Which MLB pitchers have been most, least profitable for bettors?
As every MLB bettor knows, the key to daily betting is starting pitching. The best starters are worth backing at seemingly any price, though our favorite bets are backing those who consistently produce above expectation - or fading pitchers who can't keep up with the market.
Here is a list of the 10 most and least profitable pitchers as of Monday, per Sports Database, along with their team's record in their starts and their cumulative return on $100 bets:
Most profitable pitchers
Taijuan Walker (14-3, $1190)
Nobody has been a better bet than Walker, who has revived his career with the Mets behind a 2.99 ERA and 3.29 FIP - his best across a full season since his rookie year with the Mariners in 2013. Walker has received plenty of run support from New York's inconsistent lineup, though he's also held opponents to two or fewer earned runs in 13 of his 17 starts.
Logan Gilbert (8-2, $822)
The Mariners' top pitching prospect has by far the fewest appearances of any pitcher on this list, but he's made up for it with a stellar performance as an underdog, winning seven straight outright in that spot. Gilbert struck out a career-high nine batters in his last start and has induced at least 11 swinging strikes in six of his last seven outings.
Yu Darvish (14-4, $748)
What makes Darvish's profitable return so impressive is that he's rarely cheap to bet on. The Padres have been -200 favorites or tighter in 10 of his 18 starts, but he's been so reliable in that spot - winning eight of 10 for a $360 return - that it's often worth backing him regardless of the price.
Least profitable pitchers
Luis Castillo (6-14, -$945)
Castillo was the ultimate fade early in the year, losing 10 of his first 11 starts with a miserable 7.22 ERA entering June - the worst mark of any qualified starter to that point. The Reds veteran has turned things around since that point, posting a 1.76 ERA while actually turning a small profit ($107) across nine starts.
Gerrit Cole (10-9, -$902)
Cole is the only pitcher on this list whose team has a winning record when he starts, which speaks to how costly it's been when he loses. The Yankees ace is 4-5 when priced as a -200 favorite or better, and he lost bettors a combined $592 after a brutal six-game stretch from June 3 to July 4, when he posted a 2-4 record and 5.24 ERA. He's seemingly regained his old form over his last two starts, which could signal better days ahead.
Dinelson Lamet (3-6, -$810)
Lamet has only started nine games this year, tied for the fewest of anyone on this list, but it's still been enough to lose bettors more than $800 on $100 bets. Part of that is added pressure on the Padres' bullpen - Lamet has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of nine starts but has lasted more than four innings just twice this season. San Diego's bats haven't helped, plating 1.78 fewer runs on average when he starts.