2020 MLB Cy Young Award Odds

Major League Baseball is set to return on Thursday, July 23rd, with the opening game to be played by two World Series favorites, the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals. Baseball fans were uncertain when or if they would get a season this year. But all systems go for summer baseball in 2020.

As our Head Trader, John Todora, just recently wrote on his column:

”The one thing I also know is that greed is the motivator of all men, which means a deal will get done, and I think it will get done soon. It will simply come down to this: Do the players want to make money this year or not? Because I can’t see the owners going forward with a plan that does not include a significant pay reduction of some kind.”

While preparing for the season, we like to look at all of the available futures markets and find out if there are interesting investment cases to take advantage of. This time around, we’ll look at the Cy Young award odds for the 2020 MLB season.

AL Cy Young award odds

Here’s what the odds for the top 10 candidates from the American League looked like on the 11th of June (via DraftKings):

Winner

Odds

Gerrit Cole

+275

Justin Verlander

+700

Blake Snell

+900

Mike Clevinger

+1000

Shane Bieber

+1200

Charlie Morton

+1200

Tyler Glasnow

+1200

Jose Berrios

+1400

Carlos Carrasco

+2200

Corey Kluber

+2200

The new Yankees ace, Gerrit Cole, is the clear favorite here to take the trophy home in 2020. Last year, he finished just below his teammate Justin Verlander in Cy Young voting, posting a 20-5 record and a 2.50 ERA. 

Verlander himself looks like a decent value at +700. He will be getting even more credit for Houston’s success this year due to not having to share the limelight with Cole, but how will the Astros look like after a rocky offseason and all the pressure that’s on them after getting caught for stealing signs? 

At third on the list, Blake Snell won the award in 2018. There’s definitely value in “been there, done that”, but he has to fight with two other Rays for the attention in Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow.

NL Cy Young award odds

Here’s what the odds for the top 10 candidates from the National League looked like on the 11th of June (via DraftKings):

Winner

Odds

Jacob deGrom

+350

Max Scherzer

+400

Walker Buehler

+800

Jack Flaherty

+800

Stephen Strasburg

+1200

Clayton Kershaw

+1500

Luis Castillo

+1800

Yu Darvish

+2000

Patrick Corbin

+2200

Trevor Bauer

+2200

Jacob deGrom won the trophy in 2019 and 2018. Before him, Max Scherzer did it twice in a row in 2017 and 2016. The last time someone won the award in three consecutive years? Randy Johnson from 1999-2002.

deGrom should have more support from his staff this season with the Mets, while Scherzer is heading into the season as the ace of the World Series winning Nationals.

Walker Buehler and Jack Flaherty are tied as the third most likely candidate for the NL trophy this season. The 25-year-old Buehler is ranked as the likeliest LA Dodger for the trophy, competing with his teammates and former Cy Young award winners Clayton Kershaw and David Price. Flaherty, on the other hand, is the clear number one star pitcher of the Cardinals. He finished fourth in Cy Young voting last year.

Past winners and historical factors

To cap things off, let’s look at the Cy Young award winners from the past ten seasons, including the odds they were getting before the start of the season:

Year

AL Winner

Odds

NL Winner

Odds

2019

Justin Verlander (HOU)

+1500

Jacob deGrom (NYM)

+350

2018

Blake Snell (TB)

+10000

Jacob deGrom (NYM)

+2500

2017

Corey Kluber (CLE)

+4000

Max Scherzer (WAS)

+350

2016

Rick Porcello (BOS)

+20000

Max Scherzer (WAS)

+10000

2015

Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

+15000

Jake Arrieta (CHC)

+4000

2014

Corey Kluber (CLE)

N/A

Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

+500

2013

Max Scherzer (DET)

+2000

Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

+600

2012

David Price (TB)

+700

R.A. Dickey (NYM)

N/A

2011

Justin Verlander (DET)

+1000

Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

+1500

2010

Felix Hernandez (SEA)

+500

Roy Halladay (PHI)

+250

One key takeaway from this table should be that it’s really hard to predict the Cy Young award winner, even under normal circumstances. Eleven out of the twenty winners on this list were getting more than +1000 before the campaigns started! That means that the bookmakers haven’t been very accurate in their assessments. 

In recent years, the indicators for who will win the trophy have started slowly trending away from traditional counting stats and more towards sabermetrics. Instead of just looking at projected total wins, strikeouts, or ERA, one should take into account WAR, FIP and K/9 in their analysis. 

It looks like the season will be extremely short this year, so historical patterns might not hold that much value in 2020. Will the shorter season be advantageous for the favorites or for the long shots? 

It’s impossible to say really, so our advice is this: Take extra care when you’re assessing the viability of futures investments for the upcoming season, and don’t make an investment if you can’t make a solid case for it.

And if you do, diversify your investments. For an example of how to do that, have a look at our recent MLB MVP investment article.

To prepare for the return of sports and to learn everything you need to know about smart investing in the sports betting market, check out our head trader John Todora’s new book – “Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret”. It’s currently on sale for a limited time, so go get yours now!

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