A couple lists of ‘Bold Sports Predictions for 2018’ are making the rounds online . . . and they’re good, even though one of them is that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots make it back to the Super Bowl, which seems about as UN-bold as you can get.  Love him or hate him, it’s hard to bet against him.

Regardless, here are some highlights from the lists:

1.  Baseball:  Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals wins the MVP and then lands with the Chicago Cubs after the season in free agency.  The ‘boldest’ part is that this would require Bryce to somehow stay healthy for the whole season.

Another prediction is that Nationals ace pitcher Max Scherzer wins his THIRD-straight Cy Young Award, which hasn’t happened since Randy Johnson won four in a row in the early 2000s.

2.  Basketball:  LeBron James wins the MVP and stays put in Cleveland, despite being a free agent again this summer.

3.  Football:  The L.A. Rams get to the Super Bowl.

Apparently, the writer meant for this to happen in the 2018 season for the 2019 Super Bowl . . . but the Rams ARE in the postseason this year, and will play the Atlanta Falcons in a Wild Card game this weekend. To do it THIS winter, they’d also have to get past the Minnesota Vikings, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the New Orleans Saints in the NFC.

4.  Golf:  Tiger Woods posts a Top 10 finish at a Major.  They say, quote, “An outright win may be bit too optimistic, but the chance that the 14-time Major winner could crack a top 10 is in play . . . if his health abides.”  He hasn’t actually WON one in 10 years.

5.  Basketball:  The NBA repeals ‘one-and-done’ rule, which forces high school basketball stars to play at least one year in college before being eligible for the NBA draft.  But it’s unclear which direction they’ll go . . . they could let high schoolers enter the draft, or EXTEND the rule to make it a two-year waiting period.

6.  Hockey:  The Vegas Golden Knights make the playoffs in their debut season, which frankly looks like a CERTAINTY at this point.  More interestingly, the 1994 Florida Panthers have the record for most points in an inaugural season with 83, although they missed the playoffs by a point.  The Golden Knights are poised to smash that record.

7.  Wrestling:  John Cena wins record 17th World Championship.  For now, he’s tied with Ric Flair at 16 apiece.  Cena has 13 WWE Championships and 3 World Heavyweight Championships . . . while Flair has 8 NWA World Heavyweight Championships, 6 WCW Championships, and 2 WWE Championships.

8.  Basketball:  The Golden State Warriors do NOT win the NBA Finals.

As unstoppable as they can be at their best, there are more legitimate challengers in the West than in the previous three years:  The Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the San Antonio Spurs are all looking good.  And of course, there’s Cleveland, where LeBron has been having a stellar season, and they’re just now getting Isaiah Thomas back from injury.

9.  Tennis:  Serena Williams comes back in a big way and wins all four Grand Slams . . . after taking time off for her pregnancy last year.  Also, Roger Federer wins yet another Grand Slam.  He’s turning 37 this year . . . and his next one would be his record 20th Grand Slam title.

10.  NASCAR:  Jimmie Johnson wins a record eighth NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series title, and then retires.

11.  Football:  The Cleveland Browns win a game.  It may sound crazy, but remember, NFL teams ACCIDENTALLY win games all the time in the NFL.  And at least for now, the Browns are still considered an NFL team.

(Yardbarker, USA Today)