The summer break is coming to a close for some sports leagues, whereas others are currently in full swing, so it may seem like a peculiar time to break down the best teams in the top sports leagues in the world. Nevertheless, you can think of this as your cheat sheet to who the favorites in sports all around the world are this year.

Here, you’ll find out why these teams are so heavily favored, what makes them potential winners, and why you may want to back them to go all the way.

English Premier League: Manchester City

Last season, Manchester City stormed through the Premier League to claim 100 points from their 38-game season. They cleared the next closest team, local rivals Manchester United, by 19 points. Coming into the 2018/19 season, they’ve kept their league-winning squad intact while adding Riyad Mahrez for £60 million ($76,438,980) from Leicester City, as well as Philippe Sandler and Daniel Arzani for some young depth.

Given the woeful transfer market exploits of Ed Woodward for Manchester United and David Levy for Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City have seemingly opened the gap on their two biggest title threats. Liverpool and Chelsea have splashed out in this window but still have very pressing issues to deal with – strong defenders for Liverpool and a reliable, scoring striker for Chelsea – before they become legitimate threats. So, this leaves Manchester City as the decided -150 to win the Premier League once again.

Major League Baseball: Boston Red Sox


Source: Boston Red Sox, via Twitter

It seems as though, all season, the world of baseball has been waiting for the Boston Red Sox to slip up and give the American League East crown to the preseason favorites. But, the Red Sox have staved off the New York Yankees, reinforcing their hold over their eternal rivals by sweeping them 4-0 in an early August series. The Boston Red Sox became the first team to reach 80 wins this season, storming ahead of the former runaway World Series favorites, the Houston Astros.

Each win seems to give their fan base hope, and their work at the MLB Trade Deadline only enhanced their standing as the best team in the league. It’s reported by MLB Stat of the Day that the Red Sox are the seventh American League team to win at least 81 of their first 115 games, with four of the other six to do so going on to win the World Series. With that in their favor and current odds of +375, they look to be the favorites to win it all this year.

National Hockey League: Tampa Bay Lightning

It’s been a long time since the NHL last had a dead-cert favorite to win the title, and this year is no different. New Stanley Cup contenders always emerge throughout the season, as shown by the emphatic Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural season last year. But, the time has come for the ever-promising Tampa Bay Lightning to claim the Cup.

Star players like Steven Stamkos looked to galvanize the fully-fit, very talented Bolts to a Cup run last season. But, the determination and grit of the Washington Capitals got the better of them. This season, they will make no mistake; the Tampa Bay Lightning are favored at +850 to go all the way. They will meet stiff competition from John Tavares and his new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and most likely from the Nashville Predators in the finals, but this should be the year that it all comes together for this elite-level team.

Australian Football League: Richmond Tigers


Source: Financial Partners, via Twitter

Whenever a team wins the ultimate prize of any league, the first thought trails to how long that team will remain on top. Well, for the Richmond Tigers, winning in the 2017 Grand Final merely appears to be a stepping stone on their path to further greatness.

The 2017 AFL Premiership season ended with Richmond in third, trailing the Geelong Cats and Adelaide Crows by just two points. This season, Richmond is poised to win the season convincingly before going into the final as favorites to become back-to-back premiers. In fact, their performances this season have been so impressive that they’ve become the go-to choice for AFL fans using the $100 bonus from Oddschecker, especially as they’re favored at odds of +150.

National Football League: New England Patriots

If you ever need to find a sports team which is just assumed to go all the way in almost every season, bar any major injuries, it’s the New England Patriots under the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady regime. With a football mastermind on the touchline and one of the best quarterbacks of all-time on the field, it’s hard to argue against any team that the Patriots put out.

The Patriots suffered an upset in the Super Bowl last year, at the hands of the upstart Philadelphia Eagles, but they’re tipped by many to be the best bets to win the Super Bowl this year. Tom Brady, regardless of his surrounding cast, will go into must-win mode and storm the AFC East. The Pats have, once again, added many misfits to their roster but there’s no doubt that Belichick will get the best out of them. New England is at +600 to remedy their Super Bowl defeat of last season.

National Basketball League: Golden State Warriors


Source: J.3x, via Twitter

The Golden State Warriors have established a dynasty which is expected to continue to add championships to its very impressive haul. So far, LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers are the only ones who have been able to put up some resistance, by winning the 2016 NBA Championship. But, overall, the Warriors have defeated the Cavs in the finals in 2015, 2017, and 2018.

LeBron James has now moved to a Western Conference team, the Los Angeles Lakers, to challenge the Warriors in their own conference. But, this isn’t expected to have much impact on the Warriors as they’re still heavy -200 favorites to win a fourth championship in five years. As it stands, the biggest challenge for the championship will come from an Atlantic Division team, either the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, or Philadelphia Sixers. But, perhaps, the Houston Rockets can complete their specific goal of defeating the Warriors this year.  

DOTA 2, The International: Virtus.pro

E-sports is an incredibly fast-growing industry that has captured the imagination of gamers all over the world. While e-sports covers many different games, the undisputed ultimate right now is DOTA 2’s almighty competition simply called The International.

Each year, the competition continues to break the record for an e-sports prize pool, with it already exceeding $23,842,160 for The International 2018. The 2017 tournament saw Team Liquid dominate, ending Newbee 3-0 in the Grand Finals but, this year, Virtus.pro come in as the team to beat, rated at +300, having improved greatly over the last 12 months.

All over the world, the biggest sports leagues appear to have a shoe-in favorite to go all the way. But, we all know that anything can happen in sports, and we’ll most likely see very different teams lift the respective trophies.