Merry Christmas! I hope you have had a great festive period so far!

And let’s not forget that while today is the big day when gifts are exchanged, carols sung, turkey eaten and many a drink imbibed, tomorrow is also a Christmas holiday.

Here in the UK that is Boxing Day and that date, the 26th December is also one of the biggest sporting days of the year.

And to explain why, we have covered some of the sporting events, big and small, that traditionally take place on Boxing Day.

As usual, we have tried to give you some tips and pointers for this year’s events too, with odds as always taken from bet365 Sport.

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Annual Boxing Day Sporting Fixtures

Premier & Football League – Boxing Day Fixture List

For many years, Boxing Day was synonymous with football. In fact, in the early years of the Football League, teams would often play on Christmas Day and then play another game on Boxing Day. Often against the same opponents.

Christmas Day games soon dwindled away, but Boxing Day fixtures have remained one of the iconic weeks of the season across the Football League and beyond.

It is partly the reason that it is such a busy time of the year for football clubs with usually three sets of fixtures taking place just before, during and just after Christmas, leading into the New Year.

TV now means that we only have some games played on Boxing Day rather than a full set of matches and this year we have the following games taking place on the 26th December.

26th December

  • 12.30pm – Newcastle United v Nottingham Forest
  • 3.00pm – Bournemouth v Fulham
  • 3.00pm – Sheffield United v Luton Town
  • 5.30pm – Burnley v Liverpool
  • 8.00pm – Manchester United v Aston Villa

We then have the remaining ‘Boxing Day’ Fixtures in the two days afterwards.

27th December

  • 7.30pm – Brentford v Wolves
  • 7.30pm – Everton v Manchester City
  • 7.30pm – Chelsea v Crystal Palace

28th December

  • 7.30pm – Brighton v Tottenham
  • 8.15pm – Arsenal v West Ham United

Our Tip? If you are looking for a nice accumulator bet on this set of games, we’d back Bournemouth, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal all to win, which would give you odds of 11.15/1 on a fourfold bet with bet365.

King George VI Chase at Kempton Park

One of the biggest sporting events to take place on Boxing Day every year is the King George VI Chase, which is part of the Kempton Boxing Day meeting.

Outside of the Cheltenham Gold Cup contested in March, this is one of the biggest national hunt races of the season and it always attracts a stellar field.

Run over three miles for horses four years old and over, there is £250,000 up for grabs in the race, which was first contested back in 1937.

Over the years, fifteen horses have won the race more than once, with Kauto Star the most successful horse in the race history with five wins, one ahead of the famous Desert Orchid.

Other famous winners include Long Run (2010 & 2012), Silvinaco Conti (2013 & 14), Thistlecrack (2016),  Clan des Obeaux (2018, 2019), Kicking King (2004, 2005), Silver Buck (1979, 1980) and Wayward Lad (1982, 1983).

Ruby Walsh is the most successful jockey in the history of the race, winning it on five occasions aboard Kauto Star each time.

Paul Nicholls is the most successful trainer in the history of the race, training 13 winners so far in his career.

  • The 2023 Runners

This year’s race is one of the more open ones in recent years with a number of horses believed to be in with a great chance of a win.

Bet365 Sport has Bravemansgame and Gerri Colombe as the joint-favourites at 5/2, with Allago the 3/1 second favourite. There’s a gap then to Shishkin and Royale Pagalle at 8/1 with The Real Whacker a 10/1 chance.

Outsides include Pic D’Orhy (25/1), Galopin Des Champs and Hewick (33/1), Edwardstone (50/1), Frodon, My Drogo, Protektorat (all 66/1) and Shan Blue and Midnight River (both 100/1 chances).

Our Tip? – It’s a close race this year and much will depend on the ground, which looks likely to be soft or good to soft. With that in mind I think Gerri Colombe is worth considering but also look out for Royal Pagalle.

Boxing Day Test Match

Australia loves its cricket and part of the winter calendar is a Boxing Day Test Match. Every four years, that comes against England as part of the Ashes series, but on other years, the Aussies can take on any of the major Cricketing nations.

This year, it is the touring Pakistan team that will provide Australia with the opposition at the MCG in Melbourne, and it is a test that the bookmakers expect the home team to win.

Bet365 Sport has the Aussies as 1-6 to win the test, while Pakistan are a lengthy 11/1 to win, the draw is a 13/2 option.

Australia have established themselves as one of the top teams in the world, along with India, at Test level and they also beat India in the recent Cricket World Cup Final, in India.

Bet365 is offering a wide range of markets on this Test Match already.

This test is the second game of the tour of Australia for Pakistan. England will be playing their winter test cricket in the West Indies.

Our Tip? – You can’t really go against Australia to win the test here and they should do so comfortably.

NFL Action in the Early Hours of Boxing Day

The NFL is one of the few sports that does have games on Christmas Day, and this year there is also one on Boxing Day, albeit in the early hours of the morning.

And what a game it promises to be too as two of the leading lights in the NFC and AFC will clash as the San Francisco 49ers welcome the Baltimore Ravens.

At the time of writing, both teams sit at the top of their respective Playoff Conference seedings after 13 games, both with a 10-3 record. Both teams have a stifling defense and both have an explosive offense.

The 49ers probably have the greater strength in depth on offense, but the Ravens may feel that their defense is better than the 49ers, which is a bold statement to make.

The game pits Lamar Jackson of the Ravens against the 49ers suffocating defense, while 49ers QB Brock Purdy will be trying to unpick a very ball hungry Ravens secondary.

Is this a preview of a potential Super Bowl in a few weeks’ time in Early February? Who knows?

The Ravens are 19/10 on the money line for the win with the 49ers the 10/23 favourites.

Our Tip? – This will be a closer game than the bookmakers are suggesting but even so, I think the 49ers just have that extra bit of quality and strength in depth and so I’d take them to win this one 23-20.

So do enjoy Boxing Day with as much sport as you can stomach, as it is likely to be more palatable than day old Turkey sandwiches!