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2020 NL Cy Young Odds Say It’s deGrom’s to Lose

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in MLB Baseball

Updated Mar 30, 2020 · 11:29 AM PDT

Mets ace Jacob deGrom on the mound
Jacob deGrom is favored to win his third straight NL Cy Young award in 2020. Photo by Arturo Pardavila III (Wikimedia Commons).
  • Mets ace Jacob deGrom is favored to win the 2020 NL Cy Young at +250
  • The 31-year-old has won the last two National League Cy Young awards
  • Other contenders include Max Scherzer (+400), Walker Buehler (+500) and Jack Flaherty (+550)

The 2020 National League Cy Young odds are out and sportsbooks say New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom is headed for a three-peat. DeGrom has won the last two NL Cy Young awards and is a +250 favorite to win his third this season.

The top-five contenders are rounded out by Max Scherzer (+400), Walker Buehler (+500), Jack Flaherty (+550), and Stephen Strasburg at a distant +1600.

2020 NL Cy Young Award Odds

Player Odds
Jacob deGrom (Mets) +250
Max Scherzer (Nationals) +400
Walker Buehler (Dodgers) +500
Jack Flaherty (Cardinals) +550
Stephen Strasburg (Nationals) +1600
Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) +2000
Luis Castillo (Reds) +2000
Aaron Nola (Phillies) +2000
Noah Syndergaard (Mets) +2000
Patrick Corbin (Nationals) +2500
Mike Soroka (Braves) +2500
Brandon Woodruff (Brewers) +2500

Odds taken Feb. 5.

DeGrom has established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball since coming into the big leagues in 2014, and his run prevention over the last two years has been unparalleled (2.05 ERA).

But does the Mets pitcher deserve to be the clear-cut favorite? Is there better value down the board? Let’s analyze the Gotham hurler’s status as chalk and provide some possible wagering alternatives.

Case For a deGrom Three-Peat

DeGrom is in his prime, was the league’s ERA leader in 2018, and strikeout leader in 2019.  Plus, he’s playing on a team that is in the mix of the 2020 NL Pennant odds. The Mets are currently +1000 to reach the World Series, behind only the Dodgers, Braves, Nationals, Phillies, and Cardinals.

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While his record in the first half of last season was only 4-7, he had a respectable 3.27 ERA, struck out 138 batters, and made the All-Star Game for the third time in his career.

In the second half, deGrom was absolutely lights out. The Mets ace posted a 7-1 record with a 1.44 ERA and 117 strikeouts.

Will he join Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson as the only pitchers to win three in a row  though? (Side note: Maddux and Johnson each won four in a row.)

The Mets lineup features reigning NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, and elite hitters in third baseman Jeff McNeil and right fielder Michael Conforto. But winning the NL East will be daunting thanks to Atlanta and Philadelphia.

DeGrom has bucked the trend of capturing individual accolades without team success in the years he won (similar to Tim Lincecum a decade before him), but I just don’t see that happening again.

Buehler Is the True Favorite

Buehler jumps out as the true 2020 NL Cy Young favorite to me. At +500, there’s value there.

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The 25-year-old has usurped Clayton Kershaw as the Dodgers ace in the eyes of many. A sleeper Cy Young favorite heading into 2019, Buehler delivered a 14-4 record, with a 3.26 ERA and 215 strikeouts in 30 starts last season. He finished tied for ninth (with Padres closer Kirby Yates) in 2019 NL Cy Young balloting behind teammates Hyun-Jin Ryu (2nd) and Kershaw (8th).

But with Ryu gone and Kershaw a year older, Buehler appears primed for true superstardom in LA. He got the win as the Game 1 starter in the NLDS last year, allowing only one hit in six scoreless innings against the eventual World Series champion Nationals. Plus, with the addition of Mookie Betts (and David Price), the Dodgers are the heavy favorites to return to the Fall Classic for what would be their third appearance in four seasons.

The combination of talent and team success have me all over Buehler from a betting perspective.

Value on Strasburg as Well

Stephen Strasburg at +1600 also has value. The Nats co-ace is a combination of deGrom and Buehler in some ways. He’s in his prime like deGrom and is set for an elite regular season after playoff success like Buehler.

In the postseason last year, Strasburg finally met the extreme expectations placed upon him when entering the league a decade ago. The 31-year-old earned World Series MVP honors by posting a 2.51 ERA and recording 14 strikeouts in 14.1 innings of work against the Astros.

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Stras had seemingly always been on a pitch count for the length of his career. Last season was only the second time he topped 200 innings (and he barely eclipsed that mark at 209.0). But following an epic playoff run, perhaps the governor is off Strasburg once and for all. He returns to Washington with the comfort of a seven-year, $245-million guaranteed deal and confidence of a world champ.

Castillo and Nola also warrant strong consideration at +2000. But if I’m handicapping this race in terms of betting value, it goes Buehler, Strasburg, and deGrom in that order.

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