Zerillo’s CPBL Betting Odds & Picks: Rakuten Monkeys vs. Uni-President Lions & Chinatrust Brothers vs. Fubon Guardians (April 24)
Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images. Pictured: Chih-Hsien Chiang #5
The CPBL, the only professional baseball league currently playing regular-season games, is back in action on Friday with a pair of games at 6:35 a.m. ET.
The Chinatrust Brothers (2-5) will visit the Fubon Guardians (3-4), and the undefeated Rakuten Monkeys (6-0) will face the Uni-President Lions (3-5) after they were rained out in the third inning of Thursday’s contest with the Monkeys leading 4-1.
For more information about the CPBL, check out my opening day betting guide.
Below, you can find the listed odds for Friday’s games, alongside my projections, analysis and wagers.
Rakuten Monkeys vs. Uni-Lions Betting Odds
Monkeys odds: -225
Lions odds: +175
First pitch: 6:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Wang Yi-Cheng (Rakuten) vs. Chiang Chen-Yen (Uni)
This total immediately caught my attention in a game featuring two domestic starters with the Monkeys offense guaranteed nine turns at-bat on the road.
Uni-Lions southpaw Chiang Chen-Yen owns a career 5.02 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in the CPBL, though he has improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio from a career mark of 1.84 to 2.22 over the past three seasons.
He was solid in his first start of the season against the struggling Chinatrust offense: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
That said, he carried a 5.61 FIP and 4.71 DIPS ERA in 2019, and the Monkeys have been a consistent thorn in his side.
Over 21 games and 123 innings pitched against Friday’s opponent, Chiang is 5-12 against with a career 6.66 ERA, 1.79 WHIP and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.76, which declines to 1.43 if you count his 14 hit batsmen.
He has a relatively straightforward plan of attack — high fastballs (88-91 mph) and slow (63-69 mph) curveballs:
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) June 26, 2019
Once the hitters have him timed, however, things get ugly. In 2019, for example, he allowed at least five runs or more in eight of 18 starts.
And his rough history against the Monkeys doesn’t inspire much confidence going into Friday.
The lefty will face a fellow southpaw in Rakuten starter Yi-Cheng Wang, who has compiled a career 4.89 ERA, 1.52 WHIP and 2.24 strikeout-to-walk ratio over eight years in the CPBL. In his mid-thirties, he has improved to an ERA in the mid 4s with a strikeout-to-walk rate north of 3.0.
He faced the Lions last week and was strong in victory: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K, though he did allow a pair of home runs. Historically, he is 21-11 against the Lions, with a 4.98 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, and last season he allowed at least four runs or more against them in four of eight starts.
Wang isn’t overpowering, with a fastball (88 mph)/slider (80 mph)/changeup (78 mph) mix, but he’s consistently effective while eating up nearly six innings per start.
The total is low for this game, listed at 9.5 or 10 when I project this as the highest-scoring game thus far in the 2020 season, accounting for more than 13 runs, and I said the same thing before Chiang Chen-Yen’s last start.
By betting Over 10 (-110), I’m playing a 12.86% edge compared to my projected total at 13.7. I would bet that Over up to 11 (-115), a 7.3% edge.
Additionally, I played the Uni-Lions in their home opener for a half-unit at +182 (implied 35.5%), a 5.5% edge compared to my projection (41%), and I would bet them down to +167 (implied 37.5%), a 3.5% edge.
Chinatrust Brothers vs. Fubon Guardians Betting Odds
Brothers odds: -180
Guardians odds: +140
First pitch: 6:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Ariel Miranda (Chinatrust) vs. Chiang Kuo-Hao (Fubon)
Chinatrust southpaw Ariel Miranda is quickly establishing himself as one of the best pitchers in the CPBL after dominating the Lions offense twice already:
- April 12: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R. 4 BB, 7 K (63 of 103 pitches for strikes)
- April 18: 7 IP. 3 H, 2 R. 1 BB, 10 K (72 of 104 pitches for strikes)
Miranda’s fastball/splitter combination could likely still succeed out of a major league bullpen, and it’s no wonder that CPBL hitters have found those offerings difficult to handle:
Our old friend, Cuban pitcher Ariel Miranda (O’s, Mariners), gets out of the 7th with a strikeout. Nuestro viejo amigo, el lanzador cubano Ariel Miranda, sale del 7mo con ponche. pic.twitter.com/yEe2YZnCR0
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) April 18, 2020
It’s easy to make Miranda a big favorite after just a couple of starts, but the Brothers have struggled to score runs thus far, just 3.7 per game, nearly two runs fewer per game than in 2019 — and even lost Miranda’s first outing, 4-1.
Fubon will send out 22-year-old Chiang Kuo-Hao, who pitched 11 games for the Guardians in 2019 after being drafted in the first round out of college.
He was pretty sharp in his first start of this season against the Monkeys (5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R. 1 BB, 4 K; 66 of 103 pitches for strikes) and seems to have both solid mechanics and a sound base to develop strong command further.
He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, however, with an arsenal consisting of a fastball (89-91 mph), slider (81-82 mph) and changeup (82), and a two-seamer that has a ton of arm-side run.
Check out this excellent three-pitch sequence (slider/fastball/changeup), for an idea at what he’s working with:
In terms of opponent, Chiang goes from facing the CPBL’s hottest offense to by far its coldest. Miranda is the tradeoff.
I bet a half-unit on the Guardians at +145 (implied 40.8%), a 4.4% edge compared to my projection at +121 (implied 45.2%), and I would continue to play them down to +140 (implied 41.7%), a 3.5% edge.
CPBL Bets for April 24
- Monkeys-Lions, Over 10 (-110, 1.5 units)
- Uni-Lions (+182, 0.5 units)
- Fubon Guardians (+145, 0.5 units)
CPBL Year to Date: 12-6 (+5.28 Units)