There has been some major shuffling atop the betting sites for the National League Cy Young award, and it’s a guy who not long ago had odds of +20000 who’s currently the odds-on favorite to take home the honor.
Wouldn’t it be great to go back in a time machine and jump on his bandwagon back then?
San Diego lefty Blake Snell now stands atop the oddsboards at DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet, Caesars, and other sites followed by suddenly spectacular Chicago Cubs left-hander Justin Steele and overpowering Atlanta right-hander Spencer Strider.
In the meantime, former longtime betting favorite Zac Gallen of Arizona has had two straight poor starts and has tumbled hard to fourth on the charts and likely out of contention for the National League honor with only four weeks to play. Bettors are now treating him like he’s smothered in cooties.
Joining Gallen in the longshot category is three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Here’s a closer look at our NL Cy Young odds.
Odds to Win 2023 National League Cy Young
Betting Favorites to Win NL Cy Young in 2023
Blake Snell, LHP, Padres (-190 DraftKings)
Snell has had one of the most incredible midseason transformations in recent years after starting 1-6 with a 5.40 ERA through the first eight weeks of the season.
It was back then that he was listed at +20000 (FanDuel) before embarking on a 13-game stretch in late May that extended to the end of July, going 7-2 with an ERA of 0.73.
What followed in August were four starts in which he yielded a total of 10 earned runs and had a 3.91 ERA. But, boy, has he settled in again in his past two outings, which has prompted his zoom to the top of the oddsboards with his 12-9 record and MLB-best 2.50 ERA.
On Aug. 28, he gave up two hits in seven shutout innings in a victory against St. Louis. On Saturday, he worked six scoreless innings and yielded three hits in a win against San Francisco.
Although Snell’s Padres are unlikely to earn a postseason berth, three times over the previous five years the NL Cy Young honoree wasn’t on a playoff team. Just last year Miami’s Sandy Alcantara won the award while with the 69-93 Marlins.
Justin Steele, LHP, Cubs (+325 PointsBet)
Here’s another pitcher who used to be available for +20000 — during the offseason at FanDuel and BetMGM.
Now he’s 16-3, tied for the league high in wins, and has an ERA of 2.55, which is second only to Snell’s number. That’s a remarkable jump in production from his first two years in the league in 2021-22, when he was 8-11. Thus, it’s likely no one saw him coming this year.
His past two outings, both at cozy Wrigley Field, were even more impressive than what Snell just did. Steele also had two scoreless starts, working 14 innings against Milwaukee and San Francisco, including a career-high 12 strikeouts Monday against the Giants in eight innings.
In that game against San Francisco, it was reported that he was the first Cubs lefty since 1901 to work eight scoreless innings, yield two hits or fewer, and strike out at least 12 batters. Who looks up this stuff?
As mentioned in a previous analysis, if Steele can continue on his pace and become the MLB leader in wins (or at least tied) and also manage to have the majors’ best ERA, he likely would be a tempting voting choice to win the award since no player in the history of Cy Young that dates to 1956 failed to earn the honor heading both categories.
Spencer Strider, RHP, Braves (+550 FanDuel)
Strider (16-4), who’s tied with Steele for the most victories, also has the league’s best WHIP (1.05) and leads all starting pitchers with a rate of 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings. But his ERA of 3.56 is a blemish on his ledger.
A month ago, Strider had overtaken Gallen atop the oddsboards. But soon after came after a 7-6 loss to Pittsburgh when he gave up six earned runs and failed to get out of the third inning. His odds quickly lengthened to +850.
He then returned to his outstanding form with three straight seven-inning starts — all wins — before having another downer of a game last Thursday, giving up four earned runs to the Dodgers in six innings. But he won that game, too.
But it doesn’t take much for the odds to change after merely one crummy outing.
In the long run, his puffy ERA is likely to prove costly. It’s been 40 years since any pitcher in either league got the Cy Young with an earned-run mark as high as his is now.
Zac Gallen, RHP, Diamondbacks (+3000 DraftKings)
Two weeks ago, Gallen was the favorite to win the Cy Young at +175 (DraftKings). He was the face of the playoff-hopeful Arizona Diamondbacks.
But then, poof, a couple of awful performances have caused his odds to lengthen big time.
First came a start last Monday when he gave up a career-worst four homers and six earned runs in 5.1 innings in a loss to the Dodgers. Six days later, on Sunday, he lasted only 5.1 innings again and gave up five earned runs in a loss to Baltimore.
Overall, his stats don’t look bad, with a 14-7 record, but his ERA has skyrocketed from a pretty-good 3.11 to a just-OK 3.48 in his last two appearances.
But the way things are going this season, all it might take is a stellar outing or two to make him a Cy Young threat again — especially if the Diamondbacks continue their climb in the Wild Card race.
Gallen is indeed a longshot, but at these odds, he seems worth a small wager.
Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers (+8000 Multiple Sportsbooks)
The three-time winner of the award is running out of time to have the 162 innings of work that would qualify him for the ERA title after missing more than six weeks this summer with left shoulder soreness.
He’s 12-4, leads LA in wins, and his 2.48 ERA would be the best in the majors if he had the qualifying number of innings pitched.
But in his four starts since his return, he has gone no more than five innings. And with him having at least five days’ rest between starts, that means he’s got only five starts remaining to work the necessary 50 innings to get to 162. There’s no chance of that happening considering he’s not pitched more than seven innings in a game this year.