Praise be: on the back of his hugely successful World Cup of Crisps and World Cup of Chocolate tournaments, Richard Osman is to host the inaugural World Cup of Christmas Movies this evening, via the usual medium of his Twitter account.
The competition, hosted in conjunction with Betfair, kicks off at 7pm and will feature 24 festive films battling it to be crowned with the most berry-ful, holly-filled and Christmassy of all.
With odds on Betfair now live, we go all Santa-Ray Winstone at half time and run you through the tinsel-laden favourites, the eggnog each way bets and the burnt turkey no-hopers that could earn you a handy little wedge for your Marks and Spencer’s train-ride-home buffet. Check out the odds here, they're fluctuating as much as the ideas for your yet to be bought brother's present.
*Odds all correct at time of writing.
The Shortlist Tip - The Snowman @ 33/1
The Snowman is a true piece of Christmas magic and, at 33/1, definitely value for an each-way wintry flutter. With an ethereal introduction from a cherubic-looking David Bowie, a soundtrack to invoke memories of your Nan’s real fire and a storyline that elicits snowflake tears from your eyes, this is the artisan’s choice. Get ya bets on quick, those odds are sure to melt.
Current Favourite - Elf @ 9/4
Elf started the day as third-favourite, but a glut of early bets has seen it assert itself as the film to beat. Elf’s fan base is wrought with versatility, ranging from Twitter-bashing Millenials who first watched it as 12 year olds to actual 12 year olds who watched Anchorman for the first time this summer. Elf could have the half-term breakfast vote, the in-work lunch vote and the post-work pints vote giving it the stamina to see it through the very end.
The Nostalgic Outsider - It’s a Wonderful Life @20/1
Christmastime is a nostalgic time and you could do a lot worse than putting a couple of quid on the 1946 classic It’s a Wonderful Life. A black and white, Hollywood-licked flick with heartthrob James Stewart starring, this could garner votes from grandparents who’ve recently been bought smartphones to be able to contribute to family Whatsapp groups and hipster film buffs who enjoy its surrealism. A decent outside bet.
The Big Bad Dad Bet - Die Hard @ 11/4
Yes it is a Christmas film and that is why it is on this list and no we won’t argue about it we shall just bet on it. It has guns and baddies and explosions and white vests and tinsel - the perfect ingredients for your Dad’s post-dinner nap. Dads love a bet, even if they “don’t bet anymore”, and the fluctuating odds on Die Hard could be enough to see them come out of retirement and lay down some cash. Watch multiple dodgy-Dad twitter accounts appear this evening as Die Hard enjoys a last-minute voting splurge.
The Boring Second-Favourite - Home Alone @ 11/4
Home Alone is definitely worth placing a wad a of cash on, but oh what a boring wad of cash it would be! McCauley Caulkin’s face has adorned the hero image of enough blog posts this year to visualise his face as a wreath to be put straight into the recycling bin. Yes, it’s a sure-fire hit for the whole family, and yes, it could well mount a challenge - but a win for Home Alone would be like a win for Portugal in the Euros.
One to Avoid Actually - Love Actually @ 5/1
Love Actually has all the right attributes to win the World Cup of Christmas Movies. It has posh, white, British actors swarming all over it, it has naughty, partially-naked sex scenes and it features a heavily decorated Georgian London terraced-house - glorious. “Everywhere you look, love is causing chaos” is its tagline. “Chaos” is something you don’t want when betting your Christmas Eve Baileys money on the World Cup of Christmas Movies. Avoid.
Cross-Generational Classic - The Muppet Christmas Carol @ 20/1
You’ve got your puppets, you’ve got your adaptation of a literary classic, you’ve got your legendary Michael Caine as Scrooge, you’ve got your Kermits and your Miss Piggys, you’ve got your Christmas Eve, you’ve got your lot. Creepy, cute and definitely funny - The Muppet Christmas Carol is as cross-generational as pigs in blankets. A decent bet.
The Relatable One - Miracle on 34th Street @25/1
Santa turns up pissed and gets replaced with a bloke who claims to be the real deal in this 1994 remake of a 1947 classic. With voters returning from post-work drinkies, this could get the ‘relatable’ vote in the early stages. Likely to falter later on as voters pass out on the wrapping papered sofa.
The Second Season Syndrome - Home Alone 2 @ 25/1
MAC is BACK as Kevin gets separated from his fam in Florida and heads back to New York, only to bump straight back into his arch nemeses at the toy store. Goddamit, Kevin, we thought you were safe! Probably not worth a punt, even with a chocolate coin. Stay safe.
Bad Bet - Bad Santa @ 50/1
Billy Bob Thornton plays a nasty Santa who steals money from his Department Store safe every Christmas Eve. Don’t let him steal your money. Going nowhere.
The 80s still aren’t back - Gremlins @ 33/1
Things were weird in the Eighties, weird enough for a Christmas film to be made about a pet from a Chinese man called ‘Mr Wing’ that spawns monsters and causes a lot of distress. Unnerving, scary and definitely a bit racist. Keep ya coins in ya pocket.
Oscar Winning Outsider - How the Grinch Stole Christmas @33/1
An adaptation of a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss, a starring role for a Christmas-resenting Jim Carrey and an Oscar win for Best Make Up - The Grinch should definitely get past the group stages. It’s the second-highest grossing Christmas film of all time, and is definitely worth a couple of quid each way. There is value in hating Christmas.
Stuck in the Past - White Christmas @33/1
A song and dance of a military Christmas classic set in a snowy Vermont Inn. Bing Crosby is good but the film isn’t. Will fall at the first pudding.
Takes No Passengers - Polar Express @50/1
A very pleasant-to-the-eye-and-ear musical animation about a kid who goes to the North Pole. It’s usually on at around 5pm on Channel 5, a premium nap time that doesn’t quite give it the exposure to challenge in the World Cup of Christmas Movies.
Won’t Give You Any Returns - Batman Returns @50/1
This 1992 edition of the plights of Gotham City has fiendish foes in the form of the Penguin and Catwoman, but doesn’t really sing Christmas. The last sprout in the pan.
Don’t Get Caught By - The Santa Clause @50/1
A bad family comedy with the tagline “Scott Calvin must become Santa. No ifs, no ands...just one big butt”. You can’t polish a Next gift voucher, so don’t try and polish this.
Santa Ruiner - Arthur Christmas @50/1
Tries to tell you that Santa has an army of one million Field Elves and a high-tech sleigh. We all know about Rudolph. No carrots or mince pies for this one.
Don’t Let This Be Your - The Nightmare Before Christmas @ 50/1
Tim Burton does Tim Burton in an animation that sees Jack Skellington so disillusioned with Halloweenland that he goes through a portal to Christmastown. Cool story, won’t win.
Listen to Ebenezer - Scrooged @50/1
Another Dickens re-write with a slapstick edge starring Bill Murray. Don’t give out any freebies, hold onto your cash for the sales.
Meet Me in the Betting Shop Betting on Something Else - Meet Me in St. Louis @66/1
Another oldie that your Grandpa likes because it has Judy Garland playing one of four sisters.
Don’t Bust Your Bank Account With - Ghostbusters 2 @66/1
Now is not the time for busting ghosts, now is the time for flying Snowmen.
Instead of Betting Go On - The Holiday @100/1
Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black.
Eddie Murphy! - Trading Places @100/1
Eddie Murphy is a funny man but this is not such a funny film and therefore it wouldn’t be a fun thing to bet on.
Very Leftfield - About A Boy @100/1
A lovely film about a lovely boy with lovely Hugh Grant in and a great performance from Toni Collette, but not really about Christmas, is it?
Let festive battle commence...