5 Cy Young long shots worth betting
Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty

A little over six weeks into the 2021 MLB season, the Cy Young race is largely playing out as expected. Gerrit Cole and Shane Bieber are dominating the American League, with Cole's immaculate 78-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio giving him the edge, and Jacob deGrom was running away with the National League title before an injury setback.

That last part is key. We're barely a quarter of the way through the season; injuries - or a string of bad starts - could easily derail a Cy Young front-runner and blow the race wide open. That's what makes long shots so appealing in a market this volatile.

Fortunately, this year's field is full of compelling arms at long odds. Here are the updated Cy Young odds for both leagues, along with five pitchers worth betting at their current price:

Gerrit Cole Even Jacob deGrom -125
Shane Bieber +430 Corbin Burnes +450
Tyler Glasnow +600 Max Scherzer +1600
Carlos Rodon +1500 Trevor Bauer +1600
John Means +1500 Brandon Woodruff +1800
Lance Lynn +1500 Jack Flaherty +1800
Hyun Jin Ryu +3500 Yu Darvish +1800
Danny Duffy +4000 Walker Buehler +2500
Dylan Cease +4000 Aaron Nola +3000
Jose Berrios +5000 Clayton Kershaw +3000
Lance McCullers Jr. +5000 Zack Wheeler +3000
Cristian Javier +5500 Trevor Rogers +3500
Shohei Ohtani +5500 Sandy Alcantara +4500
Aaron Civale +6000 Alex Wood +5000
Kyle Gibson +6000 Freddy Peralta +5000
Lucas Giolito +6000 Julio Urias +5000
Nathan Eovaldi +6000 Taijuan Walker +5000
Aroldis Chapman +6500 Ian Anderson +5500
Corey Kluber +6500 Joe Musgrove +6000
Zach Plesac +6500 Kevin Gausman +6000
Brady Singer +7000 Zac Gallen +6000
Eduardo Rodriguez +7000 Marcus Stroman +7000
Sean Manaea +7000 Blake Snell +8000
Chris Bassitt +8000 Josh Hader +8000
Domingo German +8000 Sonny Gray +8000
Dylan Bundy +8000 Stephen Strasburg +8000
Frankie Montas +8000 Pablo Lopez +9000
Kenta Maeda +8000 Carlos Carrasco +10000
Liam Hendriks +8000 Charlie Morton +10000
Matthew Boyd +8000 Chris Paddack +10000
Zack Greinke +8000 Dinelson Lamet +10000
Andrew Heaney +10000 Edwin Diaz +10000
Casey Mize +10000 German Marquez +10000
Chris Sale +10000 Jake Arrieta +10000
Dallas Keuchel +10000 Jon Gray +10000
Deivi Garcia +10000 Kwang-hyun Kim +10000
Framber Valdez +10000 Kyle Hendricks +10000
Griffin Canning +10000 Luis Castillo +10000
Jameson Taillon +10000 Max Fried +10000
Jesus Luzardo +10000 Michael Soroka +10000
Jordan Montgomery +10000 Noah Syndergaard +10000
Jose Urquidy +10000 Patrick Corbin +10000
Justin Dunn +10000 Sixto Sanchez +10000
Luis Severino +10000
Marco Gonzales +10000
Mike Minor +10000
Nate Pearson +10000
Robbie Ray +10000
Triston McKenzie +10000

Trevor Rogers, Marlins (+3500)

Rogers entered 2021 as a potential breakout candidate after his expected stats in his 2020 rookie season told a far different story than his 6.11 ERA. The breakout happened, and it's time to start paying attention.

The Marlins standout boasts a 1.84 ERA - fifth-best among qualified starters - with a top-10 strikeout rate (32.6%) thanks to a lively fastball and two elite breaking pitches that have baffled hitters thus far. The advanced stats back it up: Rogers ranks in the 85th percentile in virtually every metric, suggesting the 23-year-old might be able to keep this up all season. If he does, this is a steal.

Dylan Cease, White Sox (+4000)

We've known Cease had this in him since his time as a top prospect with the Cubs; his recent string of success with the White Sox is much less a fluke and more a realization of the potential he's always shown.

The 25-year-old righty flashed that potential in his fifth and sixth starts of the season, during which he threw a combined 13 shutout innings with 20 strikeouts and just four baserunners allowed. Cease is finally generating the whiffs his stuff has teased, making this an attractive price if he maintains his current trajectory.

Freddy Peralta, Brewers (+5000)

Don't look now, but Peralta is finally ascending to the upper tier of MLB starters after two years of mixed results out of the 'pen. The Brewers moved their 24-year-old arm into the rotation this year and have reaped the rewards of a fastball-slider combo that has generated 65 strikeouts through nine games.

Peralta's strikeout rate (39.2%) ranks third behind only those of deGrom and Cole, and his 2.69 FIP checks in at ninth ahead of Tyler Glasnow's (2.80) and Bieber's (2.83). The former reliever is pitching like the best starters in the game, and this price doesn't reflect that in the slightest.

Joe Musgrove, Padres (+6000)

What more does Musgrove need to do to get some respect in this market? Not only did he throw the first no-hitter of the season - and first in Padres history - but he still ranks sixth in xFIP (2.71) and SIERA (2.79) and has struck out a third of the batters he's faced, good for ninth in the majors.

Two lackluster starts in early May have tempered expectations, but the 28-year-old has allowed a combined five runs in his other six starts and is still showing the strike-throwing potential that made him unhittable early on. Don't let the last few weeks distract you from the bigger picture, especially at this price.

Luis Castillo, Reds (+10000)

Unlike the other four players on this list, Castillo hasn't looked anything like a Cy Young pitcher this season. In fact, the Reds starter has been the furthest thing from one: His 7.71 ERA is the worst of any pitcher with at least 30 innings, and he's struck out a paltry 16.3% of batters faced to rank in the bottom 10.

But Castillo has also made eight starts in what will presumably be a 30-start campaign, and he's been a notoriously slow starter over his MLB career. His 4.62 ERA from March through June pales in comparison to his 3.37 ERA from July and beyond, which should inspire some hope after the 28-year-old's rough start to 2020.

Castillo is by far the most talented pitcher in this price range, and he could return to looking like the All-Star he is in any one of his next starts. If he does, you'll regret passing up these odds.

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

5 Cy Young long shots worth betting
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