ActiveWins’ 2019 Sporting Predictions

04/01/2019

 

2018 will take some topping in terms of sporting highlights but, if history has taught us anything, it is that a piece of sport history is never too far away.

Our team have taken a look ahead at some of the biggest events to look forward in 2019, and have come up with some predictions in what is set to be another amazing year for sport.

Here we go.

Man City to Pip League Leaders Liverpool to the Title

Liverpool had a decent 2018, didn’t they? They reached a Champions League final, had a record-breaking goal scorer do the business week in week out and seem to be the only side in the Premier League capable of challenging Manchester City. Yet, they still haven’t won anything.

It’s a popular meme to poke fun at their lack of silverware in recent times, but they seem to have a genuine problem with sealing the titles. In that respect, they have the perfect manager in Jurgen Klopp, a man who has overseen countless finals and won none of them.

They’re playing their best football in years of late and have been rewarded in their league position.

However, following the 2-1 defeat at champions City to begin the year, Liverpool’s hopes of going the season unbeaten are over.

The reds may have a four-point advantage over their Mancunian rivals and, at the time of writing, are favourites for the title, but the momentum may well have shifted following Thursday’s fixture.

Pep’s side are only going to get stronger and they’ve looked incredible at times this season. Expect Liverpool to make a fight of it, but City’s strength in depth and plethora of match-winners may well prove to be the difference between the two.

Fury to Right a Wrong in Wilder Rematch

Okay, so this is a fight that is yet to be officially announced. However, more often than not in boxing, the fans are rewarded with the fights that they demand.

Following their contender for fight of the year in December of last year, it seems inevitable that Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will go to war once again in 2019.

Wouldn’t it be great to see that fight unfold in the UK? We can hope.

Despite many experts fearing of a brutal knockout in Los Angeles when the two first met, Fury proved his doubters wrong once again to dominate the vast majority of the fight.

Even after being sent to the canvas twice, it was near impossible to make a case for a Fury defeat. Boxing, however, is far from a clean-cut sport and the judges’ decision to score the bout a draw was met with mass outrage.

Despite the disappointment, Fury won the hearts of the sport with his performance. Out cold at the count of six following his 12th round knockdown, Fury defied the odds to not only climb to his feet, but to get the better of his opponent for the remainder of the fight.

His recovery was in keeping with the Fury journey over the last few years. After beating Wladimir Klitschko to become heavyweight champion of the world, he would spiral into a state of depression and suffer with substance abuse.

In reality, he has already won his battle by getting back into a ring. Never mind getting the better of one of the fiercest fighters of a generation with just two comeback bouts under his belt.

If the two do rematch, expect an even better Tyson Fury than the one that bobbed and weaved his way back to the pinnacle of the sport in LA.

Let us not forget that a win for Fury would likely set up a unification bout with none other than Anthony Joshua.

We can hardly wait.

Lalor to Win the Arkle

It’s been a National Hunt season that has so far thrown up more questions than answers. Countless winners from the Cheltenham Festival in March have already had their colours lowered, including some of the most impressive. Namely Samcro, Footpad and Buveur D’Air.

Champion Chase winner Altior is the only big name to really deliver the goods so far, which means it’s not been easy making a long-term selection for 2019.

However, there’s one horse that has a story to tell, and it is he who could be crowned winner of the Arkle in March. Lalor, was adored by his late trainer Richard Wollacott and, just weeks after his death, the 6yo showed his class at the very top level by winning the Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

Wife Kayley has taken over the training reins since Richard’s death and Lalor has been there every step of the way to raise the spirits of everybody associated. Chasing was always going to be Lalor’s game and, after a 219-day break over the summer, he returned to make his Chase debut with a breath-taking performance that saw him win the Grade 2 Arkle Trial at Cheltenham.

It was one of the best performances from a novice chaser at the track in recent memory. Travelling strongly and jumping perfectly, before storming up the hill to score with a seven-length lead. Conditions were similar to what they are likely to be in March as well and, if they do turn out the same, don’t be surprised if we see a repeat performance.

With that in mind, his current price of 7/1 with Betfred seems one to latch onto.

Could Abolitionist Race to Grand National Glory?

It wouldn’t be a true blog of 2019 sporting predictions without a little guess at what could win the Grand National. The famous race was watched by over 600 million people in 2018, which makes it one of our countries most adored sports events.

Of course, many of us will be tuning in to shout our sweepstake pick home or picking out our favourite name or colours on the morning of the race. However, for others, the Grand National has become less of a lottery in recent years and that gives you a great chance to have a little ante-post punt at bigger prices.

Abolitionist is one of the names that fits that bill. He was bought by connections of Pineau Du Re from Ireland in 2017 and sent straight to Dr Richard Newland with the aim of winning the Grand National at Aintree.

It has been a slow and steady process since then, but a return to action over hurdles at Aintree was enough to catch your eye. Add to the mix some impressive performances in marathon events in Ireland, such as a 3rd place finish in the 2017 Irish National (beating Tiger Roll), plus a win against the classy Folsom Blue over 3m at Naas, and you get the feeling that he’d be a much shorter price if he was trained by Gordon Elliot or Willie Mullins.

