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Major Sports Betting Events

Author: Victoria Fell

Major Sports Betting events take place throughout the year and are long anticipated by both the amatuer and professional gambler.  Some of these sports betting events mark the only time that some people gamble so are often seen as a social bit of fun between friends. 

Below we look into the major sports betting events that get most people involved.  Here are some short cuts to get you to the month of your interest:

January February March April  May June July August September October November December


The Super Bowl: In most years the Super Bowl is the most watched event on American television which makes it an unofficial national holiday called Super Bowl Sunday in the States. Bookmakers will take bets on anything from the first team to score, to the team to have the longest touchdown. Spread Betting is the most popular form of betting on the Super Bowl as owing to the nature of spread betting, successful bets can be made on either team, which is very attractive to the sports bettor particularly if there is very strong favourite.

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6 Nations Rugby: In 2000 Italy joined England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France, the participants of the predecessor The 5 Nations, and the tournament became the 6 Nations Championship. The 6 Nations is held every year, beginning in February and is interesting as there are tournaments within the tournament. The ‘Grand Slam’ is achieved when one team beats all of the others and the ‘Triple Crown’ is contested between England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland and is won if one team beats the other three. There is then, lots of betting opportunities in the 6 Nations Championship; from betting on occurrences in individual matches, to the winner of the overall tournament, using any of the betting systems available for example fixed odds or spread betting.

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The Cheltenham Gold Cup: is the most prestigious of all National Hunt events, and it is sometimes referred to as the Blue Riband of jump racing. The Gold Cup is at present the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain, and in 2009 it offered a total prize fund of £475,000. It is the highlight of the four day Cheltenham Festival, which is a hugely popular horseracing event not just with the British, but the Irish (Horseracing is a national sport in Ireland and the festival usually falls the week of St. Patricks day) and horse racing fans all over the world. Betting on the Gold Cup generates millions of pounds.

March Madness: refers to basketball tournaments which conclude in the month of March, particularly those run by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) specifically the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Championship. Betting on the event is enormous in the US, with a staggering amount of both friendly bets between colleagues and acquaintances and more serious bets with the online sportsbooks.

The Dubai World Cup: is the richest horse race in the world with a prize fund of $6 million. Inaugurated in 1996 the race is run at the spectacular Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai. The winning horse is usually from the US, Ireland or Great Britain although the 2007 winning horse Invasor was from Argentina. The fastest time ever was achieved by Frankie Dettori on Dubai Millennium in 2000. A truly international event, bets are placed on The Dubai World Cup all over the world.

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The Grand National: is the most famous steeplechase in the world with a total prize fund of £900,000. It takes place on the first Saturday in April at the Aintree Race Course, Liverpool, England. The world wide television audience for the Grand National is estimated at over 600 million. In Great Britain it is traditionally the busiest day of the year for bookmakers with many people who never bet at any other time in the year having a punt.

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With the UEFA Champions League final, the end of the English Premier League season, and the FA Cup final, May is an extremely busy month in the world of football betting. The UEFA Champions League is the ultimate goal for any European football team, you can bet on practically anything to happen during the match itself or the outcome of the match, using any betting system you prefer.

The English Premier League traditionally ends on a Sunday, with all the final matches kicking off at the same time. Occasionally the Premier League winners ares decided on the final Sunday as well as the confirmation of the relegation places. Both ends of the table attract a large number of bets.

The F.A. Cup is the oldest football cup competition in the world and owing to the format which allows the participation of lower league teams, is viewed romantically by football fans worldwide thus attracting some seemingly unlikely wagers. Lower league teams do not traditionally fare very well although one recent exception was Millwall who finished 10th in Division 1 in 2004 and managed to reach the F.A. Cup final that year, where they met Premier League Champions Manchester United and finally lost.

