Two Reasons to Back Phillies’ Aaron Nola at Intertops for NL Cy Young

Thursday, July 19, 2018 1:39 PM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 19, 2018 1:39 PM UTC

Back in March, the Phillies’ Aaron Nola was quite the long shot at Intertops to win the NL Cy Young Award. Now, he might be the smart bet.

Intertops has released individual MLB player awards odds updates at the All-Star break, and there really aren’t any surprises. The Angels’ Mike Trout is the -250 favorite to win a third AL MVP Award, with Boston’s J.D. Martinez (+350) second. In the National League, it’s a two-man race right now between Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman (+120) and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (+275) – neither has won an MVP.

The AL Cy Young race should be terrific between the Yankees’ Luis Severino (+125), Astros’ Justin Verlander (+250) and Red Sox’s Chris Sale (+450). Only Verlander has won a Cy Young previously; it’s still hard to believe that Sale hasn’t.

However, we’re here to take about the Intertops NL Cy Young Award odds, and Washington’s Max Scherzer is the clear favorite at -167. One can completely understand that as Scherzer has won the past two NL Cy Youngs and also took one in the American League while with Detroit. He has replaced Clayton Kershaw as the best pitcher on the planet. Scherzer (12-5, 2.14) leads the NL in wins, innings (134.2), strikeouts (182) and WHIP (0.90). He’s a stud, and also started his third All-Star Game on Tuesday night in his home Nationals Park.

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Phillies starter Aaron Nola is the 1st Phillies starting pitcher to strike out MULTIPLE batters in the All-Star Game in 15 years (Randy Wolf)@6abc #AaronNola #AllStarGame #BeBold pic.twitter.com/r1EL5VRTYP

— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) July 18, 2018
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This writer, though, recommends young Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (+325). The first-time All-Star is 12-3 with a 2.30 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He’s tied for the NL lead in wins, second in innings (129), second in ERA, third in WHIP and fourth in strikeouts (131). He is just the fifth Phillie to win 12 or more games before the break (Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts Curt Schilling and Jim Lonborg). The only other Phillie with a 2.30 ERA or lower and record at least 130 strikeouts before the All-Star Break was the Hall of Famer Carlton in 1980 (2.14 ERA, 155 SO) on the way to his third Cy Young Award. Nola has allowed more than three earned runs only twice this season.

While Nola’s numbers are fantastic, they are still not quite at Scherzer’s level in some regards. But, there are two reasons why Nola is better value on this Intertops prop.

The first is voter fatigue. Remember, this is a media award and these guys tend to get tired of voting for the same guy to win every year. It’s a fact. Michael Jordan should have won NBA MVP for just about every season in his career but only had six because voters were trying to “outclever” themselves by picking someone else occasionally. I mean, Charles Barkley in 1992-93 over Jordan? Please. LeBron James is going through the same thing right now. Impossibly, he hasn’t won an MVP since 2012-13, his fourth, despite clearly remaining the best player in basketball.

The second reason would be that voters like to choose Cy Young and MVP winners from playoff teams, especially division champions. The Nationals wouldn’t be either as of right now. The Phillies are one of the NL’s biggest surprises and lead the NL East entering the second half – they are +170 Intertops favorites to claim the East with Atlanta at +170 and Washington +185. The only thing voters like better is choosing the best player/pitcher on a surprise playoff team … like Nola and the Phillies.

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