Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson selects his top ten sporting bets for 2020


1. NOVAK DJOKOVIC TO WIN TWO OR MORE GRAND SLAMS (2-1)

In the next couple of years, we will start to see a changing of the guard in men’s tennis. Andy Murray’s hip surgery means he is no longer the force of old, Roger Federer is gradually showing signs of starting to wane and Rafael Nadal’s dominance only really remains intact on clay.

The exception is Novak Djokovic, who continues to operate at the very highest level, week in, week out. A new generation are ready to make their mark, but Djokovic has at least one more season of dominance in him. Back him for two or more Slams before the Australian Open starts later this month.


2. PARIS ST GERMAIN TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE (8-1)

The Northern Echo:

The English clubs dominate the top of the Champions League market, and Liverpool and Manchester City have strong claims to be the two best teams left in the competition. However, they’ll have plenty on the domestic agenda come the end of the season, and could find themselves embroiled in tricky all-English ties.

Paris St Germain are cantering towards the Ligue 1 title, and can focus their undivided attention on Europe. They were excellent in the group stage, have tightened up their defence, and have a reasonably attractive last-16 draw against Borussia Dortmund. At this stage, they look the best bet.


3. DEFI DU SEUIL TO WIN THE CHAMPION CHASE AT THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL (9-2)

The Northern Echo:

The Christmas racing has muddied the water for a number of the championship races at Cheltenham, with lofty reputations being destroyed on both sides of the Irish Sea. The Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup markets look especially murky, so for an ante-post flutter, get on Defi Du Seuil in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on the Wednesday of the Festival.

Altior could drop back into the division, but has plenty to prove, while Chacun Pour Soi flopped badly last week. Defi Du Seuil is a festival winner who jumps as clean as a whistle and has excelled over two miles this season. Back him before he runs at Ascot later this month.


4. XANDER SCHAUFFELE EACH-WAY AT THE US MASTERS (22-1)

There is a sizeable crop of talented golfers who will be challenging for their first Major title this season, but none are as consistent or proven at the very highest level as Xander Schauffele. The American boasts four titles on the PGA tour, including a WGC success, and finished in the top six at two of last year’s Majors.

He struggled on his first outing at Augusta last April, but the experience will stand him in good stead when he returns for this year’s Masters. With plenty of firms offering up to ten each-way places at the Majors, he rates as a cracking bet at odds of around 22-1.


5. WALK IN THE MILL EACH-WAY FOR THE GRAND NATIONAL (25-1)

The Northern Echo:

Walk In The Mill advertised his Grand National credentials when he finished fourth in last year’s race behind Tiger Roll, who will be bidding for a historic third-successive victory if he lines up at Aintree again in April.

Tiger Roll’s appeal is obvious, but Walk In The Mill took another step forward when he won the Becher Chase over the National fences in December. That victory will ensure he rises high enough in the weights to be guaranteed a run in the National itself and he looks nailed on for another strong performance. Back him before his price contracts, and shop around for firms already going Non Runner No Bet.


6. LEINSTER TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS CUP AND EXETER TO WIN THE PREMIERSHIP GRAND FINAL DOUBLE (4-1)

The Northern Echo:

England should win the Six Nations, but they’re odds on, so for a rugby bet, turn your attention to the club game and pair Leinster and Exeter Chiefs in a European-domestic double.

Leinster have been miles clear of their rivals in the group stages of the Champions Cup, and there’s no reason why their dominance should not extend right through the knockout matches. With no Saracens to contend with because of the reigning champions’ points penalty, Exeter should have a clear run to their first Premiership title, with only Northampton looking remotely capable of threatening them. The double pays around 4-1 and should come off.


7. HARRY KANE TO BE TOP SCORER AT EURO 2020 (6-1)

The Northern Echo:

Backing England to win the European Championships makes appeal, with all their group games and the semi-finals and final due to be staged at Wembley. However, they’re a short enough price, and the possibility of a tricky second-round game against France, Germany or Portugal in Dublin has to be factored in.

A better option might be to side with Harry Kane in the top goalscorer market. If England go deep into the competition, Kane will almost certainly be the player firing them towards glory. And if they were to slip up in the knockout stages, a heavy-scoring group stage might still leave the England skipper in the running.

8. DINA ASHER-SMITH TO WIN AN OLYMPIC MEDAL (5-6)

The Northern Echo:

The bookmakers haven’t really priced up the Olympics yet, but a few are starting to offer odds on the leading British stars ahead of Tokyo 2020. In terms of the total medals market, Team GB could struggle to match their feats at Rio, but Dina Asher-Smith should be a banker for individual success.

Depending on the odds, she could be worth a flutter in the outright market for the 200m, but for now, taking her to win a medal of any description looks a pretty safe bet given her quality and consistency throughout 2019.


9. NEW ZEALAND TO WIN THE WORLD TWENTY20 (13-2)

The Northern Echo:

The World Twenty20 takes place in Australia this autumn, and the hosts have been installed as early favourites ahead of an England team that showed their liking for the white ball when they won the One-Day World Cup earlier this year.

As ever, though, New Zealand appear underestimated and overpriced. They are strong with bat and ball, hugely experienced in the T20 format and will relish Australian conditions. As fourth or fifth favourites, they merit support.


10. ADAM PEATY TO WIN BBC SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR (14-1)

The Northern Echo: Adam Peaty

If England win either Euro 2020 or the World Twenty20, there is a good chance either a footballer or cricketer will win the Sports Personality crown. If not, though, the Olympics are likely to dominate the sporting year.

Swimmer Adam Peaty should win both the 50m and 100m breaststroke titles in Tokyo, and could also claim a relay medal. If things go well, he could also set a new World record. Do any or all of that, and he will be in with a great shout of the BBC honour.