The Kentucky Derby: is held on the first Saturday in May and is the best known horse race staged in the US. It is a thoroughbred race for 3 year old horses and is the first race in US racing’s Triple Crown. The fastest time was achieved way back in 1973 by Secretariat, and is still the only horse to have completed the race in less than 2 minutes.  Betting on the Kentucky Derby is frenetic especially in the US, although bets are taken on the race worldwide.

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NBA Finals are held every year in June. They are the culmination of the National Basketball Association season, with the winners of the Eastern Conference Finals taking on the winners of the Western Conference Finals. The Chicago Bulls dominated the Finals in the 90’s led by Michael Johnson; currently the Finals are dominated by the LA Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs. Spread betting is the most popular form of betting in basketball.

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Glorious Goodwood is a horse racing festival held at Goodwood Racecourse, Sussex, England. It is one of the highlights of the flat racing calendar and consists of 35 races including two group 1 races (The Sussex Stakes and The Nassau Stakes). With lots of different types of races each of the betting markets is different, creating a great experience for any horse racing betting fan.

The British Open Golf is the oldest of the four Major golf championships and in 2009 was held at the Turnberry Resort in Scotland from the 16-19 July. It was won by Stewart Cink who at the start of the tournament was 50/1 (compare this to 9/4 which was offered for Tiger Woods). As the Golf Majors can throw up some surprise winners, betting on golf is big business and very lucrative if you know your stuff and are prepared to take the occasional punt!

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Us Open Tennis is one of the four ‘Grand Slam’ tennis tournaments (the others being The Australian Open, The French Open and Wimbledon) it is held each year at Flushing Meadows in New York on the last week in August and the first week in September. Betting on tennis may not be as obvious a choice as other sports markets yet it is emerging as a profitable and exciting area of the sportsbook. Betting can take place on a set, a match, a tournament winner or other more original bets.

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The Ryder Cup is a golf tournament contested between a team from Europe and a team from America, every two years. A series of matches take place (8 foursomes’ matches, 8 four balls matches, 12 singles matches) and winners are awarded a point, with players achieving a tie being given ½ a point each. The winning team must reach 14 points if they are defending champions or 14 ½ points if they are the challenger. As with all major sports betting events with international appeal, many people enjoy betting on the Ryder Cup using a variety of betting systems.

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Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is affectionately known in horse racing circles simply as the Arc. The Arc is held at Longchamp racecourse, France and is for thoroughbreds of 3 years and over, with a maximum field of 20 runners. Although successful in many other of the world’s biggest races, the US has never trained a winning horse in the Arc. From a betting point of view, interest in the Arc begins early in the year, where Ante Post prices can be much bigger than the SP’s nearer the time. Most experts tend to agree that being trained specifically for the race by a French trainer are good indications of an Arc triumph.

The World Series of Baseball is the MLB’s (Major League Baseball) way of determining the best baseball team of the year and is one of the highlights of the American sports calendar and is as important to American culture as Independence Day and Thanksgiving. It is essentially a contest played over a maximum of seven games of baseball (The first team to four wins is crowned the World Series Champions). Betting on the World Series is big business not just in the US and Canada, but all over the world.

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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the final Grand Prix in the 2009 F1 season. This will be the first time a F1 Grand Prix race has been held in Abu Dhabi and the race will take place at the brand new Yas Marina circuit. Betting on a F1 Grand Prix is not restricted to the race however with betting also available on the Qualifying event which takes place the day before the Grand Prix. The main event however, is the race itself. You can bet using a fixed odds or a spread betting system on anything from lap times to the eventual winner of the Grand Prix.

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PDC World Darts Championship has been around in its current format since 1994 after a disagreement with the B.D.O (The British Darts Organisation). There are then, in effect, two World Darts Championships, with the other run by the B.D.O. Both World Darts Championships attract a large amount of attention each having different advantages of playing in them The PDC World Darts Championship can boast the largest prize fund, yet the B.D.O is shown on terrestrial (free to view) television in the UK. Darts betting is a growing industry and bets can be taken on many things such as match or sets results, the most 180’s or the highest checkout.

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