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As we head into the New Year there is a full sporting calendar to look forward to in 2017 in what is set be another huge year in sport.

Highlights in 2017 include the Ashes in Australia, the Champions Trophy in cricket and the British & Irish Lions take on world champions New Zealand in a Test series in rugby union.

Here are the best value bets for 2017.

Rory McIlroy to win the Masters – 9/1

Rory McIlroy needs only the US Masters to complete his set of Major tournaments. The Northern Irishman has had three top 10 finishes at Augusta in the last three years so he clearly has the game to win the Green Jacket.

"Rory McIlroy" (CC BY 2.0) by TourProGolfClubs

At the 9/1 in the betting with William Hill, who will give you a free bet up to £20 if you open a new account with them, McIlroy looks to be a huge price in their outright market which is headed by the 2015 champion Jordan Spieth.

McIlroy will be keen to start the season well as he failed to win a Major tournament in 2015. If he returns to anywhere near his best again, he is the man to beat in 2017.

Thistlecrack to win Cheltenham Gold Cup – 5/4

After winning the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day at Kempton, Thistlecrack has become the new star of national hunt horse racing. Colin Tizzard’s runner blew away the field which included defending champion Cue Card and three-time winner Silviniaco Conti.

"Cheltenham racecourse" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Carine06

The novice chaser has silenced his doubters who felt he was not ready to take the step up against the more experienced chasers in the division. It is hard to see anything getting close to the eight-year-old at Cheltenham for the Blue Riband event of the Festival.

Anthony Joshua to Stop Wladimir Klitschko – 8/11

Wembley is set to sell out once again in April for the second boxing event to ever take place at the new stadium when Anthony defends his IBF world heavyweight title against Wladimir Klitschko.

"Wembley Stadium" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by (Mick Baker)rooster

Joshua is in for the toughest test of his career so far against the Ukranian who has won 64 of his 68 professional fights and will go down as one of the greatest fighters of the division when he decides to hang up his gloves.

If Klitschko was in his peak, he would be the long odds-on favourite, however at the age of 40, his best days are past him. When the fight takes place in April, Klitschko will have been inactive for 18 months. He hardly threw a punch in his defeat to Tyson Fury where he lost his heavyweight world titles.

Joshua is as short as 2/5 in the match betting for the bout but the best way to back the former Olympic gold-medal winner is to take him to stop the Ukrainian inside the 12 rounds which is 8/11. He should be too sharp for his opponent who is likely to retire after the contest at Wembley.

England to Win Grand Slam in Six Nations – 9/4

2016 could not have gone any better for England in rugby union. Under head coach Eddie Jones, they fail to taste defeat in the last 12 months in what was a superb campaign that included the Grand Slam in the 2016 Six Nations and a 3-0 whitewash of Australia.

England are now up to second in the world rankings and have only world champions New Zealand ahead of them in the standings. They can close the gap on the Kiwis with another Grand Slam in the Six Nations in 2017.

The Six Nations fixture list has been kind to Jones’s men as they are at home in three of their five games. Their toughest test could come in the final round when they travel to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin to face Ireland. If they go into that game needing a win to seal the Grand Slam, it should motivate them to get the victory.

"DSC_0054" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by cmakin

England are 4/5 to win the Six Nations for the second year running but the best is to back them in the Grand Slam market at 9/4 where they are the only side who can realistically win the prize.

Good luck with all your bets in 2017 and let’s hope it is a profitable New Year.