For those that have been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, one of the more interesting stories to come out in the world of sports lately was the recent Supreme Court decision that has seemingly allowed for states to move forward with their own sports betting regulation rather than just being completely disallowed under federal law.
While this will not immediately lead to sports gambling being legalized everywhere, several states have already made moves towards creating their own betting marketplaces and what happens in the online betting landscape will be very interesting to follow in the coming months and years.
In that spirit, one thing that will be regularly featured on Daily Dish will be a recurring series of posts that will track the odds for the Cy Young and MVP awards in each league. It is possible if not probable that Rookie of the Year odds will get added at some point, but its basically impossible to find odds for that right now and some of the better candidates haven’t debuted yet anyways. Below, you will see the current Vegas odds (drawn from Bovada) that we were able to get our hands on. These odds are from May 1st (getting current awards odds from Bovada has proven to be difficult, so if anyone out there has an easy way to grab current odds, please let us know), so there will be some wonky odds for this first set, but we will go over that in a bit. The first set of odds for each player are the current odds and the number in parentheses is the change in those odds from the previous odds (in this case, their preseason odds).
My hope was to do these updates weekly, but the combination of the difficulty in pulling current odds combined with the fact that odds, in particular with pitchers, are unlikely to move much week to week, this will likely be a monthly feature here. Anyways, on to the AL Cy Young odds.
American League Cy Young
Chris Sale (BOS) +300 (+75)
Corey Kluber (CLE) +300 (+40)
Gerrit Cole (HOU) +450 (-1750)
Justin Verlander (HOU) +450 (-350)
Luis Severino (NYY) +700 (-500)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) +1200 (+400)
Sean Manaea (OAK) +1200 (N/A)
Rick Porcello (BOS) +2500 (-5500)
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) +3000 (0)
Trevor Bauer (CLE) +3000 (N/A)
Charlie Morton (HOU) +3000 (N/A)
José Berríos (MIN) +3300 (+300)
J.A. Happ (TOR) +2500 (-5500)
According to Vegas, Chris Sale and Corey Kluber are the favorites for the award at +300. One thing to watch there is the fact that the Red Sox are on fire right now whereas the Indians are leading their division, but are below .500 in doing so. If their numbers are similar at season’s end, this could be a factor. Gerrit Cole has seen a big jump in his odds chances due to being a dominant piece in a loaded rotation on one of the scariest team’s in Major League Baseball along with another favorite Justin Verlander. I expect his odds to improve for the June update and be right there with Sale and Kluber. Rick Porcello and J.A. Happ saw big improvements in their odds but are still considered long shots.
One concern I had with this particular data set is that some players that should be considered and given odds wouldn’t be listed so it would be a flawed picture. In the case of the Cy Young Awards, there is a less precise and somewhat wonky measure that is used by ESPN called Cy Young Points that help try to predict how voters will vote in the Cy Young race. You can look at the full leaderboard for that right here.
AL Cy Young Points Leaderboard
Luis Severino 78.4
Corey Kluber 77.1
Justin Verlander 76.2
Charlie Morton 72.8
Gerrit Cole 65.0
Rick Porcello 62.6
Chris Sale 60.3
Craig Kimbrel 56.5
Hector Velazquez 51.8
Carlos Carrasco 51.5
This is a pretty different list than what Vegas has, which is interesting in itself. Luis Severino, who is considering a leading candidate for the award, leads the pack in CYP and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the Yankees are arguably the best team in baseball right now. Charlie Morton is getting a big boost as well due to the “Houston is really good” effect as is Hector Velasquez from Boston’s success. This isn’t a knock on either of their chances as both have been pitching great, but its possible that Vegas is possibly correctly taking previous performance and name recognition into account in their odds. Really, just being in the top 10 on this index is generally a good sign that a player will at least get some consideration from voters even if the order doesn’t match conventional wisdom.
National League Cy Young
Max Scherzer (WAS) +160 (-65)
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) +260 (+85)
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) +650 (0)
Carlos Martinez (STL) +850 (-950)
Jacob deGrom (NYM) +850 (-1150)
Patrick Corbin (ARI) +1500 (N/A)
Johnny Cueto (SF) +1600 (-3400)
Stephen Strasburg (WAS) +2000 (+500)
Jake Arrieta (PHI) +3000 (-2000)
Aaron Nola (PHI) +2500 (-1500)
This is where the lack of recent odds is a little wonky as Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer were the two horse race for the award and with good reason on May 1st. Unfortunately, Kershaw went on the DL in May and it is highly likely this will impact his odds negatively in the next update. As a result, Scherzer is a heavy favorite to win the NL Cy Young as he has been pitching incredibly well and the Nationals will be in contention all year along unless something crazy happens. Johnny Cueto saw a big jump in his preseason odds, but he recently went on the 60-day DL for the Giants so he essentially has no chance to win the award now. Tracking Patrick Corbin’s odds will interesting going forward because he has been pitching well, but the Diamondbacks are in a bit of a freefall right now in the wake of the loss of AJ Pollock. Noah Syndergaard is lurking in the odds race for the award holding steady from his preseason odds and he has the ability to put up some big time numbers, but it is unclear if the Mets will be anything more than ok. Team success shouldn’t be a big indicator for individual awards, but unfortunately voters do look at it so it is worth considering. Two Phillie pitchers in Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola had big jumps in their odds at the beginning of May, but were still considered long shots. They have done nothing but improve their stocks in May and the Phillies look like they will hang around as well, so expect them to get more odds love in June. One name that is notably absent from this list is Sean Newcomb who has been pitching very well for a very good Braves team. For this, we will go back to the Cy Young Points leaderboard.
