As we say goodbye to 2022, we look forward to 2023 and what promises to be another fascinating year of sport. There may not be a soccer World Cup to look forward to, but there is plenty of action to keep us enthralled.
From Majors in golf, Grand Slam events in tennis, to championships games in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, the leading sports betting sites will be updating their markets accordingly.
Also this year, team USA renews its battle with Europe in the Ryder Cup, while France will hope home field advantage can help them win rugby union's World Cup for the first time. At Bookmakers.com, we picked out 23 of the best bets for 2023.
Georgia and Kirby Smart have seemingly taken over Nick Saban’s mantle as the preeminent college football program. They have won 13 matches in a row and will make it 15 by the time the season ends on January 9. They have a whole host of expected 2023 NFL draft first-rounders on their roster, and they are the only team in the country to have both a top-10 offense and a top-10 defense.
It would be tempting to go with Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan before he likely returns to the NFL to coach given how much they have trampled over teams this season at the line of scrimmage. However, the way Georgia bullied Michigan into submission in the Orange Bowl last season means you cannot look past Georgia who will be a much shorter price at college football betting sites after the Peach Bowl.
The NFL season never fails to serve up surprises, and this season is no different. Teams tipped to do well before the season started, have fallen by the wayside and teams have come from nowhere to emerge as genuine contenders. One of those teams is the Philadelphia Eagles. Nick Siriani led the Eagles to a 9-8 record last season and a first round exit to the Buccaneers in the playoffs.
Few NFL betting sites predicted Philadelphia would be serious contenders this season. They were the last unbeaten team, which has come with a curse in recent years. The last team to win the Super Bowl while being the last undefeated team were the Indianapolis Colts. The Eagles are playing great football on both sides of the ball and they can beat teams through the air or on the ground. They also have players on the roster that won the Super Bowl LII. That experience can help the Eagles win a second Super Bowl.
The Formula 1 season gets under way on Sunday, 5 March with Max Verstappen starting as favorite. The Dutchman has dominated the sport in the last two seasons, following up his controversial title win over Lewis Hamilton by eight points in 2021 with a more convincing 146-point win. His nearest rival in 2022 wasn't Hamilton, but Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. Leclerc's reputation continues to rise with every season completed and expectations are high for 2023. He is one of the drivers high up the market with trusted sports betting sites.
Nobody secured more pole positions than Leclerc in 2022, but the Monaco resident was only able to convert three of those into wins. If Leclerc can find a way to improve his conversion rate, then this could be the year that Ferrari finally end their championship drought. The last time the 'Prancing Horse' finished top of the Driver's Championship, was in 2007 when Kimi Raikkonen was the toast of Maranello. If his car can stay reliable, Leclerc could bring the good times back to Ferrari.
Honeysuckle may not be able to beat the newest superstar of National Hunt racing in Constitution Hill in March's Champion Hurdle, but the two-time winner has been subject of a massive overreaction to her first ever race course defeat at Fairyhouse in the Hattons Grace Hurdle. She finished third and arguably ran as well as she ever does on her first race of the season. This year, however, there were two rivals fitter and more ready for the race than herself. She showed all her usual class in the race, and would be around 3/1 or 4/1 to win the Champion Hurdle had she won as was expected.
She will likely win at Christmas in her next engagement at Leopardstown, and all being well, will line up to face Constitution Hill at Cheltenham in defense of her title come March. It will no doubt be a great race, and some racing bookmakers are offering betting without the Nicky Henderson hot pot, and 11/4 for her to come second or win the race is way too generous. This looks one of the best bets you can place currently on the racing scene.
Marie's Rock ended last season winning three races on the bounce including the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Grade 1 equivalent at Punchestown. Always thought of in the highest regard, and hailing from the Nicky Henderson stable, she is never likely to be aimed at anything else for this season, given they have Constitution Hill and Epatante in the ranks at the yard.
Currently priced at 9/1 on many horse racing betting apps to repeat last year's victory, the price seems generous with market leader Honeysuckle unlikely to divert and run here. Epatante is also more likely to aim for the Champion Hurdle too, and then Marie's Rock will set a very hard standard to beat. Well worth obtaining any price close to double figures for the mare, who will surely line up and be a lot shorter on the day of the race.
