Zerillo’s CPBL Betting Odds & Picks: CTBC Brothers vs. Uni-Lions (April 30)
Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images. Pictured: Fu-Lin Kuo #5 of Uni-Lions
The CPBL, the only professional baseball league currently playing regular-season games, is back in action on Thursday with one game at 6:35 a.m. ET.
The Uni-Lions (5-7) will host the CTBC Brothers (5-6), the second of five games in five consecutive days for both teams.
For more information about the CPBL, check out my opening day betting guide.
Below, you can find the listed odds for Thursday’s game, alongside my projections, analysis, and wagers.
CTBC Brothers vs. Uni-Lions Betting Odds
Brothers odds: -190
Lions odds: +150
First pitch: 6:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Liao Yi-Chung (CTBC) vs. Pan Wei-Lun (Uni)
It was a divisive mix of emotions on Wednesday morning, holding tickets both for the Over 10.5 and Lions (+150), as their manager Lin Yueh-Ping left his starting pitcher in the game into the 7th inning, with a newly secured 4-3 lead.
Donn Roach, with a career 7-21 record and an ERA north of five in foreign professional baseball, promptly surrendered the game-tying home run.
Three batters later, he allowed the go-ahead blast on his 117th pitch of the night:
Playing their first of five games over five consecutive days, Lin was hoping to get as much length as possible out of his starting pitcher, while looking to save his bullpen — the bizarro Joe Torre approach.
His plan backfired and the Lions took the L. But with Pan Wei-Lun starting on Thursday, they may need all hands on deck.
The Lions recently signed Wei-Lun to a two-year contract extension, though that speaks to the overall lack of pitching quality in the CPBL than it does to the righty’s current effectiveness.
The 38-year-old pitcher used to be one of the best starters in Taiwan, a workhorse who has accumulated CPBL-record 143 career wins since 2003.
And while he can still rack up innings (120 over 23 starts in 2019), his stuff and command had eroded from a career 5.1 K/9 and 3.87 K/BB to 3.9 and 2.60 respectively last season.
Even still, that makes him a serviceable arm for what is easily the worst pitching staff in the CPBL.
Oddly, however, the extension was announced after he turned in a couple of terrible performances in his first two starts of the 2020 campaign:
- April 15 (vs. Rakuten): 5.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 4 K (4 HR allowed)
- April 21 (vs. Fubon): 1.1 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 2 BB, 1 K (2 HR allowed)
He pitched to a 5.10 ERA, 5.04 FIP and 4.35 DIPS ERA in 2019, but his inability to generate strikeouts is a significant concern, especially with the Lions’ league-worst defense behind him.
A strike-thrower with mediocre stuff (fastball tops 85-87 mph, with a cutter, slider, curveball, changeup/forkball), it’s no surprise that Pan’s home-run rate is on the rise.
Brothers’ righty Liao Yi-Chung also doesn’t throw particularly hard, but he has some very sharp breaking stuff, as evidenced by his dominant effort against the Monkeys on April 22 (7IP, 9 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K).
He exhibits extreme confidence in his secondary pitches, including a slider, curveball and forkball, with a willingness to throw them in any count.
But he also showed pretty noticeable command splits in 2019, with a 43:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio against right-handed hitters, alongside a 26% strikeout rate, compared to a 19:15 mark against lefties, with a 12.5% strikeout rate.
The 24-year-old comes “from a family of pitchers — his father pitched in the Taiwanese minors, his mother for the Taiwanese national softball team,” and his brother played in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system.
It’s not very surprising that this youngster made his way from undrafted developmental player to the Taiwanese national team, and he should continue to improve with age.
That said, the Brothers used five relievers on Wednesday, and still need to get through three more games this weekend, while the Lions were conservative with their bullpen because it’s so bad.
Additionally, Brothers’ closer C.C. Lee suffered a ninth-inning injury on Wednesday, a major blow in losing arguably the CPBL’s best reliever, who posted a 1.97 FIP and 1.41 DIPS ERA in 2019.
However, as of writing, I don’t see value on either side of the moneyline or on the total.
I would consider a half-unit play on the Brothers at -130 (implied 56.5%) or on the Lions at +174 (implied 36.5%), a 3.5% edge respectively on either side compared to my projections at -150 (implied 60%) or +150 (implied 40%), but will otherwise refrain. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.
Further, the listed total (12.5) is pretty much in line with my projection (12.36), so any actionable value will require substantial movement down to Over 11 (-110), a 3.4% edge, or up to Under 13.5 (-105), a 3.2% edge.
I’ll hold off on making any plays for now but will circle back roughly eight hours before first pitch, once team totals and first-five inning lines are available.
CTBC Brothers vs. Uni-Lions Picks
Full CPBL Betting Card for April 30
CPBL Year to Date: 19-11 (+7.24 Units)