Current Best Bets to Win the Cy Young Awards in 2021

By Dan Vasta in MLB
| August 14, 2021 12:23 am PDT

The American League has been highly entertaining entering the stretch run of the 2021 MLB season. The National League has not been too shabby either when you focus on the NL West.

Dozens of premier players have improved their games as October inches closer. The top teams have received help from their starting rotations. The ability to have a reliable ace is a factor that can push towards the finish line of a pennant race.

The injuries and missed starts have cost a few aces opportunities to put up monstrous numbers. It has been a surprising year across all awards, but the Cy Young race is off the charts.

To get an idea of where the AL and NL Cy Young races are – and how you may want to bet – here are the best bets to win the 2021 Cy Young for both leagues.

Lance Lynn – AL Cy Young (-180)

I enjoy the value on Gerrit Cole of +300 since he was the preseason favorite at +325, but I need to see him shove a bit more into the second half of the season. The Yankees rotation has been injury-riddled the entire season.

The struggles were real in June after the team went 12-14. The team picked up their play in July before going on a stretch in August that has kept them within reach of a wild card berth.

Cole is a four-time All-Star that was the runner-up for the Cy Young in 2019. Cole and his teammate Justin Verlander became the fifth pair of teammates to finish first and second in the Cy Young. That stat is relevant because Carlos Rodon is third among favorites to win the AL Cy Young this season, and there is a chance he, too, could finish ahead of Cole.

Rodon has been filthy and unhittable when his command is there on the mound. He already threw a no-hitter this season, so the White Sox are cooking with gas due to their starting rotation.

Seriously, look at the wins their top hurlers have racked up in 2021.

Lance Lynn Carlos Rodon Lucas Giolito Dylan Cease
10 9 9 9

Lynn is the pick here because the value will shorten when he continues to pick up victories and dominate with his AL minuscule-leading ERA that could get below 2.00 sometime in August or September.

The schedule and the division for the White Sox have benefitted them as well. Lynn loves the future of this team, which was a reason why he signed a two-year extension with the team during the season.

The potential and upside to having a great final handful of weeks in the season should allow them to propel his numbers.

The success he has had on the mound is evident by the way he attacks the strike zone. He has four different types of fastballs, and the ability to keep the ball in the yard has allowed the White Sox to have the top contender for the Cy Young.

Jump on the Lynn express before the 2021 AL Cy Young odds skyrocket down the stretch.

Robbie Ray – AL Cy Young (+1600)

This selection would be crazy if we were talking in March or April. Robbie Ray has had plenty of upside as a strikeout pitcher, but his control issues have been a concern in his career.

In 2021, that’s been a non-issue. Just look at the improvement in walks per nine innings from a year ago.

  • 2019: 7.8
  • 2020: 2.4

The dramatic improvement has turned him into a reliable southpaw ace. It’s also made Ray an intriguing AL Cy Young bet at the top MLB betting sites.

Toronto has needed his efforts to dominate the opposition and challenge the gauntlet that is the AL East. The number of hitters in that division is insane, but luckily the Blue Jays have a handful of them to help the run support of Ray.

In June and July, Ray registered a 2.44 ERA with a record of 7-3. He tossed 66.1 innings with 90 strikeouts. Ray had 11 starts in that timeframe and managed nine quality starts, which is the best we have ever seen from him.

He struck out eight-plus betters in seven of those 11 starts, and more of those performances would make him a legit candidate for the Cy Young.

Ray has been the top ace in Toronto, and their team has ranked among the five best rotations in the AL for staff ERA.

He has an ERA under three, which speaks volumes to the swing-and-miss electric stuff he has in the arsenal.

The upside and value are there with many other irrelevant aces. Getting a strikeout pitcher on a playoff team that racks up innings, quality starts, and victories for his team is good enough for voters. Ray can do all of that and then some for the surging Jays.

He’s not the safest play at +1600, but Ray is in the mix as one of the best bets for the 2021 AL Cy Young award.

