As we say goodbye to 2019 and hello to the New Year, we have selected 20 bets that you should look out for in 2020 in a wide number of sports including football, golf, tennis, rugby and cricket.
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McGregor to beat Cerrone @ 5/13
Conor McGregor is set to return to the octagon after a lengthy spell out of it and the usual circus build-up will surely kick in shortly ahead of his battle with Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at 170 pounds rather than 155 pounds at UFC 246. McGregor has made headlines for the wrong reasons out of the octagon and he has been working hard to make sure people will be talking about him for all the right reasons.
The 31-year-old looks in great shape ahead of his return in a fight that he hopes will open many doors for him later in the year where there could be a possible rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov who was the last person to fight McGregor in October 2018. There is an argument that UFC needs a high-profile fighter like McGregor and that McGregor needs the UFC and organisers will be secretly hoping the Irishman, known as ‘Notorious’ will come through this fight.
Baltimore Ravens to win Super Bowl LIV @ 9/4
The Ravens have been the best team throughout the regular season, but that will count for nothing if they fail to get their hands on the Vince Lombardi trophy. Their defense is playing hard and in Lamar Jackson they have the best QB in the league and Jackson is deservedly being talked about as the front-runner for the MVP award.
With the number one seed already secured, the Ravens rested a number of key players for their final regular season game which they won by beating Pittsburgh 28-10 in Baltimore. And the Ravens are very well coached by John Harbaugh who has already guided the Ravens to a Super Bowl title when they beat the 49ers, coached by Harbaugh’s brother Jim, in February 2013. Ironically, the 49ers look like being the team Baltimore will face in Super Bowl LIV in Miami on February 2 after San Francisco locked up the NFC’s number one seed following their win in Seattle.
Novak Djokovic to win the Australian Open @ 8/5
The world’s top tennis players don’t have long to wait for the first Grand Slam tournaments of the decade with the Australian Open getting under way on January 20. In the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic, who also won Wimbledon last season, arrives in Melbourne looking to win back-to-back titles in a tournament he has won seven times before. But he won’t be starting the event as world number one.
That honour goes to Rafael Nadal, who won the other two Grand Slam events in 2019 (French Open and US Open). Djokovic’s game suits the hard court of Melbourne and it is understandable why he is top of the market to start 2020 with a bang. Last year, the Serbian dropped only two sets on his way to lifting the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup on February 2. Nadal, who is the current world number one, will be hoping to go one better than 12 months ago.
Fury to beat Wilder in rematch @ 20/29
One of the best fights of 2018 was Tyson Fury’s war with Deontay Wilder which ended in a draw after the Gypsy King looked a beaten man on the canvas in the 12th and final round as referee Jack Reiss stood over him and began counting. Fury somehow managed to drag himself up and confront Wilder who at this stage was spent thinking he had done enough to win.
Fury ended the fight on top and many inside the Staples Center, Los Angeles thought the Englishman had done enough to win but the draw meant Wilder retained his WBC title. The rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will do well to live up to the first fight, but these two boxers will do all they can to write another memorable night in boxing’s history. If Fury is to win, he will have to find a way of coping with Wilder’s powerful right hand that has knocked out many of the world’s best boxers in the past.
England to win the 6 Nations @ 4/5
As soon as Eddie Jones’ four-year plan to win the World Cup failed in their final defeat to South Africa, the coach’s attention would have immediately turned to winning the Six Nations. Wales and Ireland will have their say on the matter, but with the Irish and Welsh, last year’s Grand Slam champions, starting new chapters under new coaches, it might take time for Andy Farrell and Wayne Pivac to get their philosophy across to their respective squads.
England’s cohesion gives them the advantage over the other five nations and their squad is stronger which should see them finish top of the pile in March. In Owen Farrell, Jones has a leader and a world-class player to lead England to their third championship in five years and possibly a first Grand Slam since 2016. If the championship does turn out to be a three-way fight between England, Ireland and Wales, the English have been handed a major boost by hosting the Irish and Welsh at Twickenham – their only two home games in the Six Nations Championship.
Brooks Koepka to win the Masters @ 17/2
The man dubbed the ‘Major Machine’ will have his eyes set on adding to the four Majors he has to his name already, but he has yet to win the Open Championship and the Masters. Koepka will arrive in Augusta in April as one of the favourites because of his three top-10 finishes in Georgia and that includes his second-place finish last year when Tiger Woods rolled back the years to be fitted for his fifth ‘Green Jacket’. Koepka has the all-round game to finish top of the leaderboard this time round.
Sooner or later Koepka, the current world number one, will win in Augusta and 2020 could will be his year. Consistency is a key part of Koepka’s game. After finishing second to Woods at the Masters, Koepka won the PGA Championship, finished second in the US Open and fourth in the Open Championship. Koepka spent the end of 2019 recovering from a knee injury, but he should be fit to continue his quest to rule golf in 2020.
