After an unusual 2020 campaign, baseball is back to relative normalcy in 2021. Granted, COVID-19 and its related restrictions still have a presence – meaning there’s still a chance for players to miss some time as a result of the virus.
That said, a lot of unknowns have been eliminated compared to last season, and MLB futures wagering on end-of-season honors such as the Cy Young Award once again mostly involve weighing the risks one normally would have pre-2020.
The page below looks at the updated Cy Young odds at sportsbooks and highlights some of the favorites and potential darkhorse candidates.
MLB Cy Young odds
Best Cy Young betting site(s)
Cy Young Futures Report: AL (May 10)
Gerrit Cole, Yankees (): Cole is cruising and has unsurprisingly seen his Cy Young odds get doubly shorter since we last checked in late April. All the right-hander has done in the subsequent three starts is pitch to a 1.35 ERA, 0.60 WHIP and 12.2 K/9 over 20 innings while adding another two wins to his resume. With no signs of a drop-off anywhere on the horizon and the Yanks’ offense starting to heat up, Cole remains a clear odds-on favorite.
Shane Bieber, Indians (): Bieber holds stead as a relatively distant second, and despite still putting together quality performances, he’s been a bit more hittable than usual recently. The right-hander has actually generated a quality start in all seven trips to the mound this season, but he’s given up 26 hits – including four home runs – over those four turns while pitching to a 3.67 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. The latter two numbers would be the envy of many pitchers, but going by Bieber’s standards, they could be a sign hitters are catching up with him just a tad.
Tyler Glasnow, (): Glasnow continues to prove his strong start was no fluke, as he’s generated a 2.89 ERA and 2-1 record since his worst outing of the season against the Blue Jays on April 23, when he allowed five earned runs over six innings. Glasnow still recorded 10 punchouts in that start, and his career-high 39.5 percent strikeout rate on the season offers a reminder of his ability to dominate in any matchup and continue shining his current 4-2 mark.
Notable Long shots
John Means, Orioles (): Means is the meteoric riser of the last few weeks, with his 12-strikeout no-hitter against the Mariners on May 5 the pinnacle of his season thus far. The left-hander is far from a one-hit wonder, however, as he boasts a 4-0 record, 1.37 ERA and 0.67 WHIP despite playing on a mediocre Orioles team. Means has given up two runs or fewer in all but one start and has the talent to continue climbing the ranks as the clear-cut ace of his team’s staff.
Lance Lynn, White Sox (): Lynn’s presence is no surprise, and he’d arguably have somewhat shorter odds had he not recently logged a 10-day injured list stint that cost him a couple starts. The veteran right-hander has come back strong with a pair of five-inning outings, and his 3-1 mark, 1.52 ERA and 0.98 WHIP are certainly of the caliber to keep him in the second tier of contenders. The fact he has the potent White Sox bats to prop him up certainly doesn’t hurt his chances, either.
Hyun Jin Ryu, Blue Jays (): Hyun Jin Ryu is scuffling a bit at the moment, as his 3.31 ERA is high by his lofty standards. The veteran southpaw hasn’t recorded a figure higher than 2.69 in any season since 2017, but a recent hip injury that required an IL stint might be partly responsible for his troubles. Ru allowed four earned runs over five innings to the Athletics in his return Thursday, his second time allowing as many as four runs in a start thus far this season.
Cy Young Futures Report: NL (May 10)
Jacob deGrom, (): The lack of run support for deGrom has been a running theme all season, but he’s currently got bigger problems in the form of an injured list designation due to a lat issue. The injury caused deGrom’s early exit Sunday against the Diamondbacks, in a game that his offense ironically offered four runs of support. It was enough to get deGrom his third win, and in a testament to his immense talent, he allowed just a single hit and struck out six over five frames in the game despite dealing with an issue that undoubtedly caused him discomfort each time he threw. The fact he’s also now at minus money underscores how much separation he’s starting to create despite some very talented contenders.
Corbin Burnes, Brewers (): Burnes’ odds got a bit longer over the last several weeks, but it’s simply a combination of deGrom’s continued success and the fact Burnes has proven to be human after all. After nearly perfect form through his first four starts, the right-hander was surprisingly hit around by the Marlins on April 26 and then went on the COVID-19 injured list shortly thereafter. Latest reports have him ramping back up to return sometime around May 15, when he’ll look to improve on his absurd 49:0 K:BB.
Trevor Bauer, Dodgers (): Bauer certainly isn’t disappointing in his first year in Dodger Blue, and he’d have a much smaller number next to his name were deGrom and Burnes not having the type of seasons they’re enjoying. Bauer has quality starts in six of his last seven trips to the mound and has allowed more than two earned runs only once, his first start of the season at Coors. The 2.50 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 34.7 percent strikeout rate are all Cy Young-worthy numbers in most years, so it will be interesting to see how the coming weeks unfold for this top trio of arms.
Notable Long shots
Aaron Nola, Phillies (): Nola is a bit of a forgotten man due to the dominance of the top three, but the highly reliable right-hander is doing it again with a 3 -2 mark, 3.59 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over his first eight starts. He’s been much more hittable than any of the pitchers at the top level, however, giving up five earned runs in his last start against the Braves on Sunday and yielding four earned runs in another start. Nola does have a good offense backing him up as well, but whether he can ever get some of his other numbers a shiny as the frontrunners is in doubt.
