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Justin Verlander Now Odds-On Favorite to Win 2019 AL Cy Young After Throwing No-Hitter

Justin Verlander is the betting favorite to win the AL Cy Young award in 2019. Photo by D. Benjamin Miller (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • One sportsbook has Justin Verlander as the favorite to win the 2019 American League Cy Young Award
  • Verlander pitched the third no-hitter of his MLB career in his last start
  • The veteran right-hander leads AL pitchers in eight statistical categories

The American League Cy Young Award belongs to Justin Verlander. The Houston Astros pitcher threw a no-hitter in his last start, and now, no other AL pitcher has a shot.

That’s how one sportsbook sees it. This sportsbook has updated its 2019 AL Cy Young odds and has established Verlander as the overwhelming odds-on -300 chalk.

2019 American League Cy Young Award Odds

Pitcher (Team) Odds
Justin Verlander (Astros) -300
Gerrit Cole (Astros) +200
Charlie Morton (Rays) +1400

*Odds taken on 09/01/19.

In the previous odds, Verlander and Astros teammate Gerrit Cole were neck-and-neck for the honor.  Verlander’s average odds were +150. Cole  was available at +180.

Verlander is Mr. No-No

Verlander didn’t just no-hit the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. He absolutely destroyed them. Verlander walked one while striking out 14. The Houston ace became the sixth pitcher in MLB history to record at least three career no-hitters. Only Nolan Ryan (seven) and Sandy Koufax (four) have notched more.

Utilizing Game Score, an invention of baseball analytics maven Bill James that measures a pitcher’s performance in any given game started, Verlander’s masterpiece graded out to be the seventh-best no-hitter in baseball history.

Cole isn’t Making a Comeback

Verlander has usurped the one edge Cole held over him. Verlander now leads the AL with 257 strikeouts, five more than Cole, who’d led for much of the season. It’s the fifth time in his career that Verlander surpassed 250 strikeouts in a season.

Head-to-Head Statistics

Justin Verlander
Gerrit Cole

29 (1) Games Started 27 (11)
17 (1) Wins 15 (4)
.773 (4) Winning Percentage .750 (7)
193 (1) Innings Pitched 170.1 (5)
2.56 (1) ERA 2.85 (2)
257 (1) Strikeouts 252 (2)
5.316 (1) Hits Per 9 Innings 6.446 (2)
.772 (1) Walks & Hits Per 9 Innings .957 (2)
1.632 (2) Bases On Balls Per 9 Innings 2.166 (6)
11.985 (3) Strikeouts Per 9 Innings 13.315 (2)
7.343 (1) Strikeouts/Base On Balls 6.146 (3)
6.7 (2) War For Pitchers 4.7 (5)

Verlander also leads all AL pitchers in earned-run average (2.56), walks and hits per nine innings (0.772), hits per nine innings (5.316), innings pitched (193), and strikeouts to bases on balls ratio (7.343).

He holds a share of the league lead in wins (17) and games started (29).

Could Homers hold Verlander Back?

The one blip on an otherwise spectacular season for Verlander is the number of times the ball leaves the yard when he delivers it to the plate. But lately, even that tally has entered a slowdown.

Verlander has gone back-to-back starts without surrendering a home run for the second time all season. But it’s also the second time he’s accomplished this feat in his past eight starts.

He’s been surpassed by his old Detroit Tigers teammate Matthew Boyd for the AL lead in home runs allowed. Boyd has served up 36 dingers, three more than Verlander. The Houston pitcher has accused MLB of juicing the baseball to create more homers.

Most HR Surrendered by a Cy Young Winner

Season Pitcher (Team) Home Runs
1957 Don Newcombe (Dodgers) 33
1968 Denny McLain (Tigers) 31*
1999 Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks) 30
1971 Ferguson Jenkins (Cubs) 29*
1983 LaMarr Hoyt (White Sox) 27

*Led league

Not that it should matter. Two past Cy Young Award winners have led the league in home runs surrendered. While he was becoming MLB’s last 30-game winner in 1968, Tigers hurler Denny McLain was lit up for an AL-worst 31 homers.

In 1971, as he won the National League Cy Young Award, Ferguson Jenkins threw a league-leading 29 pitches that left the ballpark for home runs.

It’s Justin’s Time

During his 2011 Cy Young-winning campaign with Detroit, Verlander led the AL in nine categories, including wins (24), ERA (2.40) and strikeouts (250).

He’s on pace for that again this season. Unless Verlander falters, the AL Cy Young is his. But at -300, he’s no longer worth a wager.

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