At the time of writing, the NBA Conference Finals are in full swing: The Rockets and Warriors are locked on two games apiece, with the Celtics and Cavaliers tied on the same score. Both series have been scintillating so far, something that bodes well for the NBA Finals. After that, fans of Big 4 sports will have to wait a few months until the MLB season truly gets to the business end in the late summer before seeing games that really matter. But there is plenty on the horizon for fans of sports still to come in 2018. Here are four dates that you should mark down on your calendar:
World Cup Final 15th July, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
From a global perspective, there is nothing quite like the World Cup Final. It’s the Super Bowl, World Series and Stanley Cup all rolled into one. No USA or Canadian national teams this time around, but everyone will have a ‘home’ team nonetheless. The money seems to be going on champions Germany (5.02, Sports Interaction) or Brazil (4.31) to lift the trophy, but you should keep an eye on a revamped Spain side (8.08) who look in great shape before the tournament kicks off on 14th June. Keep an eye on all the action with the latest odds and free bets for sports betting in Canada.
Ryder Cup 28th-30th September, Le Golf National, France
Let’s face it, unless you are a hardcore fan, golf doesn’t really get the blood pumping like other sports. However, the Ryder Cup, which pits the best USA golfers in a team against the best Europeans, is something of an anomaly. Unlike most golf tournaments, the Ryder Cup has a serious edge, one that filters through to a raucous crowd and pumped up players. The odds, which say USA at 1.90 and Europe at 2.10 (Bet365), suggest this is going to be close. Expect that to make the 2018 Ryder Cup explosive.
Serena Williams at the US Open, 27th August – 11th September, Flushing Meadows, NYC
There is often a lot of debate about Serena Williams’ standing in the all-time list of tennis greats, with the fact that she is a woman being used to both celebrate and denigrate her achievements. Such debate is arbitrary, but we do know that Williams is one of the greatest athletes in history. By the time the US Open comes around, there is a real chance she will be gunning for her 25th Grand Slam – the highest number of any player, male or female. She needs to win one of Wimbledon or the French Open (with the former most likely) to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Slams. If so, she will enter the US Open (5.0 favourite with William Hill) with the chance of making history.
MLB Postseason, October – November, various locations
It’s 14 seasons since the most-bitter rivals in baseball, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, met in the MLB Postseason. Back then we saw the rivalry at its best, with players like Mariano Rivera, Pedro Martinez, Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriquez all in their pomp. It just so happens that those two sides have the best records in baseball as we reach the mid-point in the 2018 season, with the Yankees (5.00, Bet365) favourites to win the World Series. However, there is every chance we could see the two rivals meet in the ALDS or ALCS, making the kind of clash that could see interest in baseball revived across North America and beyond.