He was lined up as the ante-post favourite for the Becher Chase in December, before connections decided to skip that, with Dr Richard Newland confirming that his National candidate would now be put away until the Spring.

He’ll be a big player if he makes it and the 33/1 will only shorten if he gets a successful run out before the National.

McGregor and Khabib's Return

The world was watching during their bout at UFC 229 and the world will be watching again when the two men step into the Octagon in 2019, no matter who they face.

A rematch does seem very unlikely between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, with fans and pundits now speculating as to who each fighter should clash with next. From McGregor’s perspective, it is certainly a case of who generates the largest PPV gate. Many had been quick to question how much motivation the Irishman possesses to participate in the UFC again, after his $100m earnings against Floyd Mayweather. The fight with Khabib didn’t exactly put these statements to bed, as ‘Mystic Mac’ did not look his usual, striking self.

Will McGregor and Khabib return this year?

Only the biggest names will do for Mcgregor, with just a couple being thrown into the mix. Nate Diaz has been the most prominent, as their trilogy holds the potential to smash PPV viewings again. The first two bouts between the two men were fights that have been labelled as ‘two of the greatest ever’, and a third matchup would generate astronomical levels of interest. Diaz hasn’t fought since their last rematch in 2016, can the conflicting duo settle on a fair deal at last?  

Other than the Diaz trilogy, McGregor may be tempted to contest a different historic opponent in Max Holloway. The two first met back in 2013, with the Notorious dominating the inexperienced Hawaiian, defeating him convincingly on points. Since then, however, Holloway has embarked upon one of the greatest UFC journeys of all time, winning his next thirteen fights and claiming the Featherweight Championship in the process.

The Blessed era continues, and it looks here to stay. A rematch between the two would be an easy PPV sell, but would McGregor fancy it? Holloway is one of the greatest featherweight champions the sport has ever seen.

For Khabib, his fate isn’t necessarily in his own hands. Still waiting to hear what consequences he faces from the Nevada Athletic Commission, after attacking Dillon Danis at UFC 229, there is no certainty that the Russian will even fight in 2019. If he does though, it surely must be against Tony Ferguson.

It is a fight that fans have been demanding for a while and the American deserves a shot at the Lightweight Championship. There would be legacies on the line, as Khabib has never lost in the sport, whilst Ferguson remains undefeated since his 2012 bout with Michael Johnson. The two fighters have been scheduled to fight four times in the past, with every bout being cancelled due to injuries. Will it be five times a charm? If they do ever make it into the Octagon together, expect fireworks to spark.

Hamilton to Make History With a Sixth F1 Title

2018 was a history-making year for Lewis Hamilton. The Englishman moved on par with Juan Fangio in having the second most Formula One Championships in history, now boasting five to his name. However, with Michael Schumacher’s top spot in his sights, there is no time to dwell on past success and we are backing Hamilton to get number six in 2019.

The other drivers in the rankings could do nothing but sit and watch the 33-year-old race to the top of the rankings last time out, after blitzing the second half of the Formula One season. Heading into July’s German Grand Prix, Hamilton found himself starting in fourteenth position in the grid and behind Sebastian Vettel in the table. It looked as though he was in for a frustrating game of catch-up. Hamilton, though, showed exactly why he is the best in the business. He won the race ahead of Valtteri Bottas and stormed ahead of Vettel in the rankings. The victory provided the Englishman with positive momentum going into the second half of the season, where he would win seven of the next ten races. 

Having already cemented his position in the history books, the ink is still wet, and Hamilton’s name could still one day be regarded as the greatest F1 Champion of all time. Heading into 2019, the Englishman will certainly be the outright favourite to win the Championship again, as he is the best driver with the best constructor team.

We are tipping Vettel and Max Verstappen to be hot on his heels throughout the year, but anything other than a Hamilton victory will be deemed as an upset. He won the 2018 season by 88 points and, after achieving a career equal best of 11 race wins, the Brit is showing no signs of slowing down.

Seven is still the magic number to beat and 2019 will hopefully be another pitstop in reaching this iconic milestone.

Love Island Star to Prevail in Dancing on Ice

The two front runners for Dancing on Ice 2019 are Wes Nelson, of Love Island fame, and former Strictly Come Dancing professional James Jordan.

It should be a walk in the park for Jordan, and we’re not buying his attempts to convince us otherwise on Twitter.

Even allowing for him having to learn how to skate properly, the couples are judged on their dancing ability, skating ability and choreography, so he’s already two/thirds of the way there.

However, his extensive previous dancing experience is likely to work against him when it comes to the public vote, which is why the bookies are backing Wes.

Cheeky Chap Wes showed us his moves in 2018’s Love Island, from an unforgettable floss to his impressive energy day after day.

He certainly isn’t shy to have his body on show, and with abs like that, we trust that he’ll have the strength to master some of the best moves.

Wes was a hoot in the villa. His enthusiasm and banter earned his place in the viewers’ hearts. Let’s see if he can live up to expectations on the ice. We hope so!

 

How many of our predictions will have been correct by the time 2020 arrives? We’ll look back on them nearer the time.

One thing is for certain. With mega sporting events to look forward to throughout the whole year, the ActiveWins affiliate programme is the place to be.

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