The long baseball offseason is nearly over, with pitchers and catchers beginning to report to spring training. With the focus already turned to the 2021 MLB betting season, odds to win the Cy Young award are back on the board.
We'll take a look at the NL Cy Young odds and AL Cy Young odds for the upcoming season, breaking down the favorites in each league, a couple of sharp bets and who has the best betting value.
Odds to win AL Cy Young award
|Player||Odds to win AL Cy Young award (as of February 20)|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
Favorite to win the AL Cy Young award
Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees (+350)
In his first season with the Yankees, after signing a record-setting nine-year, $324 million deal, Gerrit Cole lived up to the hype in New York. The ace went 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA, striking out 94 batters across 73 innings. While the Yankees would fall short of the World Series, Cole struck out 12 or more batters in three postseason appearances.
A three-time All-Star, Cole will be looking for his first Cy Young award in 2021 after finishing in the Top-5 in votes in each of the previous three years. On a stacked Yankees team, Cole is in a good position to push for the award.
Sharp bet to win the AL Cy Young award
Hyun Jin Ryu, Toronto Blue Jays (+1,300)
It didn't take long for Hyun Jin Ryu to take command of the pitcher's mound in Toronto after trading in his Dodgers digs for the Blue Jays. In Ryu's first season with Toronto, the ace went 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA, striking out 72 batters across 67 innings. His strikeouts per nine innings rose by nearly two, from 8.0 to 9.7, which was on par with his sparkling 2018 season.
With little else set behind him in the Jays' rotation, Ryu will be among the most valuable starters in the Majors this season. If he can again live up to those expectations, Top-3 finishes in Cy Young voting in 2019 and '20 could culminate in a win in 2021.
Best value bet to win the AL Cy Young award
Dallas Keuchel, Chicago White Sox (+2,200)
Like most World Series contenders, the White Sox boast talent beyond their ace in Lucas Giolito. Former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel is no slouch himself and could absolutely enter the mix a year after finishing fifth in Cy Young voting.
A 2020 season that saw Keuchel finish 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA was outstanding for the veteran, but just 42 strikeouts across 63.1 innings pitched put a cap on any real Cy Young consideration. If Chicago can meet expectations in 2021 and Keuchel can replicate his strong 2020, while upping his strikeout rate, he could be in the mix for the second honor of his career.
Odds to win NL Cy Young award
|Players||Odds to win NL Cy Young award (as of February 20)|
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
Favorite to win the NL Cy Young award
Jacob deGrom, New York Mets (+500)
Despite maintaining his dominant form, Mets ace Jacob deGrom was unable to capture his third consecutive Cy Young award in 2020. However, in going 4-2 in a shortened season, deGrom lowered his ERA from 2019, finishing at 2.38 while striking out 104 batters in 68 innings.
After finishing third in NL Cy Young voting last season, deGrom starts 2021 back atop the odds board. With the Mets expected to compete for October baseball and no drop off in sight for deGrom, he is a rightful favorite.
Sharp bet to win the NL Cy Young award
Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres (+1,000)
Following an excellent final season with the Cubs, in which Yu Darvish went 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA, the veteran finished second in Cy Young voting for the second time in his career. Now in San Diego with the Padres, Darvish will be a part of a stacked rotation that also features Dinelson Lamet and Blake Snell.
If Darvish can rise above Lamet and Snell to take hold of the lead role in San Diego's rotation, he would find himself in the thick of the Cy Young conversation. With a blossoming rivalry with the Dodgers and a blossoming superstar in Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres will be in the middle of the MLB universe in 2021. Darvish can stand to benefit from that.
Best value bet to win the NL Cy Young award
Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds (+3,300)
With Trevor Bauer leaving Cincinnati over the offseason, the Reds will look to Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray to step up even further. Gray is coming off of a solid season, finishing 5-3 with a 3.70 ERA, striking out 72 in 56 innings (good for a career-high strikeout rate of 30.6 percent). The righty's biggest challenge to emerge as a long shot Cy Young contender is Castillo, an excellent starter in his own right.
Replicating his elite strikeout numbers will be key to a Cy Young push for Gray in 2021, but if he can do so while taking hold of the Reds' rotation, we like him as a long shot contender.
Understanding Cy Young odds
Most sportsbooks will display odds in the American format as listed above. When Justin Verlander looked to have the AL Cy Young locked up last September, his odds had a minus (-) sign ahead of the number.
- Justin Verlander -300
That means that a bettor in September had to wager $300 to win $100 by betting on Verlander. 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.