Summer may have a couple of weeks left, but sports fans are beginning to sense the excitement as many of the world’s biggest leagues and tournaments have either kicked off or are about to. The final few months of the year are always some of the busiest in sport and 2021 is going to be no different.
Here are some of the best competitions to keep an eye on in the run-up to Christmas.
The NFL is the premier competition for gridiron football, it’s also the wealthiest sports league in the world. Despite this, its season is relatively short, with the regular season beginning in early September and the playoffs beginning in January.
This year, the NFL announced a much-anticipated decision that will see teams play 17 games this season, instead of the traditional 16 that fans are accustomed to. While it won’t have any major effect on the outcome of the regular season, it will mean that players are likely to be more fatigued going into the playoffs and also increases the risk of injury.
For football fans that like to bet on NFL games, this could create some interesting opportunities. Because of this, fans will want to keep an eye on the NFL picks from expert pundits and handicappers to use their insight while making decisions during this unprecedented season.
NFL Week 1 games get underway on September 9 when the Buccaneers play the Cowboys.
The English Premier League
While the NFL is the giant of gridiron, the EPL is the supreme leader of soccer (association football). It is the biggest domestic football league in the world, attracting more viewers and generating more revenue than its European counterparts like La Liga, the Bundesliga, and Serie A.
The Premier League season has already begun, with some interesting results in the opening games. One of the most notable was Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Brentford, a club that was only just promoted into the top tier and hadn’t played a game at this level for the best part of a century.
Manchester City will be hoping to defend their title, but a resurgent Manchester United and a strong-looking Liverpool mean we could be in for an exciting championship race.
The F1 season runs from spring to the autumn, though in recent years the final race has been moved later and later and is now held in December instead of early October.
The mandatory summer shut down, which sees teams forced to close their factories and send their employees on holiday for three weeks in August is almost over and the second half of the championship is soon to begin.
This year is looking like it will be a close battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, with both racers trading blows throughout the first half of the year. Hamilton went into the summer shutdown with a small championship lead, but Verstappen has two home races that could give him the edge he needs to get back in front.
The professional basketball season usually begins in October but started a little later in 2020 due to the delayed end to the playoffs in the summer. It returns to its traditional schedule in 2021, with the first games due to tipoff on October 19.
Opening night will see the reigning champions Milwaukee Bucks take on the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors face off against the Los Angeles Lakers. A number of exciting Christmas Day matches, including Bucks vs. Celtics, Suns vs. Warriors, Knicks vs. Hawks, and Jazz vs. Mavericks.
The biggest of all will be the LA Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets at the Staple Center, as it will see big names like LeBron James and Russell Westbrook going head-to-head with the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.