Cy Young Odds: Ray, Scherzer Top Board in Final Week

The National League Cy Young odds race is wide open and is headlined by betting favorite Max Scherzer, who soared past teammate Walker Buehler. In the AL, Gerrit Cole and Robbie Ray are in a tight battle and have the best American League Cy Young odds.

Last Updated: Jun 3, 2021 5:16 PM ET Read Time: 7 min
Robbie Ray Toronto Blue Jays MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Cy Young odds race has settled down to only a few names in each league as we enter the final week of the season.

A dominant final start, or two, could alter the MLB Cy Young odds board before we reach the postseason, but for now it's Robbie Ray and Max Scherzer who are out in front.

Let's take a look at the National League Cy Young odds and American League Cy Young odds. We'll go through the deep fields and see who has the best value as we break down the pitchers with the best odds to win the Cy Young.  

Odds to win AL Cy Young award

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Compare MLB odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Favorite to win the AL Cy Young award

Robbie Ray, Toronto Blue Jays (-280)

The talent has always been there for Ray but he's been maddeningly inconsistent throughout his career, based largely on control issues. At least for this season, you can throw that out the window, as Ray, who is lined up to make one more start, is the AL Cy Young betting favorite at -200 odds thanks to a dominant campaign.

Ray has corrected his wildness this season and, as a result, has been one of the best starters in the game. The Jays' strikeout leads the AL in a number of significant pitching categories, including ERA (2.68), WHIP (1.04), and innings pitched, while ranking second in opponents' batting average to go along with an MLB-best 244 strikeouts. The hard-throwing lefty has a career-low walk rate and career-best WAR as he looks to complete an improbable run to his first Cy Young award.

Ray has struggled with the long ball but he has massive swing-and-miss stuff and has recorded double-digit strikeouts 10 times this season, including tying a career-high mark with 14 Ks against the White Sox in a late August start. Ray has allowed three runs or fewer in all but three of his 31 starts.

It's a testament to how incredible Ray has been that he opened at +10,000, and as recent as last month could be found at +1,200 before entering the last week of the season as the favorite. The race isn't over yet, but Ray is officially in the driver's seat.

Sharp bet to win the AL Cy Young award

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees (+150)

Cole was the odds-on favorite nearly all season before a trip to the COVID-IL bumped him out of the top spot and put Lance Lynn on top of the board. New York's ace briefly took that lead back but he's been looking up to Ray since his worst start of the season on September 19 when he got tagged for a season-high 10 hits while allowing seven runs in a loss to Cleveland.

Cole will get one more start this season in a pivotal matchup against the Blue Jays that has massive playoff implications. The day after he goes, Ray will pitch in the series finale. Those two starts could go a long way in deciding who comes out of this battle on top.

The right-hander is No. 2 to Ray in nearly every meaningful category while ranking first in the AL in strikeout percentage and tied for first in FanGraphs' WAR and FIP (with Nathan Eovaldi). 

Cole could easily be back on top by the end of the week with a strong start coupled with a Ray blunder. This should be a tight vote.

Best value bet to win the AL Cy Young award

Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox (+3,000)

Lynn was at one point the odds-on favorite and has remained near the top of the board for the majority of the season, but no pitcher in the AL, outside of Ray and Cole, has a chance at winning this award.

Lynn has had a smaller workload due to multiple stints on the IL, but any other AL arm with comparable numbers, such as teammate Carlos Rodon or Ohtani, has logged even fewer innings, turning this into a two-horse race. The big righty has largely been nasty when healthy, though.

Among pitchers who have thrown at least 140 innings, he's Top 10 in the majors in ERA and opponents' batting average. He's also striking out batters at the second-best rate of his career.

Odds to win NL Cy Young award

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Compare MLB odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Favorite to win the NL Cy Young award

Max Scherzer Los Angeles Dodgers (-165)

Move over, Walker Buehler. There's a new sheriff in town. There's at least a new ace of the staff who continues to lead the NL Cy Young odds race. That would be 37-year-old Max Scherzer.

The -165 favorite in the NL has been nearly unhittable since joining the Dodgers — not to say the All-Star Game starter wasn't nasty with the Nationals before the trade. But in his first nine starts with Los Angeles, Scherzer put up a 0.78 ERA with 79 strikeouts and seven walks over 58 innings, and held batters to an absurd .186 on-base clip against him. 

Though he got hit hard in his last start (five runs allowed on six hits in Coors Field), the three-time Cy Young winner leads all qualified MLB starters in ERA (2.28), WHIP (0.83), and opponents' batting average (.175).

He was still at +1,500 odds a few weeks ago when we said he had the best value among NL pitchers, but that ship has long sailed. Scherzer has cemented himself as the favorite and isn't likely to be had at plus money again. 

