors of that two-legged clash set to take on either Leicester City or Aston Villa at Wembley on March 1st.
Thanks to their lofty league positions, Manchester City and Leicester City are backed to reach the League Cup final and are priced at 8/11 and 10/3 respectively to win the season’s first major piece of silverware. Five-time winners, Manchester United, should not be written off in their efforts to regain the trophy they won in 2017. The Red Devils are 4/1 to win a sixth League Cup.
The highlight of the National Hunt calendar, the Cheltenham Festival, will take place between the 10th and 13th of March and the annual four-day meeting is once again expected to serve up a feast of top-class racing. There is an incredible total of 14 Group 1 races at the Festival, including the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Even with more than two months to go before the horse racing world descends on the Gloucestershire countryside, there is plenty of interest in the ante post betting markets. Altior won the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2019 and is 3/1 to win again in 2020. The Nicky Henderson-trained 10-year old has been entered into the Group 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot on January 18th and after suffering a shock defeat to Cyrname last time out, his upcoming run at Ascot will further impact his Festival odds.
Elsewhere, the Gold Cup looks a wide-open affair and again, last year’s winner heads the betting. 2019 champion, Al Boum Photo, is 5/1 with most bookmakers, ahead of Kemboy (6/1), Clan Des Obeaux (8/1) and Lostintranslation (9/1).
Two-time Grand National winner, Tiger Roll, is the 7/4 favourite to win the Cross Country Chase but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be risked ahead of the 2020 Grand National run.
Paisley Park could be the best bet of the Festival at 6/4 for the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle. The Emma Lavelle-trained horse claimed a sixth win in a row with success in the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in November and he looks primed to claim another Stayers’ Hurdle victory.
F1 seasons begins
All eyes will be on Lewis Hamilton when the 2020 Formula One season gets underway. The British driver is now just one world championship short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of seven titles.
The 2020 season will get underway in Australia on March 15th and will include a record 22 Grands Prix, concluding in Abu Dhabi on November 29th. Notable additions to this year’s calendar include a first ever Vietnamese Grand Prix in early April and a return to the Netherlands’ famous Circuit Zandvoort for the first time since 1985. The latter will of course see the home crowd come out in their masses in support of local lad, Max Verstappen. The 22-year old Red Bull driver is expected to be the nearest challenger to Mercedes pair, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Verstappen and Bottas are currently priced at 7/2 to win the 2020 Formula One World Championship, behind bookies’ favourite, Hamilton (7/4).
Pre-season testing is set to get underway in Barcelona on February 19th and could be a useful pre-season indicator of which drivers/constructors we can expect to perform in the upcoming F1 season.
Euro 2020 play-offs
March will draw to a close with some huge international football fixtures with the four remaining Euro 2020 places up for grabs. 16 nations will take part in the play-offs hoping to book their places in the summer’s Championships. Path B of the play-offs sees Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland just 90 minutes away from a winner-takes-all showdown. Northern Ireland take on Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 26th whilst their rivals from south of the border meet Slovakia on the same day. The winner of both fixtures will meet on March 31st knowing that one of them will join Spain, Sweden and Poland in Group E of the European Championships.
There's further British participation in Path C where Scotland could join England, Croatia and Czech Republic in Euro 2020’ Group D. to progress, Steve Clarke’s side will have to beat Israel then either Norway or Serbia.
In the other two groups one of Bulgaria, Hungary, Iceland and Romania will take part in the European Championships along with one of Georgia, Belarus, Kosovo or North Macedonia.
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