For every sporting certainty, like GSW marching towards the NBA Finals, there is also a fair share of sporting shocks, such as the Washington Capitals defying the odds by landing their first-ever Stanley Cup win back in June. That unpredictability is, of course, part of what makes sports great, but there are also times that we can sense when things might go against the conventional wisdom. In light of that, here are five bold predictions for 2019:
None of the favorites win Super Bowl LIII
Fans can sometimes put a bit too much stock in what is supposed to happen in sports, so they sometimes overlook the fact that sports go off script a lot. Consider that only two of the preseason betting favorites have won the Vince Lombardi trophy in the last 17 years. A lot of pundits are pointing to a Rams (+450) vs Patriots (+650) date in Atlanta on February 3rd 2019. But there are so many other probable combinations, most of which don’t involve Tom Brady or Jared Goff. It’s worth remembering that people were only starting to talk about the Eagles as contenders at this point last season; a lot could happen in the meantime.
Ireland shock the world at Rugby World Cup
Ireland are officially the second-best rugby team on the planet. But when you compare them to the best team, the New Zealand All-Blacks, it’s a bit like comparing your kid’s softball team with the Boston Red Sox. However, buoyed by their first home victory over the All-Blacks in their 113-year history, Ireland will feel they have a big chance of winning the Rugby World Cup (Japan, Sept-Nov, 2019). Sportsbook agree, with Bet365 putting Ireland in as +500 second-favorites behind the +120 All-Blacks. You can use the bookies offers, like free bets, to back both sides, because they could be on course to meet in an explosive Final in Tokyo on November 2nd.
Brock Lesnar defeats Daniel Cormier in UFC
No official date has been set for this one, but it looks almost certain to happen. Nearly every pundit has the, admittedly brilliant, Cormier down for the win, with William Hill sportsbook putting him at -275. However, Lesnar (+300) is constantly underestimated. To put it simply, the man is a freak. He is not even a part-time fighter, with MMA more like a hobby to the WWE man. Cormier is the rightful favorite, but Lesnar is one of a kind. This could be special.
The Red Sox repeat World Series heroics
The Red Sox are the +600 favorites to win the 2019 World Series, so this is a bold prediction simply for the fact it has been nearly two decades (Yankees in 2000) since a team has won successive championships. However, the Red Sox are a relatively young side, with players like Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts still having room for growth. That should be a scary prospect for other MLB teams.
Tiger wins no Majors
Almost every sportsbook has Tiger Woods as favorite or close to favorite for the four Majors in golf next year. While we all love to see a sporting comeback and it would be cool to see Tiger Woods at his best again, but the sport has moved on. There is a glut of wonderful players – Spieth, Johnson, Koepka, McIlroy, Fleetwood – younger and, arguably, hungrier than Woods right now. He is still the best player in history, mind you. But his time at the very top has come to an end.