Zerillo’s CPBL Betting Odds & Picks: Uni-President Lions vs. Fubon Guardians (April 21)
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The CPBL, the only professional baseball league currently playing games, is back in action on Tuesday with one game at 6:35 a.m. ET.
The Fubon Guardians (2-3) will hope to snap a three-game losing streak in their home opener against the Uni-President Lions (2-4).
For more information about the CPBL, check out my opening day betting guide.
Below, you can find the listed odds for Tuesday’s game, alongside my projections, analysis, and wagers for Tuesday.
Uni-President Lions vs. Fubon Guardians Betting Odds
Lions odds: +185
Guardians odds: -240
First pitch: 6:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Pan Wei-Lun (Uni) vs. Chen Shih-Peng (Fubon)
Tuesday’s lone game features a pair of Taiwanese starting pitchers born 15.5 years apart, as the Lions’ 38-year-old righty Pan Wei-Lun faces the Guardians’ 22-year-old southpaw Chen Shih-Peng – who was just five years old when the former made his CPBL debut in 2003.
Through 2010, Pan was one of the best pitchers in Taiwan; but then injuries slowly derailed his career. He still owns a lifetime 3.32 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, however, great numbers for the offense-friendly CPBL.
But he pitched to a 5.10 ERA, 5.04 FIP, and 4.35 DIPS ERA in 2019, and his inability to generate strikeouts is a significant concern, with a 5.1 K/9 mark for his career dropping under four last season.
The righty is a junk-baller (fastball, cutter, slider, curveball, changeup/forkball) whose velocity tops out in the mid-eighties.
As evidenced in his first start against the Rakuten Monkeys, he’s going to throw a lot of strikes (54 of 79, 68%) and also permit a bevy of hard-contact (nine hits, four homers after 25 batters faced).
Pan will have his good days when his defenders make all of the plays behind him:
— CPBL 中華職棒 (@CPBL) June 2, 2019
Guardians’ starter Chen Shih-Peng labored a bit in his first 2020 outing against the Brothers (5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 K; 58 strikes in 94 pitches), but was already one of the more effective Taiwanese arms in 2019 at a very young age (4.52 FIP, 3.89 DIPS ERA) and was named the CPBL’s most improved player.
He offers strong command, with a walk rate a tick better than league average. Still, his strikeout rate was 4.5% below league average, and he stranded 75% of baserunners in 2019 – 8.3% higher than league average – so his 3.48 ERA was a bit misleading.
I do like Peng’s stuff. His fastball sits between 85-88 mph, but he’s not afraid to throw the pitch with confidence up in the zone. He also appears to mix in a slider (81-83 mph), slow curveball (68-72 mph) and changeup (76 mph) as his secondary offerings.
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) September 23, 2019
On Saturday, he draws the CPBL’s most whiff-heavy lineup. Here’s how the four CPBL teams stack up in terms of OPS and plate discipline metrics through one week:
- Monkeys: 7.7% BB; 15.9% K; 1.060 OPS
- Guardians: 7.6% BB; 20.1% K; 0.771 OPS
- Brothers: 10% BB; 17.5% K; 0.765 OPS
- Lions: 5.8% BB; 30.4% K; 0.689 OPS
Yep, that’s the Lions pushing a K-BB% near 25%, nearly double that of any other offense.
They’ve also been the worst team defensively – with a .966 fielding percentage when the other three sides are at .980 or above, and they have committed twice as many errors (8) as any other team.
But the Guardians pitching, their expected strength, has struggled mainly outside of their ace Henry Sosa – recording a league-low 15.1% strikeout rate and 1.66 WHIP as a staff.
And the Lions staff is the only one with a double-digit walk rate (10.1%) or a strikeout to walk ratio below 2:1.
That said their closer, Chen Yun-Wen (4.32 FIP in 2019) looked dominant on Sunday:
K! K! K!
2019 Annual saves leader, Chen Yun-Wen, pitches a perfect inning of relief.
— CPBL 中華職棒 (@CPBL) April 19, 2020
Tuesday’s game could turn into a high-variance, high-scoring contest, and I see a slight edge in backing the Lions again as a big plus-money underdog.
I waited for the number to climb to +200 (implied 33.3%) on the Lions, a 3.5% edge compared to my projection at 37%, before making a half-unit moneyline play.
I also found a rare +2 spread at plus-money, and took a half unit taste there as well.
Lastly, the total opened at 13.5 but was bet down to as low as 11. Now that the number has settled, I’ll make a small plus-money play on Over 11.5 (+115), an 8% edge compared to my projection at 12.6, and would bet it down to +110 – a 6.9% edge.
CPBL Bets for April 21
- Lions (+200, 0.5 units)
- Lions +2 (+102, 0.5 units)
- Over 11.5 (+115, 0.5 units)
CPBL Year to Date: 10-3 (+6.2 Units)