Zerillo’s CPBL Betting Odds & Picks: Rakuten Monkeys vs. Uni-President Lions & Chinatrust Brothers vs. Fubon Guardians (April 25)
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The CPBL, the only professional baseball league currently playing regular-season games, is back in action on Saturday with a pair of games at 5:35 a.m. ET.
The Chinatrust Brothers (3-5) will visit the Fubon Guardians (3-5) in a battle between two of the better starters in the CPBL, and the Rakuten Monkeys (7-0) will hope to stay undefeated against the Uni-President Lions (3-6).
For more information about the CPBL, check out my opening day betting guide.
Below, you can find the listed odds for Saturday’s games, alongside my projections, analysis, and wagers.
Rakuten Monkeys vs. Uni-Lions Betting Odds
Monkeys odds: -240
Lions odds: +185
First pitch: 5:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Lisalverto Bonilla (Rakuten) vs. Ryan Feierabend (Uni)
As I mentioned before his last start, I’m not very high on Monkey’s righty Lisalverto Bonilla. The former MLB hurler spent time with five different clubs before recently pitching in Korea, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
In seven seasons, 80 games, and 246 innings of foreign professional baseball, Bonilla has a 5.19 ERA, 7.9 K/9, and 3.6 BB/9 (2.17 K/BB), including a 5.95 ERA in the KBO in 2018.
He faced the Guardians in his first CPBL start and was very effective, being named as the game MVP: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K
Here is one of his preseason starts, where you can see his full arsenal, including a fastball (88-90 mph), curveball (80-81 mph), and changeup (82 mph) — which he distributed on a 50/25/25 basis at the MLB level.
His stuff isn’t overly impressive, and his command metrics leave more to be desired. Despite his major league pedigree and the successful first outing, I’m still projecting Bonilla as roughly a league-average pitcher in the CPBL, at least for now.
Ryan Feierabend makes his third start for the Lions, but his first against an offensive besides the struggling Chinatrust Brothers, who he faced on April 12 (5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4K) and again on April 18 (6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3K).
The southpaw became a knuckleballer in 2017 while pitching for the KT Wiz in Korea – posting a 4:1 strikeout to walk rate over two years before getting signed by the Toronto Blue Jays.
On any given day, his performance offers a wide range of outcomes:
統一はライアン・フィラベンド(34 LHP)を獲得。MLB通算33試合2勝12敗 ERA7.34。15〜16年途中までKBOリーグ・ネクセン、16年途中〜18年までKBOリーグ・ktでプレーし通算114試合36勝42敗 ERA4.14。昨季はブルージェイズでプレーし2試合1敗 5.2IP ERA11.12。登録名は「費爾本」。 pic.twitter.com/JAZJ3BjWsR
— 台湾プロ野球ニュース（中華職棒新聞） (@cpbl_news) January 31, 2020
The Monkeys currently have a .399 on-base percentage and 1.013 OPS as a team – they’re extremely patient and powerful and will punish Feierabend if the knuckleballer isn’t dancing.
The Lions offer value at +185 (implied 35.1%) relative to my projection at +131 (implied 43.3%) – an 8% edge. I added a half-unit on the Lions six-hours before first pitch, at +215 (implied 31.7%), an 11.6% edge compared to my projection.
Additionally, I bet a 9% edge on Over 9.5 (-110), compared to my projected total at 12, and I would continue to bet that up to 10 (-115) a 5.5% edge.
That said, I only wagered one-half of a unit on either – if that Knuckleball is dancing for Feierabend, the Monkeys could struggle to score; but if its not, the Lions could be hopeless.
I projected this baseball game like I would any other, but there is a higher degree of variance baked into this one.
Chinatrust Brothers vs. Fubon Guardians Betting Odds
Brothers odds: +132
Guardians odds: -165
First pitch: 5:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Esmil Rogers (Chinatrust) vs. Henry Sosa (Fubon)
By CPBL standards, this game features an elite pitching matchup between arguably the two most effective right-handed pitchers to take the mound in 2020.
That being said, I don’t see much value on either a side or total in this matchup.
Esmil Rogers was dominant in his CPBL debut against the Uni-Lions (7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K) on April 17,
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 appears to be over the broken hand that he suffered in 2018 in Korea, causing his release after posting a 3.58 ERA and 3.10 K/BB ratio over 29 starts and 196.1 IP – and leading to further control issues in the Mexican league.
He offers good velocity for the CPBL (94 mph) along with a pair of breaking balls – with his slider grading out as an above-average MLB pitch during his last time around the league.
Guardians starter Henry Sosa takes his third turn of the 2020 season and his second against the Brothers, after allowing four hits and one run over seven innings on April 14.
This will be his sixth career start against the Brothers – he’s 4-0 with a 0.95 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, and a 38:6 strikeout to walk ratio over 38 innings pitched.
He’s also the only pitcher to stifle the Monkeys offense in 2020 – allowing just two runs over seven innings.
As a reminder, here’s how Sosa’s 2019 metrics compared to his teammate, Mike Loree – who is considered to be the Jacob deGrom of the CPBL:
- Sosa: 1.56 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 23% K-BB%, 2.95 FIP, 2.32 DIPS ERA, 168 ERA+
- Loree: 2.78 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 20% K-BB%, 3.43 FIP, 2.76 DIPS ERA, 144 ERA+
In other words, Sosa was 68% better than your average CPBL pitcher, while Loree was 44% better than average.
He owns a fastball in the mid-nineties, which he likes to throw high in the zone, paired with a sharp slider (81 mph) and an occasional changeup (85 mph):
This game received my lowest projected total thus far in the 2020 CPBL season, but oddsmakers appear to have it measured correctly.
CPBL Bets for April 25
- Monkeys-Lions, Over 9.5 (-110, 0.5 units)
- Uni-Lions (+215, 0.5 Units)
CPBL Year to Date: 13-8 (+5.78 Units)