NL Cy Young Odds, Picks | Best Bets for Aaron Nola, Spencer Strider, More
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Nola
Historically, four basic statistics correlate most strongly to Cy Young winners: Wins, ERA, strikeouts and WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched).
However, there has been a clear upwards trend in recent seasons regarding WAR and Cy Young winners — which mirrors the trend between WAR and MVPs.
Until 2003, the Cy Young winner finished at least 1 WAR behind the pitching WAR leader (for that league) 48% of the time. Since 2004, that difference has only occurred six times (19%), a decrease of 29%.
Twelve of the past 14 Cy Young winners have finished in the top three in their respective leagues in pitching WAR — the only exceptions being Blake Snell (2018) and Robbie Ray (2021).
Here are my projected pitching WAR leaders for the upcoming season, alongside their listed odds at FanDuel:
Some interesting pitchers who missed the cut include Freddy Peralta (0.17) and Dustin May (0.17), both of whom offer All-Star upside, but neither of whom I expect to receive a Cy Young-caliber workload in 2023.
All but one of my NL Cy Young bets have decreased in price since I bet them a month ago.
Although I’m down on the Phillies’ overall depth, they still have two of the best pitchers in the National League. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler are seemingly underpriced relative to their WAR rankings as clear top-five starters in the NL.
Nola is my preferred bet for NL Cy Young. He offers a higher WAR projection and less injury risk than his teammate. However, his odds have dropped from +2000 to +1200 since I bet him. I would reduce my risk at that price.
Based on average production, Spencer Strider is the most efficient starter in the NL. I’ll bet his Cy Young future defensively — Strider could run away with the award if he takes the ball six times per month.
The longshots who caught my attention are Reds teammates Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo, who are likely underrated, given their detrimental home ballpark and deteriorating organization.
Both pitchers put things together towards the end of last season (1.02 ERA, 2.63 xFIP for Greene; 2.48 ERA, 2.71 xFIP for Lodolo in their final six starts each), and one or both seem poised for ascension towards awards contention.
They have also dropped from +8000 and +7500 in the past month.
Lastly, I also bet on Logan Webb, whose average production (0.18) pales compared to his teammate Alex Cobb (0.20); and falls below my benchmark.
I’ve watched a lot of Webb’s starts over the past two seasons, and I’m convinced he’s better than his underlying metrics indicate. He prevents extra-base hits, generates a ton of groundballs (58.6% career) to kill rallies, and rarely allows the backbreaking three-run homer (0.60 HR/9). Webb is tough to barrel up (5.5%), and his skill set may be better suited to a playing environment with an increased number of balls in play.
That said, +3000 is far less enticing than the +4000 I locked in.
I’ve been fortunate with Cy Young bet, managing to hit Sandy Alcantara (+2500) last season and both Shane Bieber (+1600) and Trevor Bauer (+5000) during the shortened 2020 season.
We’ve presumably lost about a quarter of a unit on Cy Young bets to injuries before the 2023 season has started, but also still have roughly 0.9 units allocated across 10 pitchers who are currently healthy.
Rather than betting in a market that has already tightened relative to my reason projections, I would look to add awards bets during the season
Cy Young Bets
- NL: Aaron Nola (+1300, 0.1u) at FanDuel
- NL Zack Wheeler (+1800, 0.1u) at FanDuel
- NL: Hunter Greene (+6000, 0.05u) at Superbook
- NL: Nick Lodolo (+4000, 0.05u) at FanDuel
- NL: Spencer Strider (+1000, 0.1u) at Superbook
- NL: Logan Webb (+3000, 0.05u) at FanDuel
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