If someone is glued to a screen in December and there isn’t a score displayed, you might be wondering what in the name of Santa’s sleigh can keep an audience so rapt.
It’s probably one of Hallmark’s Christmas movies, or it is a similar holiday trope on one of the streaming services eager to attract the hearts and eyeballs of viewers.
The formula doesn’t require the magic it takes to gift-wrap a bicycle or pick a winning parlay.
They all have some of the same elements. Snow. Christmas sweaters. A roaring fire. A “Wasn’t she in another one of these before?” leading lady. An interchangeable cast of love interests with side-swept hairstyles and jawlines that could carve ice.
Hallmark has released its first Christmas movie with an LGBTQ storyline along with 40 new films this holiday season. It is promising its “most diverse” lineup yet.
However, none of the plots have anything to do with sports betting or the passionate Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers fans.
Sports betting is legal in 18 states. Pennsylvania has 10 sportsbooks and broke a record (again) for handle in October.
The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is loaded with action for sports bettors. And, according to Hallmark, it’s the best (possibly only?) time of year to fall in love. Here are some possible plots producers should consider.
The Bettor and the Baker
A New York executive gets tired of big-city life and decides to move to the Poconos since he can work from anywhere and mobile sports betting is legal in Pennsylvania.
He falls for a sweet, small-town baker who doesn’t have a cellphone and is annoyed by his always-connected lifestyle. Will their chemistry make up for their differences, or is this couple in for a bad beat?
The Feast of the Seven-Way Parlay
After a rough breakup and in the midst of a brutal losing streak, Michael, a once-sharp bettor, returns to South Philly for Christmas to spend the holidays with his family.
His uncle, who is keeping a terminal diagnosis secret, decides to help Michael get back to his winning ways in handicapping and love.
Be Steel My Heart
Carol met Mark the day after Ben Roethlisberger broke his elbow last season. After nine happy months of dating, Mark says Big Ben is finished and the Steelers should move on. Carol disagrees, and he abruptly dumps her.
Carol and her friends agree Mark is a jagoff, and she decides to get serious about looking for love again when the Steelers season starts.
But could Carol’s love life be tied to the Steelers’ fortunes? When she goes on a bad date, the Steelers win. Is her unlucky love life the reason for the Steelers’ stellar season?
Cover Me: The Lucky Christmas Quilt
A recently divorced dad struggles to juggle work and his two children. When he cleans out his attic, he finds his grandmother’s quilt, and it proves to have some special powers.
Covered in patches of Santa and Philadelphia sports teams’ logos, when he watches the game wrapped in the quilt, the Philadelphia teams always cover the spread.
Sportsbook Stocking Stuffer: A Ticket to Love
Jake and Heather go to Valley Forge Casino for NYE 2019. When they get there, they place a 10-team futures parlay based on their favorite teams, players, and some inside jokes they have. Then they toast to “what is going to be the best year yet.” After four months of lockdown together, the couple decides they need some time apart and maybe that their relationship isn’t able to get through this hell storm of a year.
But when December rolls around, two things return to Heather’s life: Jake, who has really missed her … and a forgotten parlay ticket she finds in her purse that is two wins away from a big payday.
Let My Luck Open the Door to Your Heart
David is convinced that he is the real star of the Philadelphia Eagles. The team’s fate hangs in the balance of his superstitions. But no matter what David does, his rituals aren’t working, and the Eagles are having a horrible season. Mired in a work-from-home fog, he has a moment of clarity after waiting on hold for an hour to get on to WIP.
His prized Super Bowl LII souvenir, a discarded Jason Kelce beer can, is still at his shuttered-since-March office at One Liberty Place in Center City. Can he get past Angela, the security guard, who is a NYC transplant and Giants fan who likes to trash talk? When David decides to be genuine instead of sneaky, will this seemingly incompatible pair see sparks fly?
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke