The ESPY Awards have been a staple for sports fans that also helps to get people through one of the slower times on the calendar. Since 2002, the ESPYs have run sometime between July 10 and July 20 each year, which is the day after the Major League Baseball All-Star game. The first-ever ESPY Awards were held in 1993 at Madison Square Garden and were hosted by Dennis Miller.
The 2017 ESPYs will be hosted by former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning on Wednesday, July 12, and as you can imagine there are some great categories and some much-anticipated awards as well. Just like pretty much anything, you can indeed bet on the ESPYs and interestingly, some of the categories are tough to predict. Let’s break down the odds on a few of the biggest awards that will be up for grabs, per Covers.com.
- Chicago Cubs: -500
- Golden State Warriors: +220
- New England Patriots: +280
- Clemson Tigers: +400
- U.S. Women’s Gymnastics: +550
- Pittsburgh Penguins: +800
- South Carolina Lady Gamecocks: +1000
It’s tough to imagine the award not going to one of the top three teams, although any team in this category is deserving. The Cubs are huge favorites for the obvious reason that their championship last year broke a brutal stretch in which the team hadn’t won a World Series since 1908. It was one of the most talked stretches ever in sports, which is why they should win this award.
Best Male Athlete
- Russell Westbrook: -200
- Michael Phelps: +160
- Kris Bryant: +300
- Sidney Crosby: +600
These odds are actually pretty close. While Westbrook proved to be on another level last year, averaging a triple-double with 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists in a season, there’s little chance that he loses out on this one you’d have to think. But, the odds on the other three candidates aren’t bad, and Bryant could be a part of a potential streak of Cubs victories at the ESPYs.
Best Female Athlete
- Simone Biles: Even
- Serena Williams: +130
- Katie Ledecky: +350
- Candace Parker: +550
While Biles is probably going to take this one home, call me crazy but Ledecky seems to be a great underdog selection here. The odds are nice at +350, she holds multiple world records and in the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won four gold medals and a silver. Again, betting on anyone other than Biles seems risky, but Ledecky is a nice choice still.
Best Championship Performance
- Tom Brady (Super Bowl): -1000
- Kevin Durant (NBA Championship): +300
- Deshaun Watson (College Football Championship): +450
- Shay Knighten (Women’s College World Series): +900
Brady’s Super Bowl comeback against the Falcons was unreal, as he threw it 62 times in the game for 466 yards and two touchdowns. While Durant, Watson and Knighten are all more than worthy, it’ll be hard to take this from Brady. For what it’s worth, Durant did average 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 blocks in the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, so maybe he can pull off the stunner.
Best Breakthrough Athlete
- Aaron Judge: Even
- Dak Prescott: -150
- Laurie Hernandez: +350
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: +500
- Christian Pulisic: +900
Can the soccer fans in the United States show up for Pulisic, who’s quickly become the hottest rising star in the sport? Even if they do, it’s probably not enough to top either Judge or Prescott. The Yankees slugger is fresh off his Home Run Derby victory and is having a monster season with 30 home runs at the All-Star break. It’s hard to imagine either him or Prescott, who led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record as a rookie, won’t take home this award.
Best Comeback Athlete
- Roger Federer: +130
- Jordy Nelson: +180
- Matt Bush: +220
- Candance Parker: +350
Federer and Nelson will probably be the battle here, but it really could go any which way honestly. Nelson’s bounce back from a torn ACL which forced him to miss the entire 2015 season was pretty amazing, as he reverted immediately back to form, scoring 14 touchdowns last year. But, Federer suffered a torn meniscus and dealt with injuries throughout all of 2016 as well, before finally bouncing back with his 18th Major title at the Australian Open.
- Mississippi State over Connecticut (Final Four): -110
- Clemson over Alabama (College Football Championship): +130
- Denis Istomin over Novak Djokovic (Australian Open): +450
As much as the Clemson Tigers deserve this award, the upset Mississippi State pulled over Connecticut in the Final Four was epic. It snapped Connecticut’s 111-game winning streak and as Jere Longman of the New York Times points out, it was Mississippi State’s first-ever Final Four appearance. There’s virtually no way it makes sense to go against Mississippi State you’d think, but hey, crazier things have certainly happened.
- New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons (Super Bowl): -130
- Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians (World Series): +110
- Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal (Australian Open): +600
As great ast he match between Federer and Nadal was, the Patriots and Falcons game was second to none in terms of being one of the best games in history. The Patriots unbelievable comeback left the sports world stunned. Not even the Cubs ending their drought will likely be enough to keep Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the rest of Patriots players and coaches from earning the ESPY here. After being down 21-3 and 28-9 at halftime, the Patriots didn’t allow a single point in the second half of the Super Bowl, going on to win 34-28.