Leagues

Looking Ahead: Predictions for the 2024 Sports Year, Part Two

The second part of our look at sports predictions for 2024 — this installment looks at the second half of the year.

January 5, 2024

In this second installment of a two-part series, we’ll take a look at some of the big sporting events we can expect to see in the second half of 2024. Below, you’ll find early predictions for league, tournament, and individual award winners, as well as how some key 2024 storylines from around the world of sports could unfold. Odds from Tipico Sportsbook are provided where available.

The months of July through December will be covered here after January through June were addressed in the previous piece. Read our first installment here.

UEFA Euro 2024 (Final: July 14)

Germany (+620) — There’s no World Cup in 2024, but another major international soccer tournament that’s held every four years is scheduled for this summer. The group stage of the UEFA European Championship starts in June, but a champion won’t be crowned until mid-July. Germany’s a perennial soccer powerhouse, and despite having slipped to 16th in the world rankings, the Germans could make a run to the championship while riding the support of the crowd as the host nation. They have a favorable early draw as the highest-ranked team in their group, which also includes Switzerland, Scotland, and Hungary.

Wimbledon (Women’s Final: July 13; Men’s Final: July 14) 

Men’s winner: Jannik Sinner (+1100) — Sinner has been on the precipice of a Grand Slam title for a couple years now, and 2024 could be the year the 22-year-old Italian finally breaks through. Sinner beat Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon in 2022 and had a two-set lead over Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals that year, then made the semifinals in 2023 before falling to Djokovic. After finally notching a win over Djokovic at the ATP Finals in November, Sinner could be ready to match that feat in a Grand Slam, and the grass fits his aggressive game style well.

Women’s winner: Ons Jabeur (+1000) — Jabeur has come tantalizingly close to realizing her childhood dream of winning Wimbledon two years in a row, falling in the final to Elena Rybakina in 2022 and Marketa Vondrousova in 2023. The crafty Tunisian’s variety of spins and slices are most effective on the grass, and Jabeur could finally come out on top in 2024 if she can hold her nerve in the tournament’s latter stages.

The Open Championship (golf) (July 14-21)

Rory McIlroy — McIlroy hasn’t won a major since 2014, but the No. 2 ranked golfer has come close on many occasions and has three top-three finishes since the start of 2022. The Open Championship, which is also referred to as the British Open, is the major closest to home for the Northern Irish golfer. The 2024 edition will be held at Royal Troon in Scotland.

Paris Olympics (July 26-Aug. 11)

United States — There are too many sports to go one by one, so we’re looking at the full medal count here. In the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo – which were held in 2021 – USA led the way in both gold medals (39) and total medals (112). China was a close second with 38 gold medals, while the total medal gap was much larger, as China finished second with 89. Team USA should continue to accrue the most medals, with swimmers Katie Ledecky and Caleb Dressel likely to help pad the medal count, gymnast Simone Biles hoping to avoid the twisties this time, and Lebron James possibly giving it one more go with USA basketball.

US Open (tennis) (Women’s Final: Sept. 9; Men’s Final Sept. 10)

Men’s winner: Carlos Alcaraz (+155) — Alcaraz won one major apiece in 2022 and 2023, but if he’s going to climb the ranks of the tennis greats and eventually enter the rarified air occupied by the likes of Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer, the 20-year-old Spaniard will need to start churning out some multi-slam seasons. The first such year should happen in 2024, and Alcaraz has already proven he has what it takes to win under the bright lights of New York, as his first Grand Slam title came at the 2022 US Open.

Women’s winner: Coco Gauff (+620) — Gauff broke through with her first major title at the 2023 US Open as a 19-year-old. Between a slow hard court that’s ideal for her counterpunching style and a partisan American crowd there to cheer her on, Flushing Meadows provides an ideal environment for Gauff’s game, so a title defense at age 20 is certainly possible.

World Series (October and November 2024) 

Atlanta Braves (+700) — The Dodgers (+410) have choked in the postseason every year except the spectator-less COVID season, and the addition of Shohei Ohtani is unlikely to change that, especially with Ohtani unavailable to pitch as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. That leaves the NL’s other perennial powerhouse as another top World Series contender. The Braves won the World Series in 2021, then topped 100 wins in each of the subsequent two regular seasons, and their core is locked in for years to come, led by reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuna Jr.

AL MVP

Aaron Judge (+550) — The Yankees finally went out and made a splashy move after the embarrassment of missing the playoffs last season, acquiring Juan Soto via trade from San Diego. Having Soto batting behind him should provide much-needed protection for Judge, which should get the 6-7 slugger more pitches to hit. Even while consistently getting pitched around, Judge has been arguably the best hitter in baseball over the past two years, with a .294/.417/.657 line and 99 home runs in 263 games. Judge is also a plus defender in center and an elite one in right field, so if the 2022 AL MVP can stay healthy, he has a great chance to add more hardware to his mantel.

NL MVP

Bryce Harper (+1200) — The Dodgers and Braves both have numerous stars that could cut into each other’s MVP candidacies, while Harper is the clear go-to guy in Philadelphia. Harper has won MVP in two of the previous five seasons in which he has played at least 140 games, including 2021 with Philadelphia, and he’s the best postseason hitter in baseball. If he can stay healthy and locked in during the regular season like he does in the playoffs, the left-handed slugger certainly has the talent to put forth a regular season worthy of a third NL MVP.

Other Storylines to Watch 

Will Shohei Ohtani live up to his mega-deal with the Dodgers?

Shohei Ohtani signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Dodgers in the offseason, and he saved on moving costs to boot while switching over from the other LA team. The two-time AL MVP is unlikely to contend for the NL MVP award in his first year, as he’ll have access to only half of his unicorn hitter+pitcher skill set. Ohtani averaged 117 games played and 28.5 home runs in his six seasons with the Angels while slashing .274/.366/.556.

He could have a hard time reaching those benchmarks in his first season with the Dodgers considering Bryce Harper wasn’t the same hitter in his first few months back after a quick return from Tommy John surgery last year, going 166 plate appearances without a home run at one point. Once Ohtani is back to hitting and pitching at the same time, he could start to look like a bargain, but he’ll be far from a $70 million player in 2024 — though the Japanese star will still be worth more than the $2 million the Dodgers will actually pay him while deferring a ridiculous $68 million.

Will Aaron Rodgers help the Jets fly higher in 2024?

Aaron Rodgers’ move to the Jets was one of the biggest sports stories of 2023, but he lasted just four plays before tearing his Achilles, kicking off a trend of starting QBs going down that permeated the 2023 NFL season. Things should be better in 2024, as playing without Rodgers the rest of the way helped the Jets realize that they also need to shore up other elements of the offense, most notably the offensive line and wide receivers behind Garrett Wilson.

Rodgers won’t contend for a fifth MVP award at age 40. But if he’s truly healthy, Rodgers should have the Jets in playoff position to snap a drought that dates back to 2010.

Sasha Yodashkin
Sasha Yodashkin has been contributing NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Tennis content to RotoWire since 2015, with an emphasis on DFS. He is a huge New York sports fan who has been playing fantasy sports since middle school.
MORE FROM Sasha