Irish trainer Henry de Bromhead landed the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, and the Turners Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2021 and 2022 respectively, with his charge Bob Olinger. This two-time festival winner is likely to aim for the Stayers' Hurdle in March, and it's a race that has looked an open division for some time, despite having a two-time winner at the head of the ante post market in Flooring Porter.
Bob Olinger ran well back over hurdles on first start this season, but is expected to come forward and land a good trial around Christmas time, and then likely one more run before Cheltenham itself this spring. If that goes to plan, it is highly likely he will be among the very best in the division, and could be favorite for this race on the day. Double figure prices with the leading sports betting sites look solid value right now.
If Bravemansgame is to win the King George Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day 2022 then surely trainer Paul Nicholls and owners will consider a tilt at the biggest race in the National Hunt game, the Gold Cup, to hard to ignore.
Currently the market has the chaser as a likely non runner given the quotes of 20/1 or bigger with the leading horse racing betting apps but that is based on the fact that perhaps Cheltenham is not the best track for the horse. Beaten in one of the best Ballymore Novice Hurdles behind Bob Olinger two seasons ago and then a non runner on the day at the 2022 Festival when favourite to win the RSA Chase it is surely too soon to consider Bravemansgame as a horse that can't run there again; and win.
A King George seems to be at his mercy over Xmas and winning it as the market expects would see single figure quotes for the horse to win the Gold Cup in March. It's too tempting at the current prices now to ignore. This is one to get on before Christmas day!
Rory McIlroy has been playing some of the best golf of his career in the last 12 months but somehow remains without a major victory since the 2014 PGA Championship. His game is tailor-made for Augusta. His massive power and high ball flight give him a big advantage over a lot of the field, as he’s able to attack a lot more pins.
With seven top-10 finishes at the Masters in the last nine years, it seems it’s just a matter of time before he gets to put on the Green Jacket and complete the career Grand Slam. A quick, or even a steady start could be all he needs, as he often rallies over the weekend before running out of holes. If he manages to stay in touch early, this could be McIlroy’s Masters. And the best golf betting sites seem to agree.
Arguably, there was no more impressive team across Europe than Napoli before the break for the World Cup. Under Luciano Spaletti, they won 13 and drew two of their 15 Serie A games to open up an eight-point lead at the top of the table. They also finished top of their Champions League group that included Liverpool and Ajax. At home to Liverpool they won 4-1. They have also made it to the round of 16 of the Coppa Italia.
The World Cup break came at just about the worst time for Napoli, but there's no reason their momentum, needs to be halted. Napoli’s reward for topping the Champions League group was a round-of-16 tie with Eintracht Frankfurt. Provided they get mildly lucky in the draw for the quarter-finals in March 2023, a place in the semi-final should be well within reach, and with positive odds available at soccer betting sites it would seem a prudent bet to place.
Kyren Wilson has long been touted as one of the next big things in snooker. Since winning the 2019 German Masters, he’s added two more ranking events to his CV, most recently the European Masters in August of 2022. He has a decent track in the World Championship, going out in the semi final in 2018 and 2021, as well as reaching the final in 2020.
Now aged 30 and ranked number five in the world, Wilson will be looking to fulfil all of the promise he showed early in his career. A more mature player now, with his high ranking all but assuring a more favorable draw than he’s perhaps had in recent years, everything appears to be in place for Wilson to make a good run at the biggest prize in snooker. Check out our snooker World Championship betting guide.
You are unlikely to see an easier Group 1 win than Little Big Bear's seven-length demolition job in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in August. Behind him that day was the highly-rated Group 2 winner Persian Force, and Royal Ascot winner, Bradsell. Although Bradsell was said to have picked up an injury during the race, there is good reason to believe that Persian Force ran to form, which looks very favorably on Little Big Bear. It is rare to see top-class sprints won by such wide margins, and it remains one of the standout two-year-old performances in recent times.
The No Nay Never colt has yet to run over further than six furlongs, and the mile trip of a 2000 Guineas remains an unknown. However, looking at his pedigree, there is plenty of cause for optimism that he will stay this trip. On his dam’s side, he comes from a family of middle-distance performers which strongly suggests that six furlongs won’t prove the limit of his stamina. In the event that he does stay a mile, he will be extremely hard to beat. Be sure to check out daily horse racing entries here.
