Early on Wednesday morning, I was perusing our Bet Labs software to find trends pertaining to that evening’s Dodgers game. With Clayton Kershaw on the mound, Los Angeles had opened as a -370 favorite and had already moved to -410. You see moneylines this massive happen about as frequently as you’ll Tommy Lee Jones smile, which is to say not very often.
Although the Dodgers were the largest favorite in nearly two years, a more interesting piece of information emerged — Kershaw was actually the most profitable pitcher to bet against in the National League.
The reigning Cy Young winner has struggled this season (at least by his ridiculously high standards) posting an ERA of 3.08. In fact, the Dodgers had won just eight of Kershaw’s seventeen starts on the season. When you take into consideration that Kershaw is often a favorite of at least -200, it becomes obvious why fading the 27-year old lefty has been so lucrative.
So if Kershaw was the most profitable NL pitcher to bet against, we wanted to know which AL pitcher bettors should avoid. To our surprise, that honor went to Indians RHP Corey Kluber — the reigning American League Cy Young winner.
Corey Kluber (13-5, +11.2u) & Clayton Kershaw (9-8, +8.5u) are the most profitable SP's to fade this season. Both won the Cy Young in 2014.
— Sports Insights (@SportsInsights) July 8, 2015
This realization played perfectly into our contrarian philosophy. We always encourage bettors to buy on bad news and sell on good, and there’s no better time to sell high than after winning a major award. In order to test whether this hypothesis had any legs, we looked at our database to see how betting against the reigning Cy Young winner had fared.
The tables below display the records and units won that bettors would have earned by betting against the Cy Young winner in the season after taking home the award.
American League (AL)
National League (NL)
Our research found that fading the reigning AL Cy Young winner would have resulted in a profit of +18.57 units won while fading the reigning NL Cy Young winner would have resulted in a loss of -18.67 units. It’s tough to say exactly why the AL winner would regress more than the NL winner, but the discrepancy is readily apparent.
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David Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at David@sportsinsights.com.
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