Cy Young Betting Odds: Four Aces Make Final Pitch For Hardware

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The AL and NL Cy Young betting odds include two realistic candidates apiece, which speaks to the foursome’s wire-to-wire dominance in 2021.

As we tick down the final days of the Major League Baseball regular season, Props.com analyzes the Cy Young betting odds of Robbie Ray, Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, and Corbin Burnes.

Betting odds are courtesy of DraftKings and FanDuel, updated as of 10 a.m. ET on Sept. 30.

American League

Robbie Ray, Blue Jays

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DraftKings: -600
FanDuel: -600

Year-to-date stats: 13-6, 2.68 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 244/49 K-BB, .204 opponents’ batting average

Ray has come a long way since being the proverbial throw-in to a 2014 three-way trade involving the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Sure, Ray enjoyed a solid season with the Diamondbacks in 2017, racking up 15 wins, a 2.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and a 12.1 K/9 rate. But no one could have predicted the across-the-board dominance of the 2021 campaign—a year in which the displaced Blue Jays franchise played home games in Dunedin, Fla., Buffalo, and finally, Toronto.

Given the 2020 MLB season’s brevity, there weren’t many preseason expectations of 2021 starters logging 250 innings and 300-plus strikeouts. As such, Ray capitalized on diminished expectations, amassing top-three honors (to date) in nearly every vital individual category.

The high-end rankings include first overall in ERA, starts (31), innings (188.0), strikeouts, and WHIP. Ray is also second in opponents’ batting average, trailing only the Astros’ Lance McCullers, and he’s tied for third in victories.

Put it all together, and it’s easy to see why Ray is the overwhelming favorite to capture his first Cy Young award.

Gerrit Cole, Yankees

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DraftKings: +450
FanDuel:
+500
Year-to-date stats: 16-8, 3.23 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 243/41 K-BB, .223 opponents’ batting average

Among American League pitchers, Cole rates first overall in wins, second overall in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. He also ranks third in opponent batting average, and fifth in innings pitched (175.1 through Sept. 28).

That’s the good news.

On the downside, Cole trails Ray in the cumulative counts for ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, and opponent batting average.

Cole’s best cluster of 2021 starts was April to mid-May. In that eight-game stretch, the electric numbers included five wins, a 1.37 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, .194 opponents’ batting average, and an absurdly good strikeout-to-walk rate of 78/3.

After that, however, Cole endured periods of mere mortality, surrendering five or more earned runs six times, and notching double-digit strikeouts on only four other occasions.

Cole has been strong down the stretch, with a 6-2 record and one no-decision over his last nine starts, along with a 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 61/13 K-BB rate, and opponents’ on-base percentage of .294.

Rock-solid tallies, but not worthy of the Cy Young hardware. Notably, Cole’s 2019 campaign with the Houston Astros (20-5, 2.50 ERA, 13.8 K/9, 0.90 WHIP, 326/48 K-BB) would have easily toppled the 2021 versions of Cole and Ray for Cy Young glory.

National League

Corbin Burnes, Brewers

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DraftKings: -175
FanDuel:
-175
Year-to-date stats: 11-4, 2.29 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 230/33 K-BB, .200 opponents’ batting average

It’s scary to think what Burnes could accomplish down the road when given the green light for 230-plus innings. In the span of merely 165 innings this season (18th among NL hurlers), the Brewers dynamo still ranks second overall in ERA, second in WHIP, third in strikeouts, and third in opponents’ batting average.

What’s more, Burnes currently leads NL pitchers in the advanced category of ERA+ (185), and his elite-level K/9 innings rate of 12.5 actually runs less than the previous two seasons (12.9 in 2019, 13.3 in 2020).

Things certainly started well for the right-hander this season. Although Burnes emerged with just a 2-2 record in his first five starts, he posted a 1.53 ERA and a mind-blowing strikeout-to-walk rate of 49/0.

Bottom line: If Scherzer went to an AL team at the July trade deadline, Burnes likely would have been a shoo-in for NL Cy Young. There’s still a great chance he’ll win the award.

Max Scherzer, Dodgers

Image Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

DraftKings: +150
FanDuel: +
160
Year-to-date stats: 15-4, 2.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 236/36 K-BB, .184 opponents’ batting average

Scherzer’s decorated career includes 190 wins, 3,000-plus strikeouts, one world championship, two 20-win seasons, and three Cy Young awards (one AL with Detroit, two NL with Washington).

And yet, the perfection-driven Scherzer has taken a bulldog approach to his latest bid for Cy Young honors, enjoying superb stats with the Nationals from April to July (8-4, 2.76 ERA, 147/28 K-BB), before taking things to a new stratosphere with the Dodgers over the last two months — 7-0, 1.43 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, and 85/8 K-BB rate.

Prior to his last two starts, Scherzer seemed a lock for an invitation to the Four-Timers Club of Cy Young winners. (In case you’re wondering, the other members are Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Steve Carlton.) But giving up 11 runs (10 earned) over 10 1/3 innings quickly shifted the landscape.

Among NL pitchers, Scherzer currently ranks first in WHIP and opponent batting average. He’s second in ERA and strikeouts while ranking tied for third in wins.

Not bad for a pitcher ranked just 15th in innings pitched.