AL Cy Young Odds: White Sox’s Dylan Cease Worth Betting?

With the “first half” of the 2022 MLB campaign officially over, let’s dig into AL Cy Young odds to determine if there’s a number worth betting. You can click on any of them below to place a wager.

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AL Cy Young Odds: Breaking Down The Field

Betting Market Analysis

Even though Shane McClanahan () sits atop the odds board, Justin Verlander () has generated the highest percentage of the tickets (13.0%) and overall handle (16.7%) at BetMGM Sportsbook. However, Shohei Ohtani () remains the biggest liability to win the award.

McClanahan and Verlander both bolstered their resumes going into the All-Star break. For one, the Rays ace owns the longest streak in MLB history (seven) with six-plus innings pitched, six-plus strikeouts, an earned run or less and four hits or fewer. Simultaneously, Verlander is the first starter to resume the second half with 12-plus wins, an ERA under 2 and better than a 5 strikeout-to-walk (K/BB) ratio.

Bettors will certainly roll their eyes towards traditional metrics, but many voters still value them. Moreover, the market reflects these individual accomplishments.

Enter Dylan Cease (), making an under-the-radar case to win AL Cy Young. The 26-year-old opened the season at +1600, so his price tag hasn’t seen a massive shift — especially at BetMGM.

Scouting Cease’s Profile

Statistic AL Ranking
12.90 K/9 #1
2.68 xERA #2
2.15 ERA #3
2.67 FIP #3
2.90 fWAR T-3

Related: 2022 World Series Odds

Per the table above, Cease’s strikeout rate certainly aids his fWAR. Nevertheless, his pitch deception is no fluke.

The Milton, Ga., native’s four-seam fastball spin ranks in the 97th percentile (via Baseball Savant) — among the best in baseball. His opponent’s expected batting average (xBA) finds itself in the 94th percentile as well.

Incredibly enough, Cease is one of two pitchers in MLB history with 140-plus strikeouts and an ERA less than 2.50 in the “first half” left off the All-Star roster. The other? Pedro Martinez, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.

Looking ahead, the White Sox find themselves in race for the AL Central and one of the league’s three wild-card spots. Cease threw a career-high 165.2 IP last season, and his refined stuff has allowed him to pitch deeper into games. Don’t expect Tony La Russa & Co. to hold his innings back, with Chicago’s playoff hopes likely decided near the end of the regular season.

While Cease’s command (11% walk rate) represents his most glaring individual kryptonite, his ceiling come late July and onward is high enough to make his AL Cy Young odds worth considering.

Assessing Other AL Cy Young Odds

There’s a case that McClanahan, Verlander, Ohtani and Cole could all have their respective starts spaced out before season’s end.

For one, McClanahan hasn’t pitched more than 123.2 innings in his abbreviated career, and he’s already at 110.2 IP. Even if the Rays remain in the thick of the American League wild-card hunt, they could still employ an innings limit or even shut him down if long-term plans become at risk.

In regards to Verlander and Cole, the Yankees and Astros could also disperse their final outings if the teams have locked up their respective divisions. Verlander holds more risk at 39 years old, but the two have dealt with their fair share of injuries in recent seasons. The Astros’ veteran hurler is in the conversation for 2022 Comeback Player of the Year, too, after missing last season because of Tommy John surgery.

Then, there’s Ohtani, the favorite among AL MVP odds (). Voters could eye a different direction for AL Cy Young if Ohtani wins the league’s MVP honor, along with the fact that the Angels could restrict his starts come September. Keep in mind, Los Angeles finds itself 10.5 games out of a wild-card spot.

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