NL Cy Young Point Leaderboard
Max Scherzer 73.2
Sean Newcomb 60.1
Wade Davis 58.6
Patrick Corbin 58.4
Aaron Nola 57.8
Josh Hader 54.9
Jeremy Jeffress 52.1
Brad Boxberger 52.0
Jeurys Familia 49.8
Jacob deGrom 48.3
There is Newcomb....right there in second place. Newcomb’s spotty track record in the minors and his debut last year likely factored into him being excluded from the list that was released. A lengthy scoreless innings streak plus the Braves continuing to wreak havoc will help his candidacy greatly and he should end up in the top 5 candidates somewhere, although for a lot of reasons Scherzer will remain a heavy favorite. Josh Hader has been great in relief for Milwaukee, but a reliever getting much love from Cy Young voters especially when it is hard to see the Brewers as favorites in the NL Central right now is a tough thing to put good odds on. There are some other Mets pitchers on this list in Familia and deGrom that were getting a boost from the Mets’ hot start. That start has very much ended and we should see some normalization happen in the coming months there.
American League MVP
Mike Trout (LAA) -120 (-250)
Mookie Betts (BOS) +700 (-1800)
Aaron Judge (NYY) +800 (-1000)
Didi Gregorius (NYY) +800 (N/A)
José Altuve (HOU) +1000 (+400)
Carlos Correa (HOU) +1000 (-100)
Manny Machado (BAL) +1200 (-1000)
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) +1800 (-8200)
Mitch Haniger (SEA) +5000 (N/A)
JD Martinez (BOS) +4000 (+1500)
We don’t really have an equivalent for Cy Young Points in the MVP race other than WAR, but that doesn’t seem to matter much as the candidates are pretty self-evident in the AL. Mike Trout was a heavy, heavy favorite for the award and is likely going to remain the favorite given that he has been one of, if not the best player in baseball for the last several years. His odds could easily decrease for the MVP though because Mookie Betts has been out of his mind for the Red Sox and currently leads baseball with 3.6 fWAR. How voters handle Shohei Ohtani will be interesting if he keeps up his current pace on both sides of the ball, but his odds should continue to improve in June. Did Gregorius had a great April but has slumped in May a bit so his odds will likely be adversely effected. If the Athletics and Angels continue to play well, expect some better (and existent) odds for Matt Chapman and Andrelton Simmons as well. JD Martinez should see a bump in his odds next month as he has been on fire in May and currently has a share in the league lead in home runs.
National League MVP
Bryce Harper (WAS) +180 (-120)
Kris Bryant (CHI) +225 (-175)
Nolan Arenado (COL) +1200 (+700)
Cody Bellinger (LAD) +1500 (-300)
Rhys Hoskins (PHI) +1500 (-4500)
Charlie Blackmon (COL) +1600 (-900)
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) +1800 (+1000)
Freddie Freeman (ATL) +1800 (0)
Joey Votto (CIN) +2000 (+1100)
Max Scherzer (WAS) +2000 (-1500)
Tommy Pham (STL) +2000 (-6000)
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) +3000 (0)
AJ Pollock (ARI) +3000 (N/A)
Javier Baez (CHC) +5000 (N/A)
The current odds in the NL MVP race show another two-way race between Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant, although that should open up a bit when the odds are updated. It is hard to argue with Bryant’s status as a favorite given his track record as well as his production in 2018, but Harper’s production has dropped off in May since these odds came out. We have seen these ebbs and flows in Harper’s production before and he will be just fine (especially since this is a contract year for him), but he likely isn’t a favorite for the award right now. Three Braves players in Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and Nick Markakis should start getting some more awards odds in the coming months. Freddie was already in the mix and should see his odds improve as he is top 5 in the league in WAR for the surging Braves. Albies is somehow among the league leaders in home runs and hasn’t had odds posted on his candidacy yet which will change soon along with Nick Markakis, who is having a career year in the last year of his contract.
AJ Pollock was on his way towards being a candidate for the award, but he is out for the next month or two which hurts his candidacy greatly. Tommy Pham and Odubel Herrera for the Cardinals and Phillies respectively are two players to keep an eye on as they are playing very well and their teams should continue to win enough to bolster their candidacies.