This race revolves around the participation of the short-priced favorite Tahiyra, who is far from certain to line up here. Tahiyra’s trainer, Dermot Weld, rarely targets this race, and has hinted that he may wait to run her in the Irish equivalent later in the year, as he did with Homeless Songs in 2022. This may offer some big value elsewhere in the market. The second favorite Commisioning comes from a stable with a dire record in this race. The Gosden's only 1000 Guineas winner came in the year 2000, so she can happily be overlooked at her general 4/1 price on many horse racing betting apps.
Further down the list is Statuette, who made a big impression in her two outings as a two-year-old where she won on both occasions. Trainer Aidan O' Brien thinks the world of her and indicated that he thinks she'll have no problem getting the mile trip. This race was earmarked straight after her win at the Curragh in June, so she will be a likely runner, barring injury. She is a notably big filly, and with another few months of strengthening up and filling out her frame, she could be a monster in 2023. Quotes of 10/1 could look very generous indeed.
Alcaraz heads in to 2023 as number one in the world at just 19 years of age. With the tennis world seemingly at his feet, many see him as the new Rafa Nadal. If he’s to emulate him, then winning a French Open on clay should come naturally. He reached the quarter-final in 2022, losing to Germany’s Alexander Zverev.
As he gains more and more Grand Slam experience, Alcaraz should be well positioned to dominate the sport for years to come, as the likes of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic move towards the end of their careers. Back-to-back tournament wins on clay prior to the 2022 French Open for Alcaraz demonstrated his liking for the surface. He’s currently vying for favoritism with the trusted tennis betting sites for the tournament with Novak Djokovic, but it would be no surprise to see the young Spaniard take the title.
It's been a rollercoaster of a year for the Boston Celtics. Firstly, they reached the NBA Finals, only to lose to the Golden State Warriors. What should have been a platform to build on, was shaken to its core by the 12-month suspension given to head coach Ime Udoka for violations of team policies. The suspension was expected to derail the Celtics in their quest to be crowned NBA champions.
However, the transition from Udoka to Joe Mazzulla has been seamless. Mazzulla is the youngest head coach in the NBA, and he has got the team playing better than last season. Starting the season winning 21 of their first 26 games has renewed hopes of an 18th banner. While the Celtics are favorites on NBA betting apps, they are joined near the top of the market by the Milwaukee Bucks, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns.
Arugably one of the most exciting horses to look forward to in the 2023 flat season is Auguste Rodin. The Deep Impact colt signed off last season with a mightliy impressive performance in the Vertem Futurity on ground thought to be much softer than ideal. That was his first forray into Group 1 company after readily winning a Group 2 at Leopardstown in September.
He is currently the standout horse in the division, and trainer Aidan O’ Brien has been quoted as saying this is one of the best horses he has ever had in his possession. He is likely to start off his 2023 campaign in the 2000 Guineas, where he may bump into a couple of horses that are too speedy for him. O' Brien then intends to step him up in trip, with the Epsom showpiece being mentioned as a realistic target. Hopes will be high in Ballydoyle that he can provide Aidan with his ninth Derby success.
Nothing quite gets the juices flowing for the English cricket-loving public like an Ashes series, and particularly one in which England have a chance in. Since England’s ignominious Ashes whitewash on Australian soil in winter 2021/22 followed by a Test series defeat to the West Indies in March 2022, there has been a sea change in English cricket. With Ben Stokes as skipper and Brendon McCullum encouraging the “Bazball” style of cricket, they have won nine of 10 Test matches playing the type of exciting cricket typically only reserved for limited-overs matches.
The team’s odds with cricket betting sites would have been exceedingly long in March 2022, but they have shortened to 11/8 for good reason. They are still second favorites, but the devil may care attitude is exactly what the English public will want to see in the face of stern Aussie opposition. They can win their first Ashes series since 2015.
If the two winners of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in this millennium have taught us anything, it’s that the golfing cream generally rises to the top. Tiger Woods’ win in 2006 and Rory McIlroy’s win in 2014 also point towards it being a course that suits big hitters and generally excellent ball strikers.
Jon Rahm more than fits that bill and will be keen to make amends for a poor 2022 in the Majors by his standards. Rahm was favorite in all four with the best golf betting sites, but he failed to finish in the top 10 in any of the big four last season, having done it in all four the previous year. His best Open finish is a T3 in 2021 at Royal St. George’s. We don’t know for sure how Royal Liverpool will suit the big-hitting Spaniard, but we do know he fits the profile when trying to find a winner.
