MLB betting: NL Cy Young race is wide open

There's less than a month of regular season baseball remaining, but the National League Cy Young award is still very much up for grabs. Two months ago, Jacob deGrom was basically a guarantee to win the award. Now? You might as well burn your deGrom Cy Young tickets due to injury.

Zack Wheeler found himself atop the list of favorites a few weeks ago, but his stock has fallen a bit. Milwaukee's duo of Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff remain firmly in the picture. Walker Buehler remains the odds on favorite at +140, but he was roughed up in his last start. Buehler's new teammate, Max Scherzer, was +2500 to win the award on Aug. 26. Two weeks later? He's at +260.

Walker Buehler

Current Odds: +140
Odds on 8/26: -125

Buehler currently ranks 2nd in the National League in both innings pitched and ERA. His 2.31 ERA is bested only by teammate Max Scherzer. Buehler has struck out 184 batters in 179 innings pitched while posting a WHIP of 0.94. Buehler's WHIP ranks second best in the National League, once again bested by only Scherzer.

Buehler's odds took a slight tumble recently due to his last start. After posting a 1.56 ERA over 40.1 innings in August, Buehler opened September with a whimper. He allowed 7 hits and 6 runs over just three innings against the San Francisco Giants. His ERA went from 2.05 to 2.31.

Buehler projects to make five more starts this season. His likely opponents include the Padres twice, along with the Diamondbacks, Rockies and Brewers.

Max Scherzer

Current Odds: +260
Odds on 8/26: +2500

Max Scherzer currently leads all NL pitchers in terms of ERA, WHIP and strikeouts per nine innings. He's posted a 2.28 ERA through 154 innings this season with both the Dodgers and Washington Nationals.

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 26: Fans cheer as Max Scherzer #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers leaves the game in  the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on August 26, 2021 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Fans cheer as Max Scherzer of the Los Angeles Dodgers leaves the game against the San Diego Padres in 2021. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Since being acquired by the Dodgers in late July, Scherzer has made seven starts. Over those seven starts, Scherzer has gone 43 innings while allowing just five earned runs, good for a 1.05 ERA. The Dodgers have won all seven games that he's started. With Scherzer's recent performance in mind, it's no surprise to see his odds change so dramatically.

Unless the Dodgers modify their rotation, Scherzer projects to make only four more starts. Two of those are projected to be against the Padres with the Reds and Rockies also on the schedule.

Corbin Burnes

Current Odds:+350
Odds on 8/26: +250

Corbin Burnes has had a tremendous season for the Milwaukee Brewers. His 2.38 ERA is the third best among all NL pitchers currently. His 0.96 WHIP also ranks third. His 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings is tied with Scherzer for the best among all starters. The Brewers have won nine straight games that were started by Burnes.

Burnes made five starts in August, and he was brilliant. Over 33 innings, Burnes posted a 1.64 ERA while striking out 37 batters. His first September start was subpar, allowing 3 runs over 5 innings against the Cardinals. This might explain the small drop in his odds.

Burnes is projected to make two more starts against the Cardinals while making one more start each against the Indians and Cubs.

Brandon Woodruff

Current Odds:+750
Odds on 8/26: +750

Brandon Woodruff started the season by posting a 1.55 ERA in April and then a 1.07 ERA in May. He hasn't been able to maintain that dominant effort for the whole season, but he's still been pretty spectacular. Woodruff has the fourth best ERA amongst NL starters. He ranks top ten in innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP and WAR.

It might be a case of peaking too soon for Woodruff. His dominant stretch was at the beginning of the season so it's not at the front of mind. Others like Scherzer, Buehler and Burnes have been more dominant down the stretch. He posted a solid 2.77 ERA in August, but the three pitchers above had ERAs under 2.00 during the same month.

Woodruff projects to make four more starts with one each against the Indians, Cubs, Mets and Cardinals on tap.

Zack Wheeler

Current Odds:+800
Odds on 8/26: +500

After Jacob deGrom went down, there was a period of time where Zack Wheeler was the favorite to take home the NL Cy Young. Unfortunately for Wheeler, his rough August has made the road a lot murkier. Wheeler posted a 4.81 ERA in 43 innings during August. While he did a great job of eating innings for the Phillies, he wasn't extremely effective.

The rest of Wheeler's season has been extremely impressive. He has a 2.91 ERA on the year, which ranks 10th in the league. He leads the National League in innings pitched, strikeouts and WAR. Will Wheeler be able to rebound in September and make another push for the Cy Young?

Wheeler has a potentially easy schedule down the stretch. He's projected to go up against the Rockies, Mets, Orioles, Marlins and Braves.

The verdict

All five of these pitchers have had tremendous seasons. If I had to pick one to take home the Cy Young, I'd lean toward one of the Dodgers pitchers. Scherzer looks beyond dominant and he's on a tremendous roll. I think there's valid reason for the shift in his odds. At +260, I'd take a shot on Max Scherzer to bring home the hardware.