By Andrew Robinson
What a year 2012 was. The Olympics, the Ryder Cup and Euro 2012. It’s enough to get you down, but before you reach for the dark glasses and spend the next 12 months hibernating, there’s plenty going on in January to get you over the hump.
1. ODI Internationals
England’s seemingly never-ending tour of India continues in January with five One Day Internationals. James Anderson, Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott will all miss the series, but Alastair Cook is confident. India’s aging side is missing key players, and if their fielding in the Test series is anything to go by England will be in with a shout of a series win.
2. Africa Cup of Nations
Some of the top players in Europe will be heading to South Africa to take part in the tournament this month. Zambia go to the event as holders and are a juicy 12/1 to repeat the triumph with Paddy Power.
The Ivory Coast undoubtedly have the strongest squad, with the likes of Didier Drogba, Arouna Kone, the Toure brothers and Didier Zokora all making the trip. The Elephants are 13/8 with Paddy Power for the golden generation to lift the trophy.
3. NFL play-offs
The NFL play-offs get underway this weekend with the wildcard games and the event goes on throughout January, so you’ll have plenty of action to watch.
The Denver Broncos and New England Patriots currently lead the betting at 3/1 and 10/3 respectively. Paddy Power is even running a Money-Back special on the Indianapolis Colts/Baltimore Ravens game.
If there is a touchdown scored in the final 2 minutes of regular time, losing total points bets on the game will be refunded.
4. Heineken Cup
The fifth round of Heineken Cup games take place this month, with some of Europe’s largest domestic sides, both literally and figuratively, clashing in some bruising encounters. Racing Metro against Saracens and Northampton taking on Castres are two of the highlights of round five.
5. FA Cup
The FA Cup gets into full swing on January 5, with the big boys making their debuts in the competition. With so many all-Premier League ties in the third round, this year could see a surprise winner. Swansea look like they’ll be safe this season, so could push for a Cup win. They’re on offer at 45/1 to lift the trophy in May, while West Ham could be a good shout at 66/1.
6. Premier League
The race for the Premier League is hotting up and Manchester United taking on Liverpool and Arsenal welcome Manchester City to the Emirates on January 13. United are 3/4 to continue their procession to a 20th title against Liverpool, while Arsenal and Man City are both 13/8 for their clash on January 13.