Zerillo’s CPBL Betting Odds & Picks: Rakuten Monkeys vs. Chinatrust Brothers (April 23)
Gene Wang/Getty Images. Pictured: Outfielder Chih Hao Chang #7 of CTBC Brothers.
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 as the undefeated Rakuten Monkeys (6-0) will again face the Chinatrust Brothers (2-5), following a close, 3-2 extra-innings victory on Wednesday.
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 for Thursday.
Rakuten Monkeys vs. Chinatrust Brothers Betting Odds
Monkeys odds: -270
Brothers odds: +205
First pitch: 6:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Justin Nicolino (Rakuten) vs. Huang En-Sih (Chinatrust)
Huang En-Sih will make his second start of the season for the Brothers, after a solid six-inning effort (6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 7 K) against the Guardians on April 15.
Perhaps the 23-year-old righty has taken a step forward in his second year after Tommy John Surgery. He tossed just 68 innings in 2019, permitting a 6.30 FIP with a 5.31 DIPS ERA while getting rocked by left-handed hitters (.358 average, 15 BB, 20 K in 154 PA).
But as I previously mentioned, Sih has pretty good stuff compared to other domestic starters — with solid velocity on his fastball (88-93 mph) paired with a forkball (81 mph) and slider (80 mph).
He’s going to have to overcome some past struggles against this Monkeys offense — permitting a 9.53 ERA in 22.2 innings pitched, with just 12 strikeouts against five walks and five home runs allowed.
His teammate, Liao Yi-Chung, kept the Monkeys off-balance with a steady diet of breaking balls on Wednesday — so I would expect to see a litany of forkballs from this righty on Thursday.
The Brothers’ offense will have to get something going against former MLB pitcher Justin Nicolino, having scored a CPBL-low 26 runs in seven games (3.71 runs per game).
For context, the Brothers averaged 5.6 runs per game in 2019, and the 2020 Monkeys have more than doubled their run total (53) while playing one fewer game.
Nicolino pitched in 50 games (33 starts) for the Florida Marlins, recording an 84 ERA+ with a 4.84 FIP — while striking out just 3.8 batters per nine innings.
He never had a high strikeout rate in the minor leagues, either, settling at 6.1 K/9 for his career with a 3.16 strikeout to walk ratio — fairly pedestrian numbers.
He has looked pretty sharp for Rakuten’s minor-league squad, however, posting 20 strikeouts against six walks in 23.1 innings pitched (2.31 ERA, 0.90 WHIP), and his diverse pitch mix should serve him well against CPBL hitters:
- 53% Fastball (90.8 mph)
- 20% Changeup (83.4 mph)
- 17% Curveball (77.2 mph)
- 10% Cutter (87.7 mph)
During his brief time in the major leagues, Nicolino’s changeup was his only offering to return a positive pitch value, which is interesting because he only ranked in the eighth percentile for fastball spin rate and the 18th percentile for fastball velocity amongst MLB pitchers.
The Brothers continue to struggle offensively, but they are due for some positive regression.
Despite the 3-2 final score, Wednesday’s game featured 23 hits, and four walks, so more than 80% of baserunners were left stranded; compared to the league average of 66%.
I show value on both the Brothers and the over in Thursday’s matchup.
I bet a half-unit on the Brothers at +209 (implied 32.4%), an 8.1% edge compared to my projection at +147 (implied 40.5%), and I’ll consider adding more at a better number.
I also bet a half-unit on Over 9 (-104), a 13.5% edge compared to my projection at 12.14, and may consider adding more at a better number.
CPBL Bets for April 23
- Chinatrust Brothers (+209, 0.5 units)
- Monkeys/Brothers, Over 9 (-104, 0.5 units)
CPBL Year to Date: 12-6 (+5.28 Units)