Zack Wheeler – NL Cy Young (+110)

This selection will be a fun one to watch. Jacob deGrom was considered the heavy favorite in the early stages of the season. Once the summer weather heated up, he was favored even more after his first nine starts.

It was deGrom that had the lowest ERA (0.62) and WHIP (0.57) through nine starts of a season since 1913 and 1901, respectively. Their playoff chances have since fallen off a cliff and so have the Cy Young chances for deGrom (+1500).

Injuries will do that to you.

The main rivals of New York have been the beneficiary, and Zack Wheeler has been unhittable. Just ask the Mets. Wheeler spun an 11-strikeout, 2-hit shutout against the Mets in early August. The series has changed the entire season for Wheeler and Philadelphia.

Wheeler is one of the few pitchers this season that will come close to 200-plus innings pitched. Walker Buehler is one of the lone pitchers that can challenge Wheeler for the most in baseball.

Just look at where Wheeler ranks in some key pitching stats.

Innings Pitched Strikeouts Complete Games WHIP
156.0 (1st) 181 (1st) 3 (T-1st) 0.99 (9th)

Wheeler has not struggled on the mound with the dominance he has shown.

He has his four-seam fastball to go alongside his sinker, slider, and curveball. He has been a heavy sinker and four-seam ace for most of the season. The sinker has averaged at 96.6 mph, and the four-seamer has been at 96.9 mph. The cheddar that Wheeler has shoved against the opposition has been difficult to put in play.

He is the current favorite to win the NL Cy Young, which certainly would be the best season of his career.

The former Met has never accounted for 200-plus strikeouts, which is bound to happen by the end of the season.

The value is likely to shorten once Wheeler picks up the wins and lowers his ERA potentially further. Winning more games with the Phillies has been crucial in their push towards a division title.

Jump on the odds before you would risk more than you may win.

Max Scherzer – NL Cy Young (+1600)

The Dodgers were among the biggest winners at the 2021 MLB trade deadline, thanks to acquiring Mad Max.

Max Scherzer has already put forth a Hall of Fame career that many aces never come close to accomplishing. Winning the 2019 World Series likely ranks atop his favorite achievements, but he has won several individual awards.

Scherzer has led the league in wins on four separate occasions since he has pitched, and a fifth is possible. He also has three Cy Young awards to his name, and a fourth would put him in elite company.

Here’s a quick look at the other legendary hurlers to rack up at least four Cy Youngs.

Roger Clemens Randy Johnson Steve Carlton Greg Maddux
7 5 4 4

The Dodgers have been prone to helping older pitchers due to their offensive firepower.

While the team is far from perfect, Scherzer was the deadline trade that put them over the top compared to the rest of the National League.

Scherzer has been a top-10 pitcher this season despite the Nationals roster backing him up on defense. Playing for the Dodgers has easily doubled his chances of winning this award.

The one concern to make against Scherzer would be his innings pitched. He barely had over 100 innings entering the month of August, but his 12.0 K/9 is among the better ratios of his career.

His devastating changeup, slider, and cutter have allowed him to baffle opposing sluggers.

He needs to keep the ball in the yard, as the home-run ball has been his weakness. He pounds the strike zone like many aces do, but the value is there for this Dodgers ace.

Being on the team with the best 2021 World Series odds can’t hurt his chances, either.

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Betting on the 2021 AL and NL Cy Young Winners

There is no safe pick in the American and National League to capture the Cy Young awards. It has been a crapshoot after every week since the summer began.

We have not seen clarity with both the health and workloads that teams have asked upon their aces.

That said, Wheeler is my guy in the NL, and Lynn looks like a good bet in the AL.

Ideally, you can sit back and make sure Gerrit Cole pitches well before putting a pretty penny on him. There are questions surrounding Lynn, but he and Wheeler still look like the best bets to win the Cy Young award in their respective leagues.

These are the best AL and Cy Young bets out there, but there are also two MVP races going on. Get a look at who could win in the AL and NL with our 2021 MLB MVP betting picks.

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