Clear Your Schedules: The Top 5 Days Bettors Can Look Forward to for the Rest of 2020
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Lamar Jackson
If four months ago you told me that on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend the sports slate was going to be packed with the Kentucky Derby, an NHL Game 7, Celtics-Raptors & Clippers-Nuggets, US Open matches, 17 MLB games, the second round of the PGA Playoff Finale, and UFC Fight Night, I would have simply said, “Get the f*** out of here.”
It took months of anguish to get to this point, but we are finally here. There is no looking back.
At the end of March, I can wholefully say the sports world was defeated. There was zero hope and absolutely nothing to look forward to. It was as if sports fans and bettors were brought to heaven’s gates (pre-March Madness) and right when we were about to enter paradise, God said, “Actually, we’re at capacity, but there’s plenty of room in purgatory.”
The sports betting community was then relegated to betting on Australian Rules Football, KBO and on most nights, nothing at all. We were robbed of the greatest month of sports you can get in a calendar year.
After what seemed like an eternity in “sports purgatory” (roughly 5 months), we are back and better than ever. The NHL and NBA playoffs have been nothing short of phenomenal, college football is slowly coming back, and Major League Baseball has finally gotten its act together.
And don’t blink yet because the first NFL Sunday of the season is one day away!
We all know how horrible COVID-19 has been and the negative effect it has had on the entire world, but if there’s one thing we can be thankful for, it’s no fall weddings (you’re welcome, Stuckey).
With all that being said, this is going to be the greatest fall in the history of sports. So, sit back, relax and free up space on those calendars!
I present you: The Top 5 Days Bettors Can Look Forward to in 2020.
- NFL Opening Sunday
- Potential Game 7 Between Nuggets-Clippers
- MLB Regular Season Games
- Men’s US Open Final
- Islanders-Lightning Game 4
COVID-19 or no COVID-19, opening Sunday of the NFL season should be a national holiday. No matter your age, if you’re not sprinting into the TV room prior to kickoff like it’s Christmas morning, I am going to judge you.
Fantasy lineups set. Straight bets, teasers, and “Can’t Lose Parlays” locked in. Beer and food at the perfect temperature. Red Zone on the main TV and your hometown team on the television you brought in from someone’s bedroom. If that doesn’t sound like heaven on Earth, you’re in the wrong place.
The first NFL Sunday is a special one. Your fantasy team is undefeated. Your betting record, immaculate. It’s a day where your heart is full and yet to be broken by a bad beat that you can’t even begin to fathom.
Not only do we have an entire day of football to bet on, but the 13th of September is the last possible day for NBA conference semifinals games, Islanders-Lightning Game 4, and the Men’s US Open Final.
Can you imagine watching Rams-Cowboys on one TV and Jamal Murray/Kawhi Leonard duking it out for a spot in the Western Conference Finals on another?
- SEC Opening Weekend
- Big 12 Opening Weekend
- NBA Conference Finals (Potential Game 6)
- Potential Stanley Cup Finals
Sept. 26 may turn into one of the most hyped-up sports days of 2020, and with good reason. Starting at 12 p.m. ET, bettors are going to be blessed with the return of SEC and Big 12 football. That alone could put the day in the running for sports day of 2020, but we’re not even close to being finished.
If 9/26 is a plate of nachos from your favorite sports bar, the SEC and Big 12 are the chips (the foundation), and we are about to start loading that puppy up with more toppings than you can imagine.
First, we’ll add the meat: The U vs. Florida State, Pitt vs. Louisville and Wake Forest vs. Notre Dame.
Next, we’ll add the cheese: Game 4 of the World Series.
Next, we throw on the beans, corn, lettuce and jalapeños: the NBA Conference Finals. A potential Battle of LA in the bubble? Heat vs. the Celtics? Talk about the freshest ingredients in the world.
To top it all off we add the pico and guac: The end of the Stanley Cup Finals.
If this slate doesn’t get your mouth watering, this article may not be for you.
- Game 1 of NBA Finals
- Potential Stanley Cup Finals
It’s hard not to get excited thinking about the storylines heading into Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Is LeBron the GOAT if he wins title No. 4?
