2019 National League Cy Young Award Betting Odds & Picks

Date | AuthorAdam Burke

Last Updated: 2019-03-05

The National League Cy Young Award race looks pretty top-heavy in 2019. It will be interesting to see how the game’s top pitchers fare because there are four very good teams in the NL East and five quality teams in the NL Central. Does that give an inherent advantage to the NL West pitchers, where really only the Dodgers and Rockies stand out?

It really does help to have a lower quality of competition for putting together those elite numbers. On the other hand, the three lowest prices on the board all come from the NL East, which should make for a really fun and exciting race.

Before we look at the odds for this year’s award, let’s look at a few important things. The first is that a reliever has not won the award in either league since Eric Gagne in 2003. In the American League, the last reliever was Dennis Eckersley in 1992. As much as you may want it to happen, it won’t.

Strikeouts are essential. Control pitchers don’t win this award. Every NL Cy Young has had at least 219 strikeouts dating back to 2006. Brandon Webb won in 2006 and is the only starter since Tom Glavine in 1998 to win the award with less than 200 punchies. Over the last three years, the winner has had at least 268 strikeouts. Missing bats is imperative.

Last season, voters got it right and elected Jacob deGrom as the Cy Young winner. He only had 10 wins. The previous low this decade was 16 from Max Scherzer in 2017. Voters are increasingly less worried about pitcher wins and more worried about dominance in the strikeout and ERA departments.

Keep that in mind as you survey this list of NL Cy Young odds from Bookmaker Sportsbook as of March 5, 2019:

Max Scherzer +250
Jacob DeGrom +300
Aaron Nola +801
Clayton Kershaw +1960
Noah Syndergaard +1975
Kyle Freeland +2239
Walker Buehler +2458
Madison Bumgarner +3068
Patrick Corbin +3068
Zack Greinke +3068
Jack Flaherty +4507
Chris Archer +4667
German Marquez +5000
Jon Lester +5000
Jameson Taillon +5056
Miles Mikolas +6000
Zack Wheeler +6364
Jose Quintana +7000
Kyle Hendricks +7000
Mike Foltynewicz +7000
Robbie Ray +7000
Luis Castillo +7884
Cole Hamels +8000
Rich Hill +8000
Jake Arrieta +10000
Sean Newcomb +10000
Alex Wood +15000
Anthony DeSclafani +15000
Hyun-Jin Ryu +15000
Jhoulys Chacin +15000
Joe Musgrove +15000
Joey Lucchesi +15000
Jon Gray +20000
Julio Teheran +20000
Michael Wacha +20000
Nick Pivetta +20000
Sonny Gray +20000
Steven Matz +20000
Tyler Anderson +20000
Yu Darvish +20000
Zach Davies +20000
Zack Godley +20000
Andrew Suarez +20000
Carlos Martinez +20000
Jose Urena +20000
Kenta Maeda +20000
Robbie Erlin +25000
Tanner Roark +25000
Vince Velasquez +25000
Zach Eflin +25000
Josh Hader +30000
Kenley Jansen +30000
Kevin Gausman +30000

This list is so unnecessarily long. Over 85 percent of this list has no chance at the Cy Young Award for the reasons mentioned above. Strikeouts mean so much. It also requires good health. Most of these guys are either too big of an injury risk or have no chance at getting enough strikeouts to be in the discussion.

That being said, here are my top three picks, including two that I really love:

Walker Buehler (+2458) – I was worried that Walker Buehler’s playoff performance would extract all of the value from his Cy Young odds, but that isn’t the case. Buehler checks all of the boxes for me. In 137.1 innings, he struck out 151 batters. If you extrapolate his strikeout rate out to 200 innings, he’d come out at 220 strikeouts. Projection systems actually like him for an even higher strikeout rate this season than what he had last season.

I firmly agree, as his first-half K% of 25.3 percent jumped up to 29.9 percent in the second half of last season. He rode that momentum right on into the playoffs. Buehler had a 2.62 ERA and a 3.04 FIP with a 3.21 xFIP. With Clayton Kershaw already on the shelf and a bunch of injury candidates in the Dodgers rotation, Buehler shouldn’t have to share votes with his teammates.

Also, as mentioned above, the NL East and the NL Central are ultra competitive. Buehler made 23 starts last year and 11 came against division foes. A pitcher will generally make somewhere between 50 and 60 percent of his starts against division opponents. That will be a big help for Buehler to face the Giants and Diamondbacks a fair amount. Coors Field is really the only hurtful park in the division as well.

He’s my favorite bet and he’s going to win at least one Cy Young over the next three years in my opinion. This is probably the best price we’ll get in that span.

Jack Flaherty (+4507) – This is the other play that I love. Jack Flaherty checks all of the boxes as well. He’s going to be on a good team, so he’ll have the chance at some wins. Even though those aren’t the be-all, end-all these days, they’ll still help. Flaherty posted a 3.34 ERA with a 3.86 FIP and a 3.58 xFIP, but he had the strikeout rates that we need. Flaherty had a 28.2 percent K% in the first half and got even better in the second half with a 31.1 percent K% after the All-Star Break.

Overall, he wound up working 182.2 innings between Triple-A and the big leagues. He’ll open the season with the Cardinals, so we don’t have to worry about that. Flaherty projects out to 240 strikeouts if he can throw 200 innings this season.

Defense also matters for this award because it will help keep the run metrics down. Buehler has a strong defensive squad behind him with the Dodgers and the defense should be pretty good for the Cardinals as well.

He’s 45/1 because he’s still a little bit unproven and we need to see the innings total go up, but, like Buehler, this is the best price we’re going to get on him in the near future.

Noah Syndergaard (+1975) – Health is always the question for Noah Syndergaard. The stuff has never been questioned. One of Mickey Callaway’s best assets as a coach is that he seems to get the most out of elite-level starting pitching talent. Syndergaard fits that bill.

With Thor’s strikeout rate, 180 innings would probably be enough for him to be in the discussion by getting well over the 200-strikeout threshold. We know the run metrics will be good because he’s posted a career 2.93 ERA with a 2.66 FIP and a 2.91 xFIP in 518.1 innings of work. He also cut his home run rate back a good amount in 2016 and in 2018, so that should help as well.

Also, Syndergaard pitches in a top-five park for pitchers at Citi Field. Even though the NL East is totally stacked this season, Syndergaard is in a really good park for pitching and that should help his numbers. All three guys I’ve highlighted here pitch in parks that are average or better for pitchers. That really does matter in this equation.

It is hard for me to overlook the value at almost 20/1 on a guy whose raw stuff is probably top three in baseball. Health is the big question, but the Mets have changed their training staff and Callaway was a proponent of weighted balls and other training methods in Cleveland that should allow his pitchers to stay healthier as those things continue to take hold.

Purely on talent, Syndergaard is not a 20/1 pitcher. Hopefully he stays healthy.

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2019 MLB Betting Guide

MLB Power LinesView all

(965) TORONTO @ (966) NY YANKEES | 1:05 pm 9/21/2019

Play Line: TORONTO 276
BTB PowerLine: TORONTO +233

Edge On: TORONTO 43Bet Now
(951) ST LOUIS @ (952) CHICAGO CUBS | 2:20 pm 9/21/2019

Play Line: ST LOUIS 114
BTB PowerLine: ST LOUIS -114

Edge On: ST LOUIS 28Bet Now
(969) BOSTON @ (970) TAMPA BAY | 6:10 pm 9/21/2019

Play Line: BOSTON 196
BTB PowerLine: BOSTON +146

Edge On: BOSTON 50Bet Now