Judd Trump to win the World Snooker Championship @ 11/4
Judd Trump has long been tipped to be a world champion ever since he joined the professional snooker scene in the 2005/06 season. It may have taken him longer than he and many of his supporters thought it would, but the Juddernaut finally got to call himself the champion of the world after beating John Higgins in a repeat of the 2011 final which Higgins won. They remain the only two finals Trump has reached at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield but now that he has got the first one under his belt, the 30-year-old will be out to successfully defend his title in May.
In 2019, Already this season, Trump won the International Championship, World Open and Northern Ireland Open and the world number one will hope to add to those titles in the next five months. Mark Selby in 2017 was the last player to successfully defend his world title, but Trump has the all-round game to come out on top once again.
Liverpool to win the league by 8 points or more
If would be a foolish person to bet against Liverpool winning their first ever Premier League title and be crowned champions of England for the 19th time. The only question that remains is by how many points will the Reds finish clear of the runners-up? Liverpool ended 2019 13 points clear of Leicester in second place with a game in hand, and the Reds will have Manchester City’s record in their sights when the Citizens finished 19 points ahead of Manchester United in May 2018.
The way Liverpool’s rivals are dropping points, a record points margin could be within their reach as long as they don’t get distracted by their defence of the Champions League although, having been crowned champions of Europe for a sixth time last season, the priority this season must surely be to win back their domestic crown. They might never be in this wonderful position again.
Man City to win the Champions League @ 15/4
Speaking of the Champions League, we might see Pep Guardiola’s focus switch towards making Manchester City the champions of Europe for the first time in their history. After winning domestic titles with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City, the only thing missing from Guardiola’s list of achievements with City is a Champions League success. However, City have been handed a tough draw in the round of 16 with a trip to Real Madrid in the first leg before the home tie back at the Etihad three days after the second Manchester derby.
Publicly, Guardiola will insist they will not prioritise competitions, but it would make perfect sense if the Spaniard were to concentrate on the Champions League. Some pundits believe this could be Guardiola’s last season in charge at the Etihad and landing the top competition in Europe. If Guardiola is to stay on as City boss, he will redouble his efforts to wrestle back the Premier League title from Jurgen Klopp.
Milwaukee Bucks to win NBA title @ 16/5
Before the NBA season got under way, Milwaukee Bucks were seen as the favourites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA finals. The high expectations came following the way they competed against the eventual champions Toronto in the Eastern Conference final. While Toronto has struggled following Kawhi Leonard’s trade from the Raptors to the LA Clippers, the Bucks have taken over the mantle as the best team in the East.
In Giannis Antetokounmpo, they have the league’s MVP and the ‘Greek Freak’ who in 2016/17 became the first player in NBA history to finish in the top five statistical categories of total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. As the NBA heads into its new decade, the Bucks have the best record in the league and became the first team to win 30 games this season doing so in their 35th game by beating the Chicago Bulls 123-102. If they can keep their squad healthy and Giannis continues to perform at the highest level, then they should land their second NBA title, 49 years after their one and only success.
Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup @ 8/1
Boston has had its fair share of world titles thanks to the New England Patriots success in the NFL and the Celtics in the NBA and hopes are high that the Bruins can bring the Stanley Cup back to the city for the first time since 2011. With 2020 approaching, the Bruins enjoyed a 10-point lead over Toronto Maple Leafs to lead the way in the Eastern Conference.
St Louis Blues are top of the Western Conference with an eight-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche as 2019 drew to a close. Jaroslav Halak is regarded as one of the best netminders in the league and in David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, the Bruins have two of the NHL’s top four points scorers this season and their goals and assists could prove the difference in this being a championship winning season and another missed opportunity.
England to win Euro 2020 @ 4/1
Football almost came home in the summer of 2018 when England were knocked out of the World Cup at the semi-final stage by Croatia, despite taking an early lead. Gareth Southgate has worked wonders since taking over from Roy Hodgson and the standard set in Russia have been set high going into 2020. The only major tournament England has won was the 1966 World Cup final when the final was staged at Wembley.
Well, the omens could hardly be better in 2020 with the final of the European Championships also taking place at the home of football, as the tournament is hosted by nine different countries. In fact England will play their three group games at Wembley so with home advantage, there is little to stop England fans from getting carried away. Led by talisman Harry Kane and filled with tons of bright young talent, 2020 could well be the year football does come home after a few false dawns.
Chris Froome to win the Tour de France @ 7/2
If anybody deserves a bit of luck, it’s got to be Chris Froome. After spending months training and preparing for last year’s Tour de France, Froome had his world turned upside down, literally, when he crashed during a recon ride of the time trial route at the Criterium du Dauphine just weeks before the start of the 106th Tour.
The accident left him with a fractured neck, fractured right femur, broken hip and fractured ribs. It also left the four-time Tour de France winner with plenty of time to reflect on his future and at 34, his window of opportunity to cycle up the Champs-Elysees with a glass of Champagne in his hand as the champion-elect is slowly closing. Froome has called this year’s route as brutal with 29 mountains to negotiate but having recovered from his horror crash that could have ended his career, he has the willpower to add a fifth yellow jersey to his list of impressive wins.