Kawhi cementing himself as one of the greatest to ever play if the Clippers win.
Can Jimmy Butler and the Heat shock the world?
Will Jayson Tatum start getting recognized as one of the best players in the NBA?
Will the hot streak for Jamal Murray and the Nuggets continue?
Russ and Harden’s legacies on the line.
The potential matchups are tantalizing. What I love about this year’s playoffs is that it’s relatively unpredictable. For the past five years, we have known that the Warriors would represent the West (and probably win), and with the exception of last year, we knew LeBron would be in the finals.
This year is different, and I couldn’t be happier. Besides the fact that Game 1 is going to be an absolute dogfight, there’s going to be zero home-court advantage. I’m intrigued to see how role players and players making their first finals appearances play without the pressure of 20,000 fans screaming in their faces.
Add the potential for a Game 5 or Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Finals, and this should do a great job of rounding out an unbelievable September filled with magnificent sporting events.
- Masters Sunday
- Week 10 of NFL
- NFL Key Matchups: Colts-Titans, Bengals-Steelers, Bucs-Panthers, Seahawks-Rams, 49ers-Saints, Ravens-Patriots (SNF)
Masters Sundays and meaningful NFL games? Yes, please.
This is the type of Sunday where you don’t leave your couch for 12 hours straight. The type of day where you’re getting lunch and dinner delivered to your house and are going to tip extra just to have the food brought directly to your couch.
If last year’s Masters and the most recent PGA tournaments are any indication of how this year’s tournament will be, we’re in for a treat. In Tiger Woods’ return to glory last year at Augusta he shot 13-under par, just a one-stroke victory over the likes of Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, and Dustin Johnson. This year, we have the emergence of young stud Collin Morikawa, DJ cementing himself as the world No. 1, bomber Bryson DeChambaeu and the usuals like Jon Rahm, Brooks and many more.
Now to the NFL:
Is Week 10 of this upcoming NFL season just another week? Definitely not.
It’s the type of slate that makes you do a double-take when looking at it. The type of slate that makes gamblers say, “Well, I’m just going to have to bet the entire board.”
Notable Week 10 matchups:
TEN-IND: Division matchup, these two teams will likely be very close in the standings. Almost guaranteed to be a 1.5-point spread either way and a low scoring dogfight.
CIN-PIT: Divisional rivals who absolutely hate each other. Last year this matchup might’ve been overlooked, but both franchises seem to be trending upward from last season.
SEA-LA: The NFC West is going to be a crowded division this season. The 49ers are the favorites to win it and right behind them are their foes from Seattle and LA. This will be an enormous game to gain traction in the standings.
SF-NO: I’ll be the one to say it. We were robbed of this game not being the NFC Championship last season. These teams were clearly the best teams in the conference and showcased how fun a game between them could be. When they faced off in Week 13 last season, San Fran won 48-46 in a shootout.
Sunday Night Football (BAL-NE): The Masters will likely be over at this point, and after an emotional roller coaster that the day was, what better way to cap it off than Ravens-Patriots. Cam vs. Lamar. John vs. Bill.
College Football Conference Championship Weekend.
All I can say about Dec. 19 is that it’s going to be the ultimate “we made it weekend.”
Yes, we lost a few conferences along the way, BUT that’s not what bettors are going to be focused on. We will be looking at this date with a positive light because of what it means for the sport of college football: we got through the season.
Clemson will most likely run the floor this season, but can another team contend? If there is no College Football Playoff this season, it could be the last time we see Trevor Lawrence on the field in that Clemson Orange.
Has this game ever let us down? Whether it’s BAMA, LSU, UGA, or any other program, we know we are in for an awesome showdown.
Big 12 Championship
This is one of the more intriguing games for me. Before the season even starts, it’s tough to not get excited about a potential rematch between Baylor and Oklahoma or any team against Texas.
All I can say is when Dec. 19 rolls around, us bettors need to be thankful that we have championship football in our lives. Bet with your friends and bet with your loved ones because it’s going to be a glorious day in sports.