Skip to main content
Paul Skenes of the Pittsburgh Pirates walks to the bullpen to warm up before making his major-league debut, and we look at the best MLB futures bets to consider for Skenes during his rookie season.
Paul Skenes of the Pittsburgh Pirates walks to the bullpen to warm up before making his major-league debut. Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images via AFP.

We're looking at the futures odds at our best MLB betting sites for one of the league's most impressive young pitchers.

Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Paul Skenes has had arguably the most electric start to a career since Stephen Strasburg debuted in 2010. 

Skenes has racked up 21 strikeouts over 16 innings through his first three major-league appearances. He's walked only four batters and given up 12 hits. His FIP sits at 2.26, and his projections for the rest of the season are among the most elite in all of baseball.

Comparatively, Strasburg threw 19 1/3 innings in his first three starts, allowing 10 hits and walking five, striking out an absurd 32. Strasburg threw only 68 total innings in his freshman campaign, and he didn't factor into the NL Rookie of the Year race.

Will Skenes do what Strasburg couldn't (or wasn't allowed to due to innings restrictions) and translate all of the hype into a successful Rookie of the Year campaign? Or does he also face an uphill battle with a pair of "veteran" rookies standing in his way?

We scoured the odds at our best MLB betting sites to find the best bets for Paul Skenes in 2024, and there are plenty of exciting options.

Paul Skenes props for 2024

Rookie of the Year odds

(NL Rookie of the Year odds as of May 24; see our full look at the MLB Rookie of the Year odds)

Shota Imanaga+105 🔥-110 -110 -120 ❄️-110 
Paul Skenes+400 ❄️+750 🔥+600+425 +550 
Yoshinobu Yamamoto+500 +480 +425 ❄️+475 +500 
Jared Jones+750 +750 +700 +700 +750 

Skenes could face similar issues as Strasburg did when it comes to the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

First, let's compare his stats thus far to the three rookie pitchers he's grouped with on the oddsboard:

  • Shota Imanaga: 53 2/3 innings, 58 strikeouts, 0.84 ERA, 0.91 WHIP
  • Paul Skenes: 16 innings, 21 strikeouts, 2.25 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
  • Yoshinobu Yamamoto: 54 innings, 61 strikeouts, 3.17 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
  • Jared Jones: 59 innings, 68 strikeouts, 3.05 ERA, 0.97 WHIP

Skenes is already really behind the eight ball when it comes to his counting stats due to the hurler's later start to the major-league campaign. But can he make up that ground throughout the remainder of the season?

Well, let's look at the rest-of-season projections for the group, via Steamer:

  • Shota Imanaga: 124 innings, 129 strikeouts, 3.62 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
  • Paul Skenes: 94 innings, 119 strikeouts, 2.99 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
  • Yoshinobu Yamamoto: 119 innings, 129 strikeouts, 3.62 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
  • Jared Jones: 109 innings, 108 strikeouts, 3.97 ERA, 1.26 WHIP

So, Skenes is both behind his contemporaries already and projected to throw fewer innings for the rest of the campaign. Does he really stand a chance of winning NL Rookie of the Year then?

Well, he definitely has a shot, but I think it's longer than even the market-high +750 odds suggest (the price comes with a nearly 12% implied probability).

Both Imanaga and Yamamoto have multiple professional seasons in which they've logged 150-plus innings, and each pitcher is on a playoff-contending team that will lean on them down the stretch. The Pirates are in no such position, and they'll likely limit the workloads of both Skenes and Jones as the campaign progresses.

If you hold a Skenes ticket from when he was trading at around +2000, then I don't hate it. But the hype has pushed his odds to a point that I'm uncomfortable betting when considering the stiff competition he faces.

Cy Young odds

(NL Cy Young odds as of May 24; see our full look at the MLB Cy Young odds)

Paul Skenes+6000 ❄️+20000 +10000 OFF+20000 

Of course, if we're fading Skenes in the Rookie of the Year market, it's not really a question as to how we're approaching his Cy Young odds.

He just won't be able to win this year, plain and simple. Even if you were to give him Imanaga's innings projection of 124, he'd be sitting at only 140 for the year. That's just not enough.

If you want to throw a dollar or two on his +20000 odds through FanDuel or bet365, then go ahead. But at this point, you're better off taking that money to your local corner store and buying a lottery ticket.

Regular-season strikeout total odds

Over 144.5 (-105)/Under 144.5 (-115)Over 144.5 (-110)/Under 144.5 (-110)

If I'm going to bet on a Skenes future in 2024, this is the one (and I did bet it while writing this).

DraftKings and bet365 are the only two of our best sports betting apps offering this market, and the totals listed are the same. Sure, the odds aren't as enticing as those in either of the awards markets, but it's also the bet with the best chance of cashing.

I'm taking the Over in this case of course, as fading Skenes' strikeout potential after what we've witnessed thus far feels criminal.

Between Skenes' strikeout total to start the year and Steamer's rest-of-season projection, the big right-hander would be sitting at 140 when the season concludes. However, this is a market in which one or two extra starts - or a handful of additional innings across his appearances - can make all the difference.

If Skenes can reach 120 innings, he still won't win any of the aforementioned awards. However, if he pitches 120 innings and his K/9 drops from 11.81 to 11.5 - or even to 11 - then he'll go Over this strikeout total.

We know the mustachioed menace can rack up punchouts in bunches, and these -105 odds on the Over of 144.5 at DraftKings are too tempting to ignore.

Regular-season wins total odds

Among our best sportsbooks, only DraftKings offers this market. It features Skenes' wins total listed at 6.5, with the Over trading at -135 and the Under at +115.

Considering the randomness associated with wins, I can't say I'm a particularly big fan of this market. Skenes does have one already, and Steamer projects him to rack up seven more. But the Pirates aren't especially good, and their bullpen has been one of the worst in baseball by ERA.

Additionally, the Over being so heavily juiced makes this even less appealing, as you'd hope to see odds closer to -110 on either side for a prop like this.

This one feels like a trap for more casual bettors looking to capitalize on the Skenes hype. "Good pitcher means he'll get a lot of wins, right?" is what I imagine DraftKings is hoping these bettors will say to themselves.

Maybe Skenes does finish with seven-plus wins. But I don't see much value in this market with only one of our sites with the best sportsbook promos offering it.

Here are our best MLB betting sites:

(21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER)
* Bonuses not applicable in Ontario.

Related pages