Rory McIlroy to win the Open @ 11/1
It’s been five and a half years since Rory McIlroy last won a golf Major but incredibly, he starts 2020 as the number two golfer in the world. That is testament to how consistent he has been despite not ending tournaments top of the leaderboard. Many expected McIlroy to have more Majors than the four he has won, but the 30-year-old performed well enough last season to suggest he can be a force in the Majors in 2020. He knows what it takes to win a Claret Jug having done so at Royal Liverpool in 2014 when he also won the US PGA Championship.
His last appearance at the Open Championship ended in tears as he missed the cut at Royal Portrush – a course he grew up playing on and where he set the course record as a teenager. McIlroy will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his good friend and fellow Ulsterman Darren Clarke who won the Open the last time Royal St George’s hosted the prestigious tournament.
NY Yankees to win the World Series @ 4/1
It’s been a tough few years for New Yankees fans who have watched their bitter rivals Boston Red Sox win two World Series titles since the Pinstripes last lofted the Commissioner’s Trophy in 2009. They have not made it back to the World Series since and every year they start as favourites because of the roster they have spent a fortune on in the off-season, but they have been shown that throwing money at a problem does not always solve it.
The heat is on manager Aaron Boone to make the Yankees world champions for a 41st time in their history. The acquisition of pitcher Gerrit Cole has raised hopes that 2020 could be the year they end their drought. Cole signed a nine-year contract worth $324m (£246m) and anything less than a World Series win will be seen as a failure. They will of course face tough competition in the American League from the Red Sox who missed out on the play-offs a year after winning the World Series.
Australia to win T20 World Cup @ 3/1
T20 cricket can be a lottery with any side on their day capable of winning any game in the shortest format of the game. With a total of 20 overs per innings, the team with the best pinch-hitters will be seen as the favourites. India and England will be among the favourites to win the tournament, and Pakistan are the number one ranked team in T20 as we enter 2020.
If Australia’s performance against Pakistan in November is an indicator of how things will pan out, then Australia may well take some beating. With the ball, Australia restricted Pakistan to 106 for eight with Kane Williamson taking three for 18 in Perth while opening batsmen Aaron Finch and David Warner knocked off the runs with 49 balls to spare. There is plenty of experience in the Australian squad to see the Aussies win their first ever T20 title.
Dublin to win the All-Ireland Football Championship @ 2/3
Dublin have been unstoppable when it comes to the All-Ireland Football Championship with their fifth successive title coming in September when they beat Kerry 1-18 to 0-15 at Croke Park. Since then, the Dubs have said goodbye to Jim Gavin who led them to six Sam Maguires in his time in charge, and Dessie Farrell has big shoes to fill after being named as Gavin’s replacement. However, Farrell has the majority of last season’s squad to choose from and he will use the National League in the first half of the season to bed his ideas into the players.
Farrell has been promoted from within and is seen as the man to continue the good times. Many of the players Farrell will be dealing with are players he coached when he was in charge of Dublin’s successful minors team in 2012 and the under 21s of 2014 and 2017. Don’t be surprised if Dublin add a 30th All-Ireland title in September.
Europe to win the Ryder Cup @ 27/20
Padraig Harrington has been tasked with leading Europe to Ryder Cup glory when the biennial competition with the Americans which turns the individual sport of golf into a team event that is one of the highlights on the sporting calendar.
Europe are the holders after beating the USA by seven points at Le Golf National in Paris. Europe leads the series 5-4 this century with two of this victories coming on American soil in Oakland Hills, Michigan in 2004 and in Medinah, Chicago in 2012 following the greatest comeback in the competition’s history when the American needed just 4.5 points from the 12 singles matches on the final day, but Jose Maria Olazabal’s men turned the scoreboard blue to retain the trophy. At the start of 2020, America had six players in the top 10 while Europe had four. But Europe have proved over the years that they play better as a team and playing in the States won’t faze them one little bit.
Lewis Hamilton to win F1 title @ 4/7
Can anyone stop Lewis Hamilton from winning another Formula One title? The answer in the last decade has been no, but as preparations for the new season draw to a close, the challengers for Hamilton’s crown is as good as it has been. Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s team-mate at McLaren, finished runner up to the Englishman but his total of 326 points was 87 points short of the six-time world champion.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will be hoping to dethrone Hamilton who is on course to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One world titles. Hamilton is the master of the track and last year won 11 of 21 races. If Mercedes-AMG can give him a reliable car with a reliable engine, then the 34-year-old from Stevenage could be the toast of motor sport once again.
St Helens to win Grand Final @ 5/2
St Helens start the 2020 Super League season as the defending champions after winning their first Grand Final since 2014 when they beat last season’s surprise package Salford 23-6 at Old Trafford at the start of October. But Justin Holbrook, the man who coached the Saints to glory, has returned to his native Australia to become head coach at the Gold Coast Titans in the NRL. Holbrook has been replaced by Kristian Woolf who coached Tonga to the World Cup semi-finals in 2017.
The squad he has inherited is regarded as one of the best in Super League and he shouldn’t have to do too much to maintain the feel-good factor surrounding the club right now. And he also has the chance to guide Saints to the World Club Challenge glory when they face the NRL champions Sydney Roosters at Langtree Park on February 22.