Sharp bet to win the NL Cy Young award

Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers (+135)

The big thing working against Scherzer is that his teammate, Buehler, has been the favorite for a long stretch and the two of them could ultimately end up canceling each other out. Or at least split enough votes that it opens up an opportunity for a non-Dodger to win the award. 

Enter Corbin Burnes, who let it be known early this season that he was a force to be reckoned with when he set an MLB record by recording 58 strikeouts before issuing his first walk. He has continued to be one of the game's top pitchers and combined with closer Josh Hader for a no-hitter while striking out 14 batters earlier in September. It came five starts after he threw eight scoreless and fanned a career-high 15 batters. Two starts ago he fanned 11, then followed it up with nine, and he leads the majors in strikeout percentage.

He has a 1.98 ERA since the beginning of August, easily leads all pitchers with a ridiculous 1.56 FIP, is No. 1 in WAR, and his 12.55 K/9 rate is tops among starters. Burnes is also second to Scherzer in WHIP (0.93) and ERA (2.29). 

Best value bet to win the NL Cy Young award

Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies (+5,000)

There are a few intriguing choices after the Top 3 of Scherzer, Burnes, and Buehler (+2,500), including Phillies righty Zack Wheeler.

Wheeler has hovered near the top all season and has been stellar outside of a rough August. He is second to Burnes among MLB pitchers in both WAR and FIP (2.61), Top 6 in both WHIP and ERA, and 10th in strikeout rate. He's having a dominant season that's been slept on as a result of some great counterparts in the NL.

And he's ending the season on a high note. Wheeler has a 1.14 ERA over four September starts, punching out 32 while walking five batters and allowing three runs. Don't overlook the hard-throwing Phillies righty, especially not at value this good this late in the season.

Understanding Cy Young odds

Most sportsbooks will display odds in the American format as listed above. When Shane Bieber looked to have the AL Cy Young locked up last September, his odds had a minus (-) sign ahead of the number. 

  • Shane Bieber -300

That means that a bettor in September had to wager $300 to win $100 by betting on Bieber. Before this year's race even began, every candidate had a (+) sign in front of their number.

  • Gerrit Cole +325

With Cole's current odds, a bettor stands to profit $325 for every $100 wagered on him. 

If American odds aren't your thing, simply use a tool like our odds converter to switch the odds to decimal or fractional format. Most online sportsbooks also give you the option to change the odds format that you see.

How to bet futures odds

Futures betting is different than betting on an individual game because you need to consider the long haul as opposed to a single event. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when betting futures odds.  

Change your strategy at different points in the season

While some futures bets must be placed before the season begins and are then removed off the board (such as team win totals), other wagers will change odds as the season goes on.

If you are wagering money on a futures bet with changing odds keep in mind that there is less variance at the beginning of the season (when more players and teams are still in contention) and more variance as the season goes on (when teams and players at the top separate themselves from those at the bottom). 

In the preseason and beginning of the season, betting on dark horses can prove very profitable. But as the season continues, expect to see odds tighten around the favorites. At that point it becomes wise to focus on the players near the top of the odds board and betting big underdogs is practically like giving your money away.

Look for value with underdogs

While the bigger names tend to be strong favorites, there are also live long shots that can provide tremendous value. Look at younger players on the verge of breaking out, or guys that have already been playing at a high level but could take the next step now that they are in an ideal situation with a new team, coach or system. 

Other players that can give a great payout are established stars coming off under-performing years due to injuries or other factors. If you're lucky you might be able to catch them in a bounce-back year.  

Follow the narrative

When placing futures bets on individual awards, keep in mind that voters, not a scoreboard are often the deciding factor. Voters can be influenced by a variety of factors, including media coverage and public opinion. Consider what the media narrative is for a particular season and which players they seem to be rooting for and against. 

For example, in LeBron James' first season in Miami he was viewed as a villain or heel by the media, and Derrick Rose - who ended up winning MVP - was the perfect foil for that. When Ron Dayne won the Heisman trophy back in 1999 it was viewed by many as a well-deserved reward for his entire career at Wisconsin.  

Research historical trends

Historical trends, especially recent ones, can give you a good idea of which way voters tend to lean. 

The NBA MVP, for example, almost always goes to a player on an elite regular-season team. While the Heisman trophy is almost exclusively given to a quarterback or running back - and over the last couple of decades has been overwhelmingly handed out to QBs. 

Identifying those trends is a good way to separate the true contenders from the pretenders.

Where can I bet on AL and NL Cy Young award odds?

Almost every online sportsbook and casino will provide MLB Cy Young Award futures odds. Check out the best sportsbooks available where you live and see what MLB betting odds they currently have available.

Popular Content

Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo