Sport predictions: 2018’s big winners and the outside bets

Who will be victorious in 2018? We try and predict the sporting future...

Lionel Messi Argentina 2018 Fifa World Cup
Can Lionel Messi and Argentina lift the 2018 World Cup in Russia?  
(Image credit: Juan Riaz/AFP/Getty Images)

Which team will lift the Fifa World Cup in Russia? Can Roger Federer win a 20th tennis Grand Slam?

No one can predict the future, but we’ll at least have a try when it comes to the big sporting events in 2018. Here’s who could win in 2018 and the outside bets that look interesting.

2018 Fifa World Cup

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  • Winners - Argentina: they may have only just scraped through in qualifying, but you can never write off a team that has Lionel Messi in its ranks. Argentina have not won the World Cup since 1986 - could Messi cap a superb career with victory in Russia? Oddschecker price: 9/1
  • Outside bet - Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo and co won the Euros in 2016 and at 25/1 they could be worth a punt. They will have to progress from a group that also includes Spain though. Oddschecker price: 25/1

Premier League/Champions League

  • Double winners - Manchester City: can anyone stop Pep Guardiola’s superb City side? In the Premier League they should easily win the title, but it’s in the Champions League where they will have a great chance of success. Paddy Power double odds: 3/1
  • Champions League outside bet - Tottenham: they will need to get past Juventus in the last 16 but Spurs can certainly do that. Could they win the Champions League? Probably not, but at 28/1, it’s worth a couple of quid. Oddschecker price: 28/1

New Arsenal manager

  • After winning yet another FA Cup Arsenal’s long-serving manager Arsene Wenger will finally retire in the summer of 2018. But who will replace him? BetVictor has Diego Simeone as favourite at 4/1, but at 16/1 former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique is hard to ignore. For a real long-shot, then what about French boss Didier Deschamps at 40/1?

NFL Super Bowl LII

  • Winners - New England Patriots: other teams will come and go but the Pats and Tom Brady will remain the favourites to win the 2018 Super Bowl. With odds of 11/4 the punters seem to agree.
  • Outside bet - New Orleans Saints: the Saints opened the season with odds of 80/1 and now they are now at 12/1 with Oddschecker.
  • Novelty bet: while Justin Timberlake will be hoping to put 2004’s “Nipplegate” in the past when he performs the 2018 Super Bowl half-time show, it could be worth a sneaky bet on another wardrobe malfunction on 4 February. Odds are 3/1 with Paddy Power.

Tennis grand slams

  • Roger Federer: the FedExpress will be looking for a 20th Grand Slam victory and after his success in 2017 there’s no reason why he can’t get to the milestone. He’s 5/1 with Paddy Power to win at least two slams in 2018, 20/1 to win three and 200/1 for a clean sweep. Like 2017, we predict a Federer double in Australia and at Wimbledon.
  • Serena Williams: 2018 will see the return of the world’s best ever women’s tennis player after she took time out to have a baby. Serena is only one slam behind Margaret Court’s 24 overall total so expect the American not only to level in 2018 but to get to 25. For Serena to win all four slams it’s 80/1 with Paddy Power.

Golf’s big winners in 2018

  • The Masters - winner and outside bet: Rory McIlroy is one Masters win away from a career grand slam of majors and is 11/1 to win in 2018. Dustin Johnson is the bookies’ favourite at 8/1 but we predict Rickie Fowler (20/1) to be wearing the Green Jacket in April. Our outside pick on Oddschecker would be two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson at 66/1 - definitely worth an each-way bet.
  • Ryder Cup winners - Team Europe: they may have been beaten 17-11 at Hazeltine in 2016, but Team Europe will roar back with victory in France in September. However, an outside bet with Oddschecker would be a tie at 12/1.

Formula 1’s big winners

  • F1 world champion - Lewis Hamilton: it should be a straight fight between Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for the drivers’ championship. Unless Ferrari improve enough to challenge Mercedes throughout the full season, it’s probably not worth betting against Hamilton to retain his title in 2018.

Boxing’s big winners of 2018

  • Anthony Joshua to remain undefeated: the British boxing star could have a huge year ahead of him as he aims to unify the world heavyweight division. The IBF and WBA champion is lining up fights against Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder in 2018 but could also face Tyson Fury at some point. Can Joshua beat everyone is his path? We predict Joshua will remain undefeated in 2018 - but Fury could provide the biggest test in the long term.

WWE big winner in 2018

  • Royal Rumble 2018 - long shot: we don’t usually cover WWE in the sports section but for the Royal Rumble on 28 January there’s some bets we just had to share. According to Paddy Power, John Cena is favourite to be outright winner at 9/4, but it’s worth keeping an eye on actor Vin Diesel at 250/1, boxer Floyd Mayweather at 400/1 or even President Donald Trump at 750/1.

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