NL Manager of the Year Odds: Murphy, Thomson and Counsell Out Front Early

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8
NL Manager of the Year Odds: Murphy, Thomson and Counsell Out Front Early

With about two months of the 2024 MLB season behind us, various season-long odds markets continue to narrow. This includes the Manager of the Year race in both leagues. The National League (NL) is currently a three-horse race for Manager of the Year, including two managers from the NL Central.

Let's dive into the latest NL Manager of the Year odds courtesy of FanDuel's MLB odds. Which skippers are leading the pack? Who could be the best bet to take home the hardware? Are there any sleepers who deserve your attention?

Let's check it out.

NL Manager of the Year Odds

National League Manager of the Year 2024
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds
Pat Murphy (MIL)+270
Rob Thomson (PHI)+380
Craig Counsell (CHC)+380
Brian Snitker (ATL)+1300
Dave Roberts (LAD)+1400
Mike Shildt (SDP)+1500
Bob Melvin (SFG)+1500
View Full Table

Pat Murphy, Milwaukee Brewers (+270)

Following the 2023 season, the Milwaukee Brewers had to fill their manager spot after Craig Counsell made a lateral move to the Chicago Cubs. Milwaukee opted to keep it in house by promoting Pat Murphy to manager. So far, the move has been seamless.

The Brewers are currently 28-21 with a .571 win percentage, which is slightly better than last season's .568 win percentage. Milwaukee remains one of the top squads in the division, touting the shortest odds to win the NL Central (+120). This would be the Brew Crew's third divisional title since 2021.

The expectations in Milwaukee are pretty much the same as usual. They are -188 to make the postseason, per FanDuel's MLB playoff odds. The Brewers aren't viewed as championship contenders, though, as they come in at +1800 odds to win the National League and +4200 odds to win the World Series.

Milwaukee's recipe for success has been different in 2024 as they are tied for the 5th-most runs in baseball compared to finishing with the 14th-fewest runs in 2023. The pitching hasn't been on the same level as it was a year ago as the Brewers had the 11th-lowest skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) in 2023 and are currently tied for the 8th-highest mark in that category so far this season. We can't discount that Corbin Burnes, who is at +450 odds to win the AL Cy Young, was dealt in the offseason. Of course, these numbers would drop with an ace starter gone.

Considering Murphy's track record as a manager -- 42-54 with the San Diego Padres in 2015 -- Milwaukee's continued success has been impressive. They've done it in a different way compared to last year, but the Brew Crew remain a playoff squad, putting Murphy firmly into the NL Manager of the Year contention.

Rob Thomson, Philadelphia Phillies (+380)

The Philadelphia Phillies are a consistent contender in the NL; they appeared in the World Series in 2022 and played in the NL Championship Series (NLCS) for the second consecutive season in 2023. So, what has Rob Thomson done to enter this award race?

At 36-14, the Phillies hold the best record in baseball with a .720 winning percentage. Philly had win percentages of .537 and .556 over the last two seasons. This is a major improvement for Philadelphia, and they have the fourth-shortest World Series odds (+750).

It's been improvement across the board.

Let's start with pitching. The Phillies boast the lowest SIERA in baseball and are tied for the highest strikeout percentage (K%) in the league. In terms of expected fielding independent pitching (xFIP), it is more of the same, with Philadelphia carrying the top mark. Compare this to Philly holding the sixth-lowest SIERA while being tied for the seventh-highest K% in the 2023 season.

The success is nearly just as good in terms of the offense. The Phillies have the highest on-base percentage (OBP), are tied for the second-highest batting average, and have posted the most runs in baseball.
According to numberFire's nERD-based power rankings, Philadelphia is the third-best team in baseball. Thomson has taken the Phillies to the next level early in the 2024 season, putting himself in the mix for this award.

Craig Counsell, Chicago Cubs (+380)

The second NL Central coach contending for NL Manager of the Year is none other than Counsell -- who left the Brewers to lead the Cubs. Counsell's surprising move during the offseason has worked out for both clubs at this point.

Chicago has not made the postseason since 2020 and fell short of a Wild Card spot by one game in 2023. The franchise is starving for more playoff success, which made the hire of Counsell a home run. The Cubs have not won the NL Central since 2020 and are currently at +135 odds to win the NL Central in 2024.

Chicago's pitching has been performing at about the same level as it did a campaign ago, with the 15th-lowest SIERA this year compared to the 17th-lowest in 2023. But they now have a Cy Young contender in Shota Imanaga, who has the second-shortest odds to win the NL Cy Young (+480).

Offensively, it's been a different story -- in a bad way. The Cubs were tied for the 11th-highest batting average in 2023 and that has dropped to the 6th-lowest mark thus far. They have the 10th-lowest slugging percentage (SLG) now compared to the 11th-highest in 2023. Chicago also has the 15th-most runs scored versus the 6th-most a year ago.

Despite the offensive drop, Counsell has managed to get the Cubs in the win column more times than not. However, I'm not sure if this will continue when you dive into the stats. Various numbers show Chicago has actually declined thus far compared to 2023, causing obvious concerns for their playoff hopes. Murphy and Thomson feel like the more reliable bets among the top three contenders.

Following Counsell, we have a big drop off to Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves (+1300) and Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers (+1400). The Braves (+480) and Dodgers (+280) continue to contend and are the two favorites to win it all, but with such talented squads at their disposal, those two managers may have a hard time winning this award. Mike Shildt of the Padres (+1500) is an interesting name to watch as he has San Diego in a Wild Card spot in his first season on the job.

Thomson at +380 is good value considering how hot the Phillies have been. Murphy deserves some recognition for the Brewers' success so far, but Philadelphia has a solid case for the best team in baseball thanks to Thomson's work. If the Phillies end up besting the Braves in the AL East, Thomson would have a strong case to win NL Manager of the Year.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.