After delays and changes to leagues and schedules – 2021 is shaping up to be one of the most memorable years of the last 20 years. The calendar is chalked full of sports – with June and July possibly the busiest months of our lifetime.
Getting ready for the biggest sporting events by checking out the best sports betting apps – so you can jump in on the action at any time and anywhere.
“NBA Play-In Games” by Kevin C. Cox/Getty is licensed under CC BY 3.0
The NBA Play-In Games
To help recoup some money lost this season – due to no/few fans and a shorter schedule – the National Basketball Association introduced play-in games to get into the NBA playoffs. In both Conferences, the seven and eight seeds will play. The loser of the seven/eight game will play the winner of the game between the nine and ten seeds.
The concept has made the end of the season more entertaining than usual – as a higher proportion of the league has a chance to make the playoffs. This is also likely a one-off thing, so it will be fun to see this single-elimination/double-elimination round before the playoffs start.
Seven-Inning Doubleheaders in the MLB
To make sure game delays do not bite the league in the butt later in the year, Major League Baseball is once again employing seven-inning doubleheaders. If you are a huge baseball fan, these games are super fun to watch, as they move quicker, and you get to watch the same teams play twice in a day.
We do not know if this will continue after this season, but for the rest of 2021, these games are something unique for fans and bettors alike.
All-Canadian Playoff Series in the NHL
Despite Canada being the birthplace of hockey and home to seven National Hockey League teams – Canadian teams playing each other in the playoffs is surprisingly rare. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens have not played in the playoffs since 1979 – that is over 40 years for the two oldest clubs in Canada.
With the way the playoffs are set up this year, we are guaranteed three series featuring only Canadian teams. The buildup over the year – as they have only played each other during the regular season – is setting up for some exciting playoff series.
“All Canadian Playoff Series” by NHL is licensed under CC BY 3.0
The Olympics Without any International Fans
One of the biggest mysteries of 2021 is whether Olympics athletes will perform at their highest levels without any fans (from their country) in attendance (assuming the Olympics still happen). Japan is only allowing Japanese citizens to attend the Games – making this one of the most unpredictable sporting events of our lifetimes.
I assume most athletes – finally getting their chance after a year’s worth of delays – will not care about fans and only care about their chance at a medal, but I cannot guarantee anything. This means we could get a diverse number of winners and stories from the 2021 Olympic Games.
UEFA Champions League Finals
After the debacle that was the European Super League (which was to include three of the four finalists in this year’s Champions League), it will be interesting to see if the fans are still mad. If PSG makes the Finals, as the only remaining team not to join the Super League, will they have universal backing from other soccer fans, or are fans going to have forgiven and moved on by the end of May?
The 2020 Euro Cup
It will always feel weird calling something “2020” when it is taking place in 2021 – but that is just the case for many events, including the 2020 Euro Cup. The world’s second-biggest soccer tournament is on the schedule for mid-June to mid-July. The event would have been quite different if UEFA and FIFA banned players on Super League teams – but even without the banned, there is plenty to enjoy from this tournament – including some great betting options on the winner and every match.