Who Are the Favorites to Reign Supreme in America’s Big Four Sports in 2024?

This side of the pond and at this time of the year, football is firmly center stage. Leagues and tournaments culminate left, right, and center. There’s the three-way battle for the Premier League between Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool going down to the wire, while the race to win the Champions League will also be resolved in the coming weeks. Add to that the upcoming UEFA European Championships in Germany this summer, and it’s clear to see why the beautiful game is on the tip of everyone’s collective tongue.

However, across the Atlantic, soccer – as they aptly call it – isn’t the powerhouse that it is elsewhere. Even with the arrival of Lionel Messi in Miami, it remains a distant fifth behind North America’s traditional big four: basketball, ice hockey, football, and baseball. The former two of those selections are currently winding down their respective campaigns, with both the NBA and the NHL entering the playoffs. The MLB has just gotten its 2024 season underway while the NFL campaign doesn’t get underway until the first weekend of September. So, who are the favorites to reign supreme in all four? Let’s find out.

NBA: Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are one of the most storied franchises in basketball history. They have lifted the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy a joint-record 15 times alongside the Los Angeles Lakers, and this term they are the short-priced +125 favorites to break the record outright.

The Massachusetts side embarked upon a stellar regular season, finishing as the top seed on the East Coast with a whopping 64 wins, 14 more than the second-placed team in their conference, the New York Knicks, and seven more than anyone else in the entire league. They currently hold a 1-0 series lead against the eighth-seed Miami Heat in the first round of the postseason and are looking to secure redemption for the shock defeat that Jimmy Butler and Co. handed them in last season’s conference finals.

Under the astute leadership of head coach Ime Udoka, and powered by the dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston’s blend of youthful exuberance and veteran savvy makes them a formidable force. The former of that feared pair has a remarkable ability to score from anywhere on the court, while the latter’s defensive prowess has turned the TD Garden into a fortress few teams can breach.

The supporting cast, featuring the likes of Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III, provides the grit and depth necessary for a deep playoff run. Should they continue in the same vein then they look to be on a collision course with the reigning champion Denver Nuggets in the NBA finals, a clash that would be a mouthwatering prospect.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes

In the world of the NHL, the Carolina Hurricanes have emerged as the team to watch in recent weeks. All season long it had been the Edmonton Oilers that the bookies fancied lifting the Stanley Cup, especially because they have the greatest player in the world on their roster, the incomparable Connor McDavid. However, the Charlotte-based outfit has romped into two games to nil first-round series lead against the New York Islanders, prompting the bookies to slash their odds to +300.

Sebastian Aho, the Finnish centre, leads the charge with his electrifying speed and uncanny ability to find the back of the net. Coupled with the defensive stalwart Jaccob Slavin, who commands the blue line like a seasoned general, the Hurricanes possess the perfect balance between attack and defence that is crucial for success. Their goaltending, often the make-or-break factor in the postseason, looks solid with Frederik Andersen providing reliability between the pipes.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers

The 2023 season was a shocking one in the MLB. Last term was the year of the underdogs, as the American League’s fifth-seed Texas Rangers and the National League’s sixth-seed Arizona Diamondbacks belied their expectations to make it to the World Series. The former knocked off the heavyweight Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros en route to the championship series, while the latter defeated and swept the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies to secure their spot. Ultimately it was the Lone Star state outfit that ran out victorious, lifting the famed giant trophy for the first time in franchise history.

This year, however, the bookies expect the Dodgers to right the wrongs of last term, with the latest MLB odds earmarking them as the +300 favorite. Mookie Betts, with his all-around brilliance, sets the tone at the top, while the power-hitting Cody Bellinger provides the fireworks. The addition of young talents like Gavin Lux injects a dose of speed and versatility that keeps opponents guessing. On the mound, Walker Buehler leads a rotation of high-caliber arms capable of dominating in the postseason.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs

In the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs are without a doubt the dominant force on the gridiron. Back in February, they romped to a second straight Lombardi by defeating the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Next term, the bookies have made them the favourites to become the first team in Super Bowl history to complete the three-peat.

Patrick Mahomes, with a talent that transcends generations, sits at the heart of this saga. His ability to turn the improbable into routine has made Arrowhead Stadium a theatre of dreams. Travis Kelce, the indefatigable tight end and Mr. Taylor Swift, remains Mahomes’ most reliable target, turning critical third downs into firsts with an ease that belies the pressure of the moment.

The defense, often overshadowed by the team’s offensive fireworks, has shown itself to be more than capable, with Tyrann Mathieu leading by example and instilling a never-say-die attitude. They will once again be the team to beat next term.