Odds and Predictions for the 2021 ESPY Awards

| July 8, 2021 6:02 am PDT

The 2021 ESPYS are finally here on July 10, and they’re prepared to praise the very best sports has had to offer over the past year.

From the NFL to auto racing, all the biggest names in sports will be on hand for this year’s ESPYS, where even bigger names are in line to get some hardware.

We’ve spent the past week or so going over who will win at the ESPYS, but it’s crunch time, and I thought it’d make sense to take a look at ESPYS odds and predictions for 2021.

Whether you’re looking to bet on who will win at the 2021 ESPYS, or you just want to know, read on.

Where to Bet on the 2021 ESPYS

Before you decide who will win at the 2021 ESPYS, it might be a good idea to figure out where to bet on the ESPYS this year.

It’s pretty tough to bet on the ESPYS without using an online sportsbook, and it’s also pretty difficult to get your money if the site can’t be trusted.

The ESPYS betting sites above are vetted, and happen to be some of the best online sports betting sites you’ll find online.

Whether you use these sites or not, these are the boxes you should be looking to check.

  • Alluring promotions & bonuses
  • Top shelf customer service
  • Wager versatility
  • Competitive pricing
  • Quick & easy payouts

It’s arguable that every single site won’t address all of these needs, but the ESPYS betting sites listed above will cover most of the bases.

Finding the right site to bet at is just the first step to successfully betting on the 2021 ESPY Awards. For some insight as to how to bet, read on for my 2021 ESPYS predictions.

Best Boxer

  • Canelo Alvarez (-175)
  • Tyson Fury (+275)
  • Claressa Shields (+400)
  • Teofimo Lopez (+500)

The best sports betting sites are offering a slew of ESPYS props to target. They don’t have props for every single category, though, but it should create more betting interest in some more obscure races.

One is for Best Boxer, with the mighty Canelo Alvarez pulling in the lead. The 30-year old has an amazing 56-1-2 record, including a 3-0 run dating back to 2020.

Alvarez’s recent run includes a KO of Sergey Kovalev, as well as wins against Billy Joe Saunders and Avni Yildirim. He’s arguably the best boxer alive right now, too.

The only other bet here is Fury, who has a big trilogy rematch looming against Deontay Wilder.

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The two ended their first bout in a Draw, while Fury won the rematch. Fury’s 30-0 run has been impressive, but Alvarez has been much more active. The odds are appealing for both, but Alvarez stands out a bit more here.

  • My Pick: Canelo Alvarez (-175)

Best Breakthrough Athlete

  • LaMelo Ball (-140)
  • Justin Herbert (+160)
  • Chase Young (+350)
  • Crystal Dangerfield (+800)

This award goes to the athlete who broke out over the past year. It understandably can easily go to rookies, or any other players that have an amazing year after previously being under the radar.

The two most likely threats here are undeniably Hornets star point guard LaMelo Ball, and Chargers quarterback, Justin Herbert.

My colleague wrote an in-depth breakdown of who will win Best Breakthrough Athlete at the 2021 ESPYS that’s worth reading.

Ultimately, Herbert makes the most sense here. After all, the guy literally broke the record for touchdowns by a rookie quarterback.

Ball would be the close second here, as he was extremely flashy and productive in his first season. However, Herbert made the Bolts relevant, and he was simply more impressive statistically.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that he comes in at a more alluring +160 price tag, either.

  • My Pick: Justin Herbert (+160)

Best Female Athlete

  • Naomi Osaka (+100)
  • Simone Biles (+150)
  • Amanda Nunes (+300)
  • Breanna Stewart (+600)

You can bet on who will win Best Female Athlete at the 2021 ESPYS, and it’s honestly a loaded field.

One could argue for all four women up for this award. Tennis star Naomi Osaka comes in as the tentative favorite. The 23-year-old won the US Open in 2020 and the Australian Open in 2021, but she also impressed with her openness about anxiety.

I think the mental health narrative only helps Osaka, and many see her as the best tennis player in the world already.

Simone Biles is the most popular gymnast in the world, of course, while Amanda Nunes is on a 12-fight winning streak, and Stewart helped the Seattle Storm win the 2020 WNBA Finals.

