Who Do Oddsmakers Like to Win the Cy Young Award?

We’re still weeks away from the All-Star game, but that hasn’t stopped bookmakers from speculating on some of the end of the year honors. Recently, Bovada released their Cy Young odds and the leaders are not likely to surprise you. However, bettors will notice a stark difference in the frontrunners’ profitability.

In the National League, R.A. Dickey has been one of the season’s most incredible stories. The 37-year old knuckleballer had played on four different teams in his ten-year career and entered the season with a career ERA north of four. Needless to say, expectations weren’t high for the career journeyman. All Dickey has done is post a MLB-leading 2.00 ERA — including five consecutive starts of at least seven innings pitched and zero earned runs. This unlikely success story has made Dickey a fan-favorite and far-and-away the most profitable pitcher to bet on. If a bettor had placed $100 on each of Dickey’s 14 starts, they would have earned $1,120 — good for an 80% return on investment (ROI).

Pitcher 2012 Stats Cy Young Odds 2012 Units Earned
R.A. Dickey (NYM) 11-1, 2.00 ERA, 103 K 3/2 +11.20
Matt Cain (SF) 9-2, 2.34 ERA, 100 K 8/5 +6.10
Stephen Strasburg (WAS) 8-1, 2.45 ERA, 100 K 3/1 +5.90
Cole Hamels (PHI) 10-3, 3.25 ERA, 99 K 7/1 +4.80
Lance Lynn (STL) 10-3, 2.80 ERA, 90 K 10/1 +3.50

As for the American League? That’s an entirely different story. Justin Verlander, who earned both the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards last season, has once again been phenomenal with a 2.57 ERA (which ranks him fourth in the league) and an MLB-best 106 punch-out’s.

Unfortunately, both bettors and bookmakers alike have been long aware of Verlander’s filthy stuff, which has led to highly lop-sided lines. Combine his short odds with a less than stellar team record (9-6) and it becomes clear why Verlander backers would be in the red if they bet every game the powerful righty pitched.

Pitcher 2012 Stats Cy Young Odds 2012 Units Earned
Justin Verlander (DET) 7-4, 2.57 ERA, 106 K 9/4 -0.8
C.C. Sabathia (NYY) 9-3, 3.55 ERA, 102 K 3/1 +2.40
David Price (TB) 9-4, 3.08 ERA, 82 K 5/1 +2.80
Chris Sale (CWS) 8-2, 2.46 ERA, 82 K 11/2 +2.70
Yu Darvish (TEX) 8-4, 3.57 ERA, 88 K 6/1 +1.40
Matt Harrison (TEX) 9-3, 3.41 ERA, 55 K 13/2 +3.00
Fernando Rodney (TB) 20 SV, 1.10 ERA, 31 K 12/1 N/A

Quite frankly, none of these odds seem particularly appealing, but some of them are definitely fascinating. Stephen Strasburg has lived up to his hype and then some, however, the Nationals have stated that the young phenom will be held to a strict innings limit making his 3/1 odds seem like a wasted bet.

It’s also intriguing to see a closer on the list in the person of Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney. The hard-throwing Dominican has not posted a sub-4 ERA since the 2006 season, but has somehow managed a Gagne-esque 1.10 ERA through 32.2 innings this season. Rodney’s 20 saves are tied for second in the AL (behind the Indians’ Chris Perez), but he wasn’t even supposed to be the team’s closer entering the season! Kyle Farnsworth posted a career year in 2011 with a 2.18 ERA and 25 saves, but an elbow injury has prevented the veteran reliever from making a single appearance this season.

So who do you think is overvalued? Are there any names that should be on this list? Make your voice heard in the comment section below.

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