Winter is usually a time when you see your family more than other times of year, and also a time where you generally have more time off work, without going away for a holiday.
The season is also where a lot of sports action gets cramped into a short period of time, notably football, but also the conclusion to the NFL season in February, and the start of the tennis season, with the Australia Open in January.
For those who like online gaming but aren’t so keen on spot, then online casinos are open 24 hours a day, all year round. Others may prefer to play online bingo instead, whatever takes your fancy.
Here’s what you can look forward to from a sporting point of view over the coming months:
Super League Grand Final
We were hoping to write about Warrington Wolves competing for the Grand Final this season, but our local team were disappointingly eliminated at home by Hull FC last week. Heartbreak again for the side that have been runners-up in four of the past eight finals without ever winning the title since the league rebranded 25 years ago.
Hull FC advance to face the Wigan Warriors in the semi-finals on Thursday 19 November, whilst St Helens will host the Catalan Dragons 24 hours later at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Catalans advanced from their elimination play-off with a 26-14 win over the Leeds Rhinos last week. St Helens are the defending champions and are neck-and-neck with Wigan to win this year’s final according to the bookmakers’ odds.
French club Catalans have never previously reached the final, whilst Wigan have won two of the previous four.
The Grand Final is set to take place at the KCOM Stadium in Hull on Friday 27 November.
The first of four Grand Slams always kicks off the New Year in January. Novak Djokovic will head to Australia as the defending champion from 2020, when he beat Dominic Thiem in five sets.
Thiem rebounded from his defeat to win the US Open, whilst Rafa Nadal won the French Open. Djokovic has won the last two Australian Open tournaments and seven of the last 10. No surprise that he’s already the bookmakers’ favourites to win in 2021 too.
Djokovic is barely over evens currently, whilst Rafa Nadal, Daniil Medvedev and Thiem are who the bookmakers expect to give him the toughest competition during his title defence.
In the women’s game, American Sofia Kenin came from a set down to beat Garbine Muguruza to win her first Grand Slam at the start of this year too.
The previous six women’s Grand Slams have been won by six different players, with four of those winning their first major trophy.
Naomi Osaka has been on top of the WTA of late and won her second of three Grand Slams in Australia two years ago, in between the 2018 and 2020 US Opens. The Japanese star is joined by Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu as the current pre-tournament favourites.
It was confirmed on Sunday that Tennis Australia are relocating the 2021 Australian Open to Melbourne, as well as all other tennis events.
The FA Cup
The oldest football club cup competition in the world, the FA Cup proper started at the end of October, but it is in January where things get exciting as clubs from the Premier League and Championship enter.
Third round matches are scheduled for the second weekend of January, with the draw taking place at the start of December.
Arsenal are the defending champions after coming from behind to beat London rivals Chelsea in the final back in August. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored both goals for Mikel Arteta’s side in a 2-1 win at Wembley Stadium.
The Gunners have made a disappointing start to their 2020-21 Premier League campaign, sitting down in 11th after eight games during the international weekend, whilst Chelsea fans will be expecting Frank Lampard to finish higher than the current fifth place where they sit.
Chelsea spent a lot of money over the summer, bringing in the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell, but have dropped points against West Bromwich Albion and Southampton already.
NFL Super Bowl
American Football has really grown in popularity in the United Kingdom over the past decade or so, with four games a season taking place in the capital.
The season started as usual in September this year and is set to conclude on the first weekend of February in Florida.
Kansas City Chiefs are the defending champions after their fourth quarter comeback versus the San Francisco 49ers back in February of this year and Andy Reid’s side are among the favourites to win the grand prize again early in the New Year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers are expected to be strong contenders for the Vince Lombardi trophy.
The Weekend are confirmed to play the Super Bowl half-time show – something that has been greatly popular among sports fans and non-sports fans for years.
The annual nine-ball pool tournament that sees Europe compete with the United States is set to take place over the first four days of December this year. Team Europe are the hosts.
The Mosconi Cup celebrated its 25-year anniversary last year with USA winning it for a second year in a row. This year’s competition takes place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry for the first time. England has predominantly hosted the tournament for Europe, and when it has, it has always previously been in London.
USA hosted last year’s tournament and it took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, its usual host when across the pond.
Teams are yet to be announced with two weeks until the 2020 Mosconi Cup kicks off but you can expect Skyler Woodward to be part of Team USA having been named the MVP for each of the previous two editions.