This article was contributed by DraftKings. For more information on sports betting, see DraftKings.com.
Yet another week, another chance to talk about some potential candidates you can bet on to win the Cy Young Award. Our panel of 70 MLB.com experts have cast their votes for who they think will win the prestigious award in each league, and we’ll run through some of them below with DraftKings Sportsbook Cy Young odds.
Dylan Cesar, RHP, White Sox
First place votes: one
AL Cy Young odds: +800 (8-1)
One of my favorites to win the Cy Young Award in the American League didn’t even top the top five in getting votes and I’m okay with that. Cease currently has the fourth-best odds on DraftKings Sportsbook, behind Justin Verlander (5-1), Kevin Gausman (7-1) and Gerrit Cole (7-1). Sure they’re all worthy contenders, but I love what I’ve seen from the 26-year-old Cease. If anything, he has performed better than his numbers indicate, which is always a great sign. His 3.09 ERA is solid, but his xERA sits at 2.22 to go with a 2.59 FIP. Among starters with at least 40 innings pitched, Cease ranks second in both xERA and FIP. It has been extremely difficult to get any kind of production from the White Sox ace, allowing one run or fewer in five of his eight starts and just three home runs overall.
Then, of course, come the strikeouts. Cease currently has the best K/9 in the league at 13.8. That’s more than one more strikeout per inning than the Rays’ second-place Shane McClanahan (12.6). The two main reasons for his success have been his fastball and slider, two pitches he combines to throw 76% of the time. Opposing hitters aren’t hitting better than .182 against either pitch, while his slider generates a 41.4% takeoff rate.
At odds of 8-1 and with the numbers Cease is producing, he’s still my favorite AL pick to bet on.
The one with the most votes in the American League is also the favorite to win the award. Verlander, who underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2020, pitches like that never happened. Granted, his strikeouts are down and he’s currently averaging less than one strikeout per inning, but everything else is on point with him. We’re heading into June and Verlander is one of six starters with an ERA under 2.00 and is second at 1.38. He trails only Nestor Cortes, who has a 1.35 ERA in 40 innings.
The surprising aspect of Verlander’s comeback at 39 is that he hasn’t seen any dip in his speed. After averaging 94.6 mph on his fastball and 87.5 mph on his slider in his final full season in 2019, Verlander is hitting 94.6 and 87 on those two pitches, respectively. He has yet to allow more than three runs in a start and has gone without allowing a run three separate times in seven games. Some may point out that his schedule has been generous over the first two months, with four of his seven starts against teams currently under .500. That said, in those other three starts against the Twins, Blue Jays and Angels, Verlander pitched a combined 19 innings, allowing just four runs on eight hits and 17 strikeouts. If he continues this kind of streak and ups those strikeouts a bit, losing 5-1 might seem silly.
Pablo Lopez, RHP, Marlins
First place votes: 30
NL Cy Young odds: +1200 (12-1)
A rocky start from Lopez against the Nationals on Wednesday helped narrow his odds a bit, giving us 12-1 on DraftKings Sportsbook. It is essential to take advantage of these types of “gifts”, since López has been nothing but dominant otherwise. Throwing a ton of pitches early, Lopez came out of Wednesday’s opener recording just three innings and allowing three runs on four hits and just two strikeouts. As you can imagine, this was the shortest outing of the season, and the two Ks matched his season low, which he had against the Phillies on April 15. That said, there is a reason he is our top voter in the National League and the odds of him winning are extremely tempting.
We can see this in two different ways. First, the National League is full of potential Cy Young candidates. So for Lopez to win, he has a big field to beat. That being said, this also gives you higher odds of winning, which we can capitalize on. Current leader Max Scherzer (+425) underwent an MRI after leaving Wednesday’s start with side discomfort. The other players opposite Lopez, Corbin Burnes and Carlos Rodon, are coming off a rocky start. Walker Buehler, who is also 12-1, just hasn’t been on the same level as Lopez. This has me loving these odds for Lopez.
That poor start for the Nationals barely moved the needle on their already stellar numbers. He still boasts a phenomenal 1.56 ERA (2.65 x ERA) with 9.4 K/9, 2.2 B/9 and 0.4 HR/9. Lopez has also been generating a ton of swings and misses at a rate of 13.7%. If the season ended today, it would be the best of his career, as he returned in the abbreviated 2020 season when he was at 12.1%. His next two upcoming starts should also help increase that number, as he’s on his way to facing the Braves and Rays. Both teams are among the most strikeout-prone teams in the league against right-handers, with the Braves leading the league in K% at 26.4% and the Rays 13th at 23.4%. If Lopez continues to dominate him in both starts, I wouldn’t be surprised if his odds drop to single digits. He takes advantage of this discount while you can.
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