This year's Ryder Cup will be the first since professional golf was ripped apart by the arrival of the LIV tour. Players like Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson who have made their name in the Ryder Cup for Europe and the United States respectively, have joined the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV tour. Henrik Stenson was initially named Europe's captain, before his decision to join the LIV tour meant the captaincy was stripped from him. Luke Donald will now lead Europe into the three-day competition at the Marco Simone Golf Club in Guidonia Montecelio near Rome.
There's still plenty of time before the Ryder Cup starts on September 29 for more players to join the LIV and therefore rule them out of the greatest team competition in the sport. So we shall wait and see who lines up for their teams. Team USA has 12 players in the world's top 20 compared to five Europeans. That makes them favorites with many golf betting sites, but their record on European soil is terrible. Europe has won the last seven in which they have been the home team. Expect several enhanced offers ahead of this popular event.
Despite still being relatively young at 26 years of age, Will Zalatoris has already come close to winning multiple major championships. He has three runners-up finishes in Majors to his name, including most recently, a playoff defeat to Justin Thomas in the PGA Championship. He also came close to winning the Masters in his rookie year in 2021, where he finished one stroke behind Hideki Matsuyama after being the only player to break par in every round.
This was particularly impressive given that it is widely believed that you need a few years' experience of Augusta in order to get to grips with the course. The signs suggest that Zalatoris' day could come soon, and there is a very good chance that he will give us a good run for our money in all four of the year's majors. Throughout the course of the year, Zalatoris will be subject to plenty of player props with the more popular sports betting sites.
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The Los Angeles Dodgers will feel they should have won more World Series than the championship they won in 2020, which was their first since 1988. The Dodgers have been one of the more consistent teams in the sport winning 64.6% of their games over the last six seasons. In that period, they have also lost two World Series, one to the Houston Astros in 2016 and the other to the Boston Red Sox 12 months later. The Dodgers have not been too far away from the top of the market with MLB betting sites.
The biggest change in baseball in 2023 will see each team's schedule looking more balanced than ever before. In the past, 76 of the 162 games each team played, were against divisional rivals. This season, that number drops to 52 to allow teams to play every other team at least once. That should help the Dodgers, who won their division by 22 games last season. Having more variety to their schedule should help them become world champions for an eighth time.
St Helens have dominated Super League in recent times winning the last four Grand Finals beating Salford, Wigan, Catalans and Leeds in those deciders. The last two of those championships were under head coach Kristian Woolf, who has been rewarded for his success by being named one of Wayne Bennett's assistant coaches at the Dolphins who will make their NRL debut this season.
Normally, the departure of a hugely successful head coach spells danger, but it's important to remember that Woolf himself had big shoes to fill when replacing Justin Holbrook who won the first two of those four. Saints are an example of how a team should be run and continuity is a big part of their culture. Paul Wellens, who won five Grand Finals as a player, replaces Woolf as head coach. He knows what it takes to win the title, and Saints future is in safe hands, which is why they will go into the new season as favorites with leading sports betting sites to win another Grand Final
For all the great French teams there have been over the last 30 years or so, they have never won the World Cup. Three times they have been runners-up, most recently in 2011 when they were beaten 8-7 by New Zealand. France will never get a better chance of getting their name added to the Webb Ellis Trophy than in 2023.
Not only are they the hosts, they are ranked second in the world rankings and they are the current Six Nations champions after completing their 10th Grand Slam. In Antoine Dupont, France have arguably the best player in world rugby. The Toulouse scrum-half is a former World Rugby Men's 15s Player of the Year after helping his club win the 2020/21 Champions Cup. France top the outright market on many sports betting apps despite tough competition from New Zealand and Ireland. The French are not great at being favorites, but they can end that narrative at the Stade de France on October 28.
Betting against the defending 50-over World Cup champions and current T20 World Cup champions England could be a fool’s errand, but here we are. Pakistan, in past tournaments, have very much been boom-or-bust picks. In the history of the competition, they have won it once and been runners-up once, but they appear to be building a pretty special team. They lost the T20 World Cup final to England in 2022, but perhaps may not have done so if star bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi had not been injured.
If they can find extra middle-order batting, their odds with the top cricket betting sites could look incredibly generous by the time the games start. With incisive bowling from Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Wasim, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan, they are potentially the best bowling team in the world. In Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, they have a trio of batters who could score them enough runs to win the whole thing.
Article originally published 22nd December 2022.