The 2023 MLB season is less than a week away and we've seen quite the shakeup in the NL Cy Young odds.
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There are four previous winners of the award along with reigning AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. Verlander joined the Mets in the offseason and in turn the NL Cy Young race.
Despite the added competition, reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara is the current favorite to repeat with +500 0dds.
Alcantara's transformation into the Marlins ace was spectacular to watch last season. He showed tremendous command from the mound, leading the league with 228⅔ innings pitched while only allowing a 2.28 ERA, the fifth best.
Some are speculating Alcantara is due for some regression because new bans on the shift could limit the team defense behind him. It's also concerning that he allowed the most stolen bases last season.
Let's take a look at who stands in the way of Sandy Alcantara winning another NL Cy Young award.
As impressive as Alcantara pitched last season, Verlander was better. His performance last year with Houston was truly exceptional. He earned the AL Cy Young award after an 18-4 record and a career-best 1.75 ERA.
Verlander's storybook season ended with a World Series victory. He proved that even at 39 years old, he can still overpower batters and be a reliable starting pitcher.
Verlander has the second-best odds at +600 and as tempting as they are, I'm hesitant because he's joining a new team.
I would like more favorable odds if I was going to bet on Verlander, so I'd advise against betting on him at this price.
Burnes is only one season removed from his own NL Cy Young award. He's held a sub-three ERA for two straight seasons and had the second most Ks with 243 last year. He went 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA.
The biggest weakness Burnes faces is the lack of run support from his team. The Brewers had the league's 22nd-ranked batting average at just .235.
Burnes being tied for the second-best odds with Verlander seems a tad rich if you ask me.
While Burnes has everything you need to win the award, I'd pass on his odds at +600.
Scherzer was well on his way to challenging Alcantara for the Cy Young last year before injuries took their toll. Father time might be getting the best of Scherzer as he was limited to just 23 starts.
However, he was still very effective when he was pitching, to the tune of a 2.29 ERA and 10.7 K/9. He's still a pitcher with exceptional power and velocity, but I don't like his chances of staying healthy at his age (38).
Questions surrounding his health have me advising you to pass on Max Scherzer at +800.
Fried's outstanding performance last season earned him second place in the 2022 NL Cy Young voting. He only allowed 12 home runs while displaying precise control with a 4.4% walk rate.
While this lefty isn't an overpowering strikeout pitcher, he's exceptional at limiting hard contact and should log plenty of wins while maintaining a low ERA.
The value of +1000 odds is too tempting to pass up, so I would recommend betting on Fried to win the NL Cy Young and dethrone Alcantara.
Another interesting option for NL Cy Young is Max Fried's teammate Spencer Strider. Strider had a tremendous rookie campaign before an oblique injury ended his season early and placed him on the IL.
He finished in second place in the Rookie of the Year race despite missing games with the injury. His 11-5 record, 2.67 ERA, and 0.99 WHIP were impressive enough to ratchet up the expectations for this year.
The Braves have a team that should provide plenty of run support, so I would highly recommend betting on Strider at +1000 to win the NL Cy Young.
I'd advise against betting on any former winners of the award. I think the writers get tired of voting for the same players.
Max Fried's steady improvement has me confident in his chances this year. The best bet for the NL Cy Young is Max Fried.
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