MLB Cy Young Odds 2021: A Narrow Race In Both Leagues

MLB Cy Young Odds

Back on July 8, the NL Cy Young was all but locked up. Jacob deGrom was putting together one of the best seasons ever seen by any pitcher.

Now, that award is up in the air. deGrom suffered a flurry of injuries, and his season has been declared all but over. As such, it’s opened the door for plenty of candidates and plenty of value.

Meanwhile, the AL Cy Young race has been an intriguing one all season. There’s a good chance a White Sox pitcher wins it, with Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon among the top four favorites. However, there’s no player that’s a lock, and there’s value to be found in that race as well.

With a little over a month left in the season, now’s a good time to make our last-minute futures bets before these award pictures become a much clearer picture. Let’s check out the odds for the AL and NL Cy Young races as it is quite different from the MVP race.

Cy Young Odds 2021

The Favorites for AL Cy Young

Lance Lynn : Lynn has put together a career year. Over the past two seasons, Lynn has begun to rely on a combination of fastballs that have been dominating pitchers. Lynn throws a four-seam, sinker, and cutter more than 90% of the time.

Well, his “fastballs only” strategy has worked. This season, Lynn paces the AL in ERA (2.20) and hits per nine innings (6.61). Perhaps more importantly, the White Sox have won seven of his last nine starts, and he looks ready for a deep playoff run.

Nobody really suspected Lynn would become the ace of the Chicago staff, as that title was supposed to belong to Lucas Giolito. However, I’m expecting Lynn on the mound for Game 1 of the ALDS in October.

However, I wouldn’t say that makes him a lock for this award. And, at -150, he’s probably not even worth a bet. 

Gerrit Cole : Cole was the season-long leader for this award, as well as the preseason favorite. However, a league-wide issue with “sticky substances” threw a wrench in his candidacy.

In June and July, Cole posted a 4.68 ERA in 10 starts, while the Yankees finished 4-6 in those starts. He immediately plummeted down the odds markets while the Yankees plummeted down the standings.

However, Cole and the Yankees have made a resurgence in August. Over his past two starts, Cole tossed 11 2/3 innings while allowing just one earned run and seven hits. The two starts got his ERA back below 3.00 and his WHIP back to a league-leading .972.

Cole is priced fairly here, and it should be a two-man race for the AL Cy Young award. However, there are probably better bets to be made down the odds list.

The Favorites for NL Cy Young

Walker Buehler : In a rotation that features Clayton Kershaw, featured Trevor Bauer, and now features Max Scherzer, who would’ve thought that Buehler would be the Dodgers Ace.

However, he’s earned that role, and maybe the Cy Young award at that.

Buehler paces the NL in ERA (2.11), WHIP (.907), and is third in pitching WAR (5.4). He’s also made an impressive 25 starts while ranking third in the NL in innings pitched (162 1/3) – good for over 6 1/3 innings per start.

Moreover, he’s posted an incredible 13-2 record while the Dodgers are 17-8 in games he’s started. However, that’s predictable when he’s allowed two runs or less in 20 of those 25 starts.

The Dodgers are on a tear, and Buehler has posted a 1.68 ERA since July started. I think Buehler is due for a huge final stretch and possibly a World Series run. As such, he might provide value at plus money, given he’s only going to improve.

Corbin Burnes : Before deGrom’s injury, the only guy that could touch deGrom’s expected statistics was Burnes. Now, Burnes stands alone in that category.

Burnes ranks second in MLB in xwOBA (.214) and xERA (1.94) this season – both statistics only trailing deGrom. Additionally, his high strikeout rate (12.18 K/9), low walk rate (1.76 BB/9), and super low home run rate (.34 HR/9) has produced a 1.66 FIP – a stat that leads all NL pitchers.

Due to his super-low expected statistics, Burnes paces the NL in FanGraphs pitching WAR (5.9). However, those numbers haven’t translated to the more results-based Baseball-Reference WAR, where he ranks eighth in the NL (4.6).

Burnes has pitched 45 1/3 innings over his last seven starts (6 1/3 per start), and the Brewers are 7-0 in those games. Burnes could potentially go on a tear and steal the Cy Young, but I’m not sold on that at +250 odds.

Top Value Picks

Wade Miley for NL Cy Young : Recently, Miley has surpassed Zack Wheeler as the NL Leader for pitching WAR this season (per Baseball-Reference).

He’s deserved it, as Miley has been on a tear. On May 14, Miley allowed eight earned runs in just three innings at Coors Field, but he’s posted a 2.55 ERA in the 16 starts since. Plus, he’s averaging over six innings per start in those outings, and the Reds have won 11 of those starts.

Miley has become the de-facto Ace during the Reds recent playoff push. He’ll have a couple more opportunities to get his ERA and WHIP close to the NL leaders, and if he pitches his team into the playoffs, the lefty provides great value at 100/1.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that given his pitch-to-contact strategy and absurdly low strikeout rates, Miley ranks just 13th among NL pitchers in FanGraphs WAR (2.9), which could certainly complicate his Cy Young candidacy.

Nathan Eovaldi for AL Cy Young : The problem with Eovaldi’s Cy Young case is his consistency, as he’s prone to blow up innings. However, he’s proven just how effective of a pitcher he can be and was been the biggest reason for the Red Sox pitching success through the first half of the season.

Eovaldi’s made a lot of high-quality starts, and as such, ranks near the top of the league in both FanGraphs’ WAR (4.4, first in AL) and Baseball Reference’s WAR (3.6, sixth in AL). Given his high strikeout rate (9.12 K/9), low walk rate (1.61), and super low home run rate (.68 HR/9), Eovaldi has the underlying statistics (2.52 FIP) to make a legitimate case for AL Cy Young.

Of course, Chris Sale’s return to the Red Sox rotation could complicate his case – how can Eovaldi win the Cy Young if he’s not even the best pitcher on his own team?

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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