The 2021 sporting year has brought a much-welcomed return to near normalcy with fans filling in stadiums, postseasons running to completion, and outstanding individual moments.
Three Athletes That Cover Their Bets
As the sweeping changes throughout the nation have gone on, there have been a couple of players that have served as guiding lights within their sports, whether as models of consistency or as tremendous performers.
Today, we highlight three professional athletes that have garnered a reputation as those that seem to always cover their spreads, regardless of circumstance— these are our choices.
#1: Matt Harvey, Baltimore Orioles
Matt Harvey is a 6-foot-4, 32-year-old starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles. After enjoying a promising start to his career, posting ERAs of 2.73 and under in his first three seasons in the Majors, Harvey’s career was derailed by a multitude of injuries.
The veteran pitcher has undergone Tommy John surgery in addition to many other operations and has become a journeyman in the later stages of his career. Harvey has played for five teams since 2018 after spending his first six seasons as a member of the New York Mets and has been nothing less than completely ineffective as of late, with little hope of restoring his previous greatness.
Here are Harvey’s ERAs since 2017: 6.70, 4.94, 7.09, 11.57, 7.70, the last of which comes from the current season. The O’s starter is also 3-10 in 2021 with a career-worst -1.7 Wins Above Replacement, a statistic that measures an individual’s impact by determining how many wins they contribute compared to an available replacement player.
When Harvey is on the mound, there is a strong chance that the game is going over, especially with the Orioles’ offensive talent that has been hidden by their 28-61 record.
#2: Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
It is not being a prisoner of the moment to recognize the torrid scoring streak that Chris Paul has been on in the playoffs and the tremendous year that he has had.
Chris Paul is a 16-year veteran point guard in his first season as a member of the Phoenix Suns, who are currently up 2-1 in the NBA Finals and searching for their first championship as a trophy.
Paul has had 37 and 41-point outings in the postseason already and has been searching for his shot at a frequency not seen since he was a solo star for the New Orleans Hornets. He also led the Suns to a 51-21 record, the second-best in the Western Conference, while averaging the third-most assists in the league at 8.9 per game.
Whether it was assists and wins in the regular season or points and wins in the playoffs, Paul has been rewarded his bettors greatly in 2021; with two more wins needed to capture his first NBA Championship, expect him to show his best.
#3: Nikita Kucherov: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning’s seven-year veteran did not appear until the postseason, spending the regular season recovering from hip surgery. Kucherov’s return in the playoffs saw him pick up exactly where he had left off, leading the team in assists (24) and points (32).
Tampa Bay finished behind the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers in third place in the Central Division but surged when Kucherov made his return, dominating the playoffs.
The experienced right-winger was instrumental in his team’s triumph in the Stanley Cup Final, the franchise’s second in a row, tearing down the Montreal Canadiens in a gentleman’s sweep while regularly outperforming his expectations.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.