The festive period's hard work, isn't it? Small talk with rarely seen family members, fake smiling your way through the opening of new socks, pyjamas and shower kits and, of course, trying to keep up with ALL THE FUCKING FOOTBALL THAT'S ON.

Now, obviously, there's a lot to be said for the traditions of Boxing Day and New Year's Day football. They're fine and should be kept regardless of whether a winter break is ever implemented in the English game. But spreading games out across the 27th, 28th, 30th and 31st December as well as the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of January ahead of a four day weekend of FA Cup football that then segues into back-to-back nights of League Cup semi-final first legs is absolute overkill.

Not only is it just too much football to properly process, but for those among us who enjoy a festive flutter, it also makes attempting to predict what's going to happen during even the most favourable odds on fixtures nigh on fucking impossible. Players are seemingly eternally knackered and so called 'upsets' become practically commonplace.

Hopefully, those of you reading this will have enjoyed a responsible Christmas and New Year period, not getting too carried away with the relentless stream of fixtures that were available to gamble on and, as we head into FA Cup weekend, the temptation is there to continue with the festive feeling that may have won you a few quid during the last week of December.

However, it's important that this myriad of opportunities for a healthy January windfall isn't taken too far as a few big wins during a congested fixture pile up can often lead to a false sense of security being embraced, with have-a-go gamblers suddenly becoming a bit too confident in their own abilities to pick winners.

So what is important to remember is the new year's resolution that, no matter how much you may have won over Christmas, it's better to leave the hot streak in 2017 and focus on a 'less is more' philosophy to betting after almost two solid weeks of meticulously mapped out accumulators.

I'm not necessarily advocating a 'Dry January' situation, just a much more sensible one. Think of it as a more balanced diet as opposed to the gluttony of Christmas gambling. With six straight days of football ahead of us, maybe leave those Sunday and Monday fixtures to someone else to lose money on?

On the other hand, maybe you endured a lean Christmas and had more luck pulling crackers than you did pulling winners off a coupon. In that case, don't utilise this all-you-can-eat buffet of football ahead of us over the next week as an opportunity to win back all your losses. Instead, allow yourself a winter break before slowly easing yourself back into the swing of things at the end of the month, otherwise that January payday may seem even further away than ever before.

Of course, the new year brings with it the opening of the January transfer window which throws up a plethora of potential, with every top club in Europe being systematically linked with every top player on the continent. With so many agents and 'insiders' out for themselves in order to make a quick few quid during this period, you could do a lot worse than making a resolution to only bet on the deals you've seen featured in reputable outlets with a fair amount of evidence to support them, rather than lumping all your Christmas card quids on Messi joining Manchester City because of a report you saw accredited to Mundo Deportivo or Diario Gol.

Finally, much like Jose Mourinho's Manchester United, peaking too soon can be a real problem, so if you should be lucky enough to start the new year with a bang, remember that in the coming months you've still got the return of the Champions League, major cup finals and then, this summer, a solid month of World Cup action (and all the transfer rumours and markets that come with it), so maybe a period of hibernation over the winter will do you the world of good before a busy spring/summer.

Remember, when the fun stops, stop.

If you need help with any gambling issues or just want to find out more information on responsible gambling, visit

Featured Image Credit: Paddy Power

Joe Baiamonte

Northerner. Assistant Editor of SPORTbible. Studied Journalism and Broadcasting in a portakabin on a car park of Salford University for three years. Believes football peaked with Serie A in the '90s and strong-arms pro wrestling references into as many articles as possible. Neymar once took 50 euros off me during a game of poker.

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