Everyone has a shot here, but Osaka’s dominance and impact beyond sports is probably taking the cake.

  • My Pick: Naomi Osaka (+100)

Best Female College Athlete

  • Odicci Alexander (+100)
  • Paige Bueckers (+150)
  • Jaelin Howell (+375)
  • Madison Lilley (+400)

It’s probably easiest to just bet on the Best Female Athlete in professional sports, but there could be value to be had if you follow college sports closely.

Odicci Alexander comes in as the favorite to win Best Female College Athlete this year, as she was named Pitcher of the Year and produced an 18-3 record with a 1.71 ERA and 204 strikeouts.

This is what she’ll be remembered for, though.

UConn star basketball player Paige Bueckers is a fine second option. She won Naismith Player of the Year and AP Player of the Year in 2021, while putting up 20 points and 5.8 assists per game.

Alexander was a bit more impactful due to the major waves by James Madison, however, so I think she gets the nod.

  • My Pick: Odicci Alexander (+100)

Best Game

  • Gonzaga vs. UCLA (-300)
  • Stanford vs. Arizona (+350)
  • Ravens vs. Browns (+375)
  • Winnipeg vs. Edmonton (+700)

Let’s take a quick break from predicting which players will win at the 2021 ESPYS, and appreciate the best game in sports from the past year.

It’s highly subjective, of course, but Nick Sterling broke it down pretty well.

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I agree with Sterling in spots here. The Winnipeg vs. Edmonton game was amazing, but it also was a series-ender in a series that ultimately wasn’t all that close in terms of games won.

The Ravens vs. Browns game was undeniably the best NFL game of the past year, but it wasn’t a playoff game. The other three were, while both college basketball games went down during March Madness.

The Gonzaga game was insane, but how do you top the Stanford vs. Arizona game?

Not only was this for all the marbles in the women’s college basketball national championship, but it also featured a tense ending.

I think pretty much all these options are viable, but I like the price for a title game ending in the best way possible. Women’s sports doesn’t get enough of a spotlight in general, so maybe correctly crowning this contest as Best Game will help.

  • My Pick: Stanford vs. Arizona (+350)

Best Male Athlete

  • Tom Brady (-600)
  • Nikola Jokic (+375)
  • Connor McDavid (+700)
  • Lewis Hamilton (+800)

After that “game only” pit stop, let’s turn the focus back to the best players of the past year. The Best Male Athlete is basically the Best Actor award of the ESPYS, too, so it’s kind of a big deal.

Tom Brady understandably is the massive -600 favorite, and you can see which side Nick Sterling took in his 2021 ESPYS Best Male Athlete prediction.

Brady does look like the logical pick here. McDavid is a huge NHL star and nobody tops Lewis Hamilton in F1 racing, but the reigning NBA MVP (Jokic) is the only real pivot here.

Ultimately, Brady has to be the pick. He changed teams, threw 40 touchdowns, and won yet another Super Bowl. It’s impossible to top that.

  • My Pick: Tom Brady (-600)

Best Male College Athlete

  • Trevor Lawrence (-130)
  • DeVonta Smith (+150)
  • Luka Garza (+350)
  • Gloire Amanda (+750)

From the pros to college we go, as bettors try to decide who will win Best Male College Athlete at this year’s ESPY Awards.

The frontrunner is Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who continued to put up big numbers and kept the Tigers in title contention yet again.

This one feels fairly open, though.

DeVonta Smith may be the better bet from the college football ranks, as his team won the national championship, and he even went on to win the Heisman.

Luka Garza didn’t get Iowa very far during March Madness, but he was one of the most dominant big men in college basketball last year. He’s in the mix, and his +350 price is interesting.

Ultimately, Smith just feels like the right call. He was sensational last year, locked up the Heisman Trophy, and helped the undefeated Crimson Tide win it all.

  • My Pick: DeVonta Smith (+150)

Best MMA Fighter

  • Francis Ngannou (+150)
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov (+150)
  • Amanda Nunes (+300)
  • Rose Namajunas (+300)

You can also bet on who will win Best MMA Fighter of 2021. There are also a handful of sport-specific wagers like this that the top online betting sites surprisingly don’t have odds for as I write this.

In the event that changes, here’s some insight for the other major categories.