Walker Buehler, Dodgers (): Buehler is a recent riser in the ranks, as he’s recorded five quality starts in six trips to the mound and boasts a career-high 13.2 percent swinging-strike rate. Buehler has a diversified arsenal that includes up to five pitches and certainly should be lined up for plenty of run support each time he toes the rubber. However, he’s not a swing-and-miss guy on the level of a deGrom, Burns or Bauer, which could eventually serve as a detriment at season’s end in the eyes of voters.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (): Kershaw has a solid 5-3 mark, 2.62 ERA and 0.99 WHIP over eight starts, but it’s still fair to say his season has had a bit of a rollercoaster quality to it thus far. First came the rough outing at Coors Field on Opening Day, and two starts ago, he experienced the shortest outing of his career when he was chased by the Cubs at Wrigley after one inning. Otherwise, Kershaw has mostly been stellar, generating four scoreless starts already – three of them at least six innings in length – and going back to doing an excellent job keeping the ball in the park (0.6 HR/9) after allowing 1.4 and 1.2 HR/9s the last two seasons.
How to bet on the Cy Young
Placing an MLB futures bet on the AL or NL Cy Young award is all about mixing risk with reward. Your bet of choice will need to stay healthy and approach both 30 starts and 200 innings in a normal 162-game season. This is made more complicated by needing to target pitchers likely to rack up more than 200 strikeouts.
Preseason odds are assigned based on past pitcher and team success, and they’ll be regularly updated throughout the season based on current performance, as well as the public’s betting action. The favorites, as seen above, generally are the aces of teams expected to get to the MLB Playoffs. Getting top value means bettors need to correctly predict who’ll be the best pitcher on the team that will best exceed their expectations.
As mentioned earlier, many teams are stocked with two or even three “aces” in their starting five. This means that come voting season these pitchers will be sharing, or splitting, votes among themselves. It’s wise to target the more proven commodities on these teams, as they’re viewed as the de facto No. 1 option by those who aren’t true fans of the team.
The odds are best before the season, and they’ll become less and less profitable as the favorites emerge mid-way through the season. Bieber, who won last season’s AL Cy Young Award, opened with +330 odds at FanDuel for this season. This would return a profit of $330 on a $100 bet if he were to go back-to-back.
Where can I bet on the Cy Young Award?
To access these odds, head to the primary MLB/Baseball tab at your online book of choice. From there, select Futures from a drop-down menu and proceed to Player Futures or Awards. The American and National League Cy Young contenders will be displayed on separate lists or charts. The betting options will include all pitchers (starters and relievers) the books view as viable Cy Young candidates. Emerging contenders will be added throughout the year and injured or struggling pitchers may be dropped from the options.
How the Cy Young Award is decided
As discussed above, players from the same team often need to split votes. This is because the Cy Young voters from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America are chosen from each MLB city. The local BBWAA chapter chairman of each city recommends two beat writers from daily newspapers, magazines or select websites. Writers from National League cities then vote for the NL Cy Young award and writers from American League cities vote for the AL Cy Young award.
Each writer is able to submit a ballot of five players for the Cy Young award. These ballots must be submitted prior to the start of the postseason and votes are then tallied based on a points system. A first-place vote is worth 7 points. Second-place is 4 points, third is 3 points, fourth is 2 points and a fifth-place vote is worth a single point.
Unlike with the MVP awards being open to the writer/voter’s interpretation of what Most Valuable Player may mean, the Cy Young simply goes to the best pitcher from either league. To be regarded as a top contender, pitchers must remain relatively healthy all season, and reach the desired statistical milestones of each voter.
The most hotly-debated issue when it comes to who’s worth a vote is “pitcher wins”. Some writers will discredit a hurler for finishing with a win-loss record below .500, or at least below another comparable pitcher. Others base their vote(s) purely on more individual pitcher statistics such as ERA, xFIP, and strikeout and walk rates.
Cy Young betting history: recent winners
|Year||AL Winner||Odds||NL Winner||Odds|
|2020||Shane Bieber (CLE)||+1200||Trevor Bauer (CIN)||+2000|
|2019||Justin Verlander (HOU)||+1500||Jacob deGrom (NYM)||+350|
|2018||Blake Snell (TB)||+10000||Jacob deGrom (NYM)||+2500|
|2017||Corey Kluber (CLE)||+4000||Max Scherzer (WAS)||+350|
|2016||Rick Porcello (BOS)||+20000||Max Scherzer (WAS)||+10000|
|2015||Dallas Keuchel (HOU)||+15000||Jake Arrieta (CHC)||+4000|
|2014||Corey Kluber (CLE)||N/A||Clayton Kershaw (LAD)||+500|
|2013||Max Scherzer (DET)||+2000||Clayton Kershaw (LAD)||+600|
|2012||David Price (TB)||+700||R.A. Dickey (NYM)||N/A|
|2011||Justin Verlander (DET)||+1000||Clayton Kershaw (LAD)||+1500|
|2010||Felix Hernandez (SEA)||+500||Roy Halladay (PHI)||+250|