The festive period has always been a busy one for British football, and this year is no different. The upcoming week will see the Premier League play on Boxing Day, then again over the weekend, and then once again on New Year’s Day – three rounds of fixtures condensed into one action-packed week. This is, of course, a long-standing tradition – Christmas and the New Year just do not feel the same without football. Of course, jam-packed weeks like this one bring the opportunity to ‘earn’ some extra Christmas cheer, if you will. Fans can add to the festive football experience, via the bet365 mobile casino app.

The Irish leagues will also be in play, with the Danske Bank Premiership seeing the top four at the moment separated by only three points. Linfield lead the pack at the moment, but any of Cliftonville, Coleraine or Crusaders could take their place in the space of one match. Glentoran are only two points further behind, making it five points separating 1st from 5th. A superb second half of the season awaits, where there is every likelihood of a photo finish if all the teams involved can keep up their current pace. There is very little margin for error for any of these teams. Linfield had the chance to pull ahead, but were held to a draw by Crusaders over the weekend, who could have actually beaten the league leaders and turned the table on its head. Elsewhere, Cliftonville beat Coleraine 1-0, when the actual score could have easily been three or more goals to the good. In any case, Cliftonville’s took them above their rivals and moved them into second place in the league, and with a Boxing Day game against Crusaders coming up, they have the chance to put some daylight between them and the chasing pack. Glentoran missed the chance to close the gap on the four teams above them as they went down 1-0 to Carrick Rangers, but their upcoming Boxing Day derby against Linfield promises to be a must-watch game; win that, and the cat will truly be amongst the pigeons at the top of the league.

The betting odds for the Northern Ireland Premier League have Linfield as favourites at 1.66, with Cliftonville (6.00), Crusaders (5.50) and Coleraine (10.00) all at steeper odds despite how tight the table is. Depending on how the league goes, these could all provide fantastic returns if Linfield slip up and any of the other sides take advantage.