After missing a season to undergo Tommy John surgery at 38 years old, it was fair to wonder if we’d wuld ever see the old Justin Verlander again.
Well, he’s back like he never left. The now 39-year-old has been spectacular through the first two months of the MLB season, and that has been reflected in his MLB odds to win the AL Cy Young.
Since the betting markets opened months ago, Verlander has had one of the most significant odds movements as he’s gone from +2000 to being the current favorite with odds of +450. His performance has garnered the respect of bettors as he is the most bet pitcher on the board.
While he has undoubtedly been impressive and is deserving of being the favorite for the award, determining whether or not his value will hold going forward is critical.
Justin Verlander Stats
Perhaps the biggest stat that he has in his favor is that he leads the American League in wins with six. Yes, the win is going by the wayside of being an important statistic, but it is a sign of both his and his team’s success when he is on the mound.
Secondly, his ERA of 2.03 is good for fourth in the AL. He had a string of four straight scoreless starts in the month of May, but his underlying statistics show that his ERA should be a bit higher. Verlander’s velocity may still be the same, but his strikeout rate is the lowest it’s been since 2017. That means there’s been much more contact made against him, and while he has generated outs, his average exit velocity and hard-hit rate are not elite.
The quality of contact is a very predictive stat for pitchers as it can tell if regression is coming or not. That Verlander’s contact is not where it should be for an elite pitcher, and his xERA of 3.00 and XFIP of 3.44 show that as well.
He may have the Astros success to fall back on, but if his ERA rises in the warmer months of the season, he will be passed on the odds board very quickly. Right now, Kevin Gausman (+500) and Shane McClanahan (+900) present much more value.
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