Us sports addicts always have plenty to look forward to at this time of year and this week is no exception with the Winter Olympics powering along as well as plenty of football, NBA, cricket and tennis to keep us glued to our television screens.
We’ll start with the Olympics where it’s been slow going for those of us across Asia and Asia-Pacific so far as the likes of Norway and Canada dominate the medal tally as expected. Still, this weekend sees some of the more entertaining spectator sports with ski jumping, speed skating and ice hockey all underway. Also in action will be China’s women’s curling team who famously won bronze in Vancouver and appear to be rediscovering their best form after reuniting their 2010 squad in the lead-up to Sochi.
It’s a busy few days in England with a mid-week round of EPL kicking off this morning followed by the fifth round of the FA Cup over the weekend. All eyes will be on Manchester United’s trip to Arsenal tonight which could again have major implications on the title race following Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at West Brom this morning, while the FA Cup sees a huge clash as the Blues return to Manchester to try and beat City at Etihad Stadium for the second time in the space of just a few weeks. Arsenal’s big week also continues full steam ahead on Sunday night when they host Liverpool just a week after the Reds humiliated them 5-1 at Anfield in the league.
The NBA takes a break this weekend to celebrate the All-Star Weekend with the best in the game headed to New Orleans to show off their skills. While the All-Star game itself is worth watching, the highlight for us has always been the Dunk contest which will see six of the NBA’s best show off their acrobatic brilliance. We’ve never been huge fans of betting on this game given it is more about putting on a show than going all out to win, but for the record the West has won the past three All-Star Games.
Finally to the tennis and while the men are split between three separate ATP events this week, the women have all converged on Doha for the Qatar Open. Heading the list is China’s Australian Open champion Li Na, who enjoyed a first round bye but can expect some tough matches in the coming days with Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Lucie Safarova and Jelena Jankovic all on her side of the draw. Should she reach Saturday’s final, the likes of Agnieszka Radwanska or Sam Stosur are in line to meet her. We like Na’s chances of adding another title.
Good luck and good punting