Zerillo’s Friday CPBL Betting Odds and Picks: Trust Chinatrust, Rogers vs. the Uni-Lions (April 17)
Gene Wang/Getty Images. Pictured: I-Chung Hong
The CPBL, the only professional baseball league currently playing games, is back in action on Friday with two games at 6:35 a.m. ET.
The Rakuten Monkeys (2-0) will host the Fubon Guardians (2-0), and the Uni-President Lions will visit the Chinatrust Brothers.
For more information about the CPBL, check out my opening day betting guide.
Below, you can find the listed odds for each game, alongside my projections, analysis, and bets for Friday.
Fubon Guardians vs. Rakuten Monkeys Betting Odds
Lions odds: +112
Monkeys odds: -140
First pitch: 6:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Bryan Woodall (Fubon) vs. Elih Villanueva (Rakuten)
A battle of undefeated squads features a pair of veteran CPBL pitchers and former Chinatrust Brothers rotation members.
Bryan Woodall joined Fubon in 2018 after three years with Chinatrust and following a minor league career in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
He went 27-18 during two years from 2017 to 2018, leading the CPBL in starts (27) and innings (169), while ranking second in ERA (3.26), WHIP (1.21), FIP (3.68) and walk rate (3.69%) in 2018, but he declined to 2-12 with a 5.48 ERA (5.61 FIP, 4.68 DIPS ERA) in 2019.
Strikeout and walk rates mostly held steady. His strikeout-to-walk ratio has improved from 4.22 to 5.04, and 6.33 over the past three seasons, but he allowed an extra two hits (from 9.6 to 11.7), and 1.2 home runs (from 0.5 to 1.7) per nine innings in 2019 as compared to 2018.
Woodall is a finesse pitcher, with an 86 mph fastball, 78 mph curveball, and 73 mph changeup – so he needs to limit hard contact and rely on his defense to succeed:
Elih Villanueva pitched for the Chinatrust Brothers for the past two seasons. Though he struggled throughout much of 2018, he did toss a no-hitter against his current team – and found a groove in 2019 while showing improved command – as his strikeout to walk ratio climbed from 2.57 to 3.96.
Elih Villanueva （紐維拉）will be #CTBros starting pitcher for Game 1 of the #TaiwanSeries . Will the most recent pitcher of the month continue his amazing form tomorrow?#CPBL30 #Review pic.twitter.com/5mVlI8Eitv
— CPBL 中華職棒 (@CPBL) October 11, 2019
The righty, who made one MLB appearance for the Marlins, owns a high 80’s fastball paired with a low 80’s slider and changeup.
I don’t see any value on either side of the moneyline in this matchup, which I projected at -125, and with a listed total of 10.5 (-110) to the over, there’s only a one percent edge in betting the total.
I’ll just sit back and watch this one, between the best offense and best pitching staff in the league.
Uni-President Lions vs. Chinatrust Brothers Betting Odds
Lions odds: +100
Monkeys odds: -125
First pitch: 6:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Chiang Chen-Yen (Uni) vs. Esmil Rogers (Chinatrust)
Esmil Rogers last pitched in Major League Baseball for the Yankees in 2015. He played in 210 games at the big league level, tossing 454 innings with a 5.59 ERA – more than a full run higher than his 4.45 FIP.
He ultimately had success abroad in Korea, where he was a pretty useful KBO arm for a few seasons, posting a 3.58 ERA and 3.10 K/BB ratio over 29 starts and 196.1 IP.
However, he was released after taking a comebacker off of the pitching hand, breaking several of his fingers.
Rogers struggled with his command in the Mexican League (5.9 K/9, 3.7 BB/9) early in 2019, but rebounded to post solid numbers in the Dominican Winter League (3.23 K/BB) for Licey.
During his MLB days, the righty focused on a fastball (94 mph), curveball (81 mph), and slider (87 mph) combination, with the latter grading out as his only above-average pitch.
Video is limited, but it looks like Rogers retained that same pitch mix in Korea. He mostly stopped throwing his changeup (8-10%) in 2011 with the Rockies.
And though the fastball is pretty straight, he uses it purposefully to setup his pair of breakers.
Rogers has the kind of stuff, relative to the CPBL level, that gives me confidence that he’ll flourish.
Uni-Lions lefty Chiang Chen-Yen doesn’t have inspiring numbers from 2019 (5.61 FIP, 4.71 DIPS ERA), but as an MLB fan it’s hard not to admire his plan of attack – a bevy of high fastballs (88-91 mph) and slow (63-69 mph) curveballs to keep hitters off-balance:
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) August 21, 2019
As you might imagine, that slow curveball doesn’t translate well on its worst day – leaving the southpaw vulnerable to some rough outings. In 2019, for example, he allowed at least five runs or more in eight of 18 starts.
Chinatrust is winless on the year, but I project the Brothers as a pretty firm favorite in this game with a former MLB hurler on the mound, and I bet them at -120 (implied 54.5%), a 13.6% edge compared to my projection.
I would play them up to -160 (implied 61.5%), a 6.6% edge but also my general limit for vig when betting baseball. An MLB team would need to play at a 100-win pace over a 162 game schedule to break even at -160 odds.
As for the total, I show a 5.93% edge on over 9.5 (-120), compared to my projection of 11.7 – but I wouldn’t play the over unless the juice comes down to -110, an 8% edge.
I think that the marketplace is underrating Esmil Rogers’ potential effectiveness in the CPBL – but I’m hesitant to bet the over in this matchup for the same reason.
CPBL Bets for April 17
- Chinatrust Brothers (-120, 1 unit)
- Chinatrust Brothers, -1.5 Runs (+145, 0.5 units)
CPBL Year to Date: 5-1 (+3.5 Units)