Fun with futures: AL Cy Young has one bet worth considering

May 18, 2019 02:08 PM
At 12-1, Chris Sale may be the only value on the board for AL Cy Young.
© Imagn

To encourage as much betting action as possible in non-football months, sports books are offering a variety of special propositions during the baseball season. Among those is a futures “challenge” for what’s shaping up as a tightly contested American League Cy Young race. 

Entering the weekend, here were the posted odds at William Hill to win that coveted award (percentage equivalent in parenthesis)…

Justin Verlander 2/1 (33%), Jose Berrios 2/1 (33%), Trevor Bauer 4/1 (20%), Blake Snell 8/1 (11%), Gerrit Cole 9/1 (10%), Chris Sale 12/1 (8%).

A $100 bet on Verlander would win $200 (sports books would refund your initial $100 stake then pay you $200). A $100 bet on Sale would win $1,200. 

If you’re good at math, you’ve already noticed that those six pitchers add up to 115% all by themselves. There’s a 100% guarantee that somebody will win the AL Cy Young Award. If the six guys with the best shot already add up to more than that, you can deduce there’s not much betting value. You might experience the “thrill” of picking the winner, but you won’t be earning a fair price. 

Though, VSiN has to admit that Chris Sale is starting to look tempting! He’s finding his form after a poor start, and will still be the ace of a championship contender as long as he stays healthy. Perhaps pacing himself in April will prevent his annual September fade. Still, believe it or not, that’s likely a price that’s “less bad” than the others rather than “good.” 

(For those of you wondering how to turn odds into percentages, simply take the number on the right of the fraction, and divide it by the sum of the two numbers. For Verlander, that’s 1 divided by 3, which is 33%). 

Do you think an “off-the-radar” pitcher might rise up and shock the world? William Hill is only paying 9/2 on the “field” in the AL. Little reward for that risk. 

The National League Cy Young picture  is much more wide open. William Hill lists 19 pitchers on its board, but a “field” bet only returns 125 for the rest of the Senior Circuit. “Any” longshot is technically a favorite at that price (44%), followed by Jacob deGrom at 3/1 (25%) and Max Scherzer at 7/2 (22%). 

You regulars already know VSiN’s opinion about futures betting. These should be for fun only. 

If you’re a fan of Manny Machado, and it adds to your enjoyment of the season to place a small bet at 75/1 that he’ll win the NL MVP award (he was 18/1 before the season started), have some fun. 

Or, maybe your Dad likes how Mike Trout plays the game, and you want to give him an even money ticket to win the AL MVP for Father’s Day. Goin’ fishin’ on a guy named Trout? Better than one of those singing wall plaques. 

Football will be here soon enough. Don’t invest anything beyond recreational money on proposition bets in other sports.


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