As for this one, it’s probably down to the top three options, and you really can go in any direction.

Khabib closed out his career at a perfect 29-0, Nunes kept defending her title successfully, and Ngannou just embarrassed Stipe Miocic to win the heavyweight title.

I like them all, but Nunes is as dominant as any fighter and comes in at a cool +300. I say roll the dice a bit here.

  • My Pick: Amanda Nunes (+300)

Best Play

  • DK Metcalf Chasing Budda Baker (+100)
  • Hail Murray (+175)
  • Jamil Roberts Goal (+350)
  • Simone Biles Vault (+350)

We’ve gone over the likely winner for Best Game at the 2021 ESPYS Awards, but this one singles out the top play in sports.

All these plays have a real shot, but when thinking about which one actually wins, you have to consider which one carries the most weight.

DK Metcalf chasing down Budda Baker generated the most buzz online, while Biles and Roberts had the best individual efforts. But that hail mary between Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins was special.

Not only was it an impossible play, but Murray was rolling out, evading pressure, and heaving the ball off balance. The score took down the Buffalo Bills, giving fans easily the best ending to any NFL game of the past year.

  • My Pick: Hail Murray (+175)

Best Record-Breaking Performance

  • Phil Mickelson (-140)
  • Russell Westbrook (+275)
  • DeVonta Smith (+300)
  • Tara VanDerveer (+400)

While some performances are amazing, some actually break records. Cue the Best Record Breaking Performance for 2021, which likely pits aging golfer Phil Mickelson against NBA star Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook’s feat is undeniably amazing. The guy hasn’t just posted numerous triple-double seasons, but he’s done it so much that this past year he became the all-time leader in the stat.

Of course, Westbrook had a lot of time to accrue these numbers, and the game has changed to benefit him. After all, triple-doubles are more common now than they had been in the past.

Mickelson, meanwhile, defied Father Time in becoming the oldest player to win a major.

With talent in decline as you age, accomplishing something at that level at his age is really something else. Westbrook had the benefit of past elite seasons and longevity to get the job done, but Mickelson had to beat golfers flat out in his prime to set this record.

  • My Pick: Phil Mickelson (-140)

Best Team

  • Buccaneers (-140)
  • Dodgers (+250)
  • Alabama (+450)
  • Baylor (+800)
  • Stanford (+1000)
  • Oklahoma (+1200)
  • Seattle Storm (+1200)

We’ve broken down the best bets to win Best Game and Best Play, so naturally we should also predict which organization will win Best Team.

The ESPYS are largely about honoring the best individual athletes in sports, but they often make up great teams, as well.

Based on the 2021 ESPYS odds at the most reputable online sportsbooks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the right call here. They’d make sense, too, as they’d tie-in with the likely Best Male Athlete in Tom Brady.

Tampa Bay did win the Super Bowl, so the math checks out. Of course, they don’t offer the most value.

The Dodgers won the World Series and have a far better price, Alabama was a perfect college football champion, and the Baylor Bears scored a massive upset in the NCAA men’s basketball title game.

Stanford was mentioned in my Best Game pick, too, while Oklahoma was as good as anyone, and the Storm won the WNBA Finals.

Tampa Bay or L.A. are probably the best bets to win this thing, but the pick has to be Baylor.

Few really gave the Bears a chance against the top-seeded Gonzaga, and yet they mopped the floor with Mark Few’s crew. Other bets are safer, but no bet feels better than Baylor.

  • My Pick: Baylor (+800)

Betting on the 2021 ESPY Awards

It’s pretty cool that you can bet on the 2021 ESPYS, and hopefully my ESPYS predictions help you make some money.

Of course, I wouldn’t cut your research short and only use my 2021 ESPYS betting predictions. I am aiming high in a few spots here, while there are some bets (namely Brady at -600) that probably aren’t worth your time.

Consider my ESPYS predictions, but also keep tabs on evolving odds, online buzz, and make sure you take a close look at every single candidate.

Odds aside, all of the options here are deserving of praise, so in theory, they have a chance to win. I think that’s the case with some more than others, but keeping an open mind can be helpful when betting on the 2021 ESPYS.

On top of that, make sure you’re placing bets at a reliable sportsbook, use the best odds available, and get your bets in early.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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