Zerillo’s CPBL Betting Odds & Picks: Rakuten Monkeys vs. Fubon Guardians (April 28)
Gene Wang/Getty Images. Pictured: Cheng Wei Chang
The CPBL, the only professional baseball league currently playing regular-season games, is back in action on Tuesday with one game at 6:35 a.m. ET.
The Fubon Guardians (4-6) will host the Rakuten Monkeys (7-2) after losing three games by scores of 11-10, 12-9, and 3-1 in their prior series from April 17-19.
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.
Rakuten Monkeys vs. Fubon Guardians Betting Odds
Monkeys odds: -270
Guardians odds: +205
First pitch: 6:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Justin Nicolino (Rakuten) vs. Bryan Woodall (Fubon)
Former Marlins pitcher Justin Nicolino will take the mound for the Monkeys, in what will go down as his first official start at the CPBL main level, after his start against the Brothers on April 23 was delayed in the third inning.
Prior to that outing, he looked sharp for Rakuten’s minor-league squad, posting 20 strikeouts against six walks in 23.1 innings pitched (2.31 ERA, 0.90 WHIP).
Nicolino pitched in 50 games (33 starts) for the Florida Marlins from 2015-2017, recording an 84 ERA+ with a 4.84 FIP — while striking out just 3.8 batters per nine innings.
Advanced metrics relative to his pitch types weren’t kind either, showing very low spin on his offerings.
He never had a high strikeout rate in the minor leagues, settling at 6.1 K/9 for his career with a 3.16 strikeout to walk ratio — fairly pedestrian numbers.
That said, he owns above-average velocity (93-94 mph fastball) for the CPBL level – harder than he was throwing in MLB (90.8 mph) -and he fills out his arsenal with a changeup, curveball, and cutter.
During his brief time in the major leagues, Nicolino’s changeup was his only offering to return a positive pitch value.
Check out its depth and movement away from right-handed hitters:
Pitchers who rely on their changeup often have reverse splits – and Nicolino is no exception, posting a .364 wOBA against right-handed hitters, compared to a .415 wOBA against lefties at the MLB level.
His opponent, Bryan Woodall, is a finesse righty – with an 86 mph fastball, 78 mph curveball, and 73 mph changeup.
He faced the Monkeys on April 17 and allowed the following line: 5 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 3 K; before getting shelled by the Lions just five days later: 2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 K.
Woodall was excellent in the CPBL in 2018, with a 3.68 FIP and 2.95 DIPS ERA – both second-best amongst starting pitchers:
But those numbers fell to 5.61 and 4.68 last season, as he finished 2-12 with a 5.48 ERA. That said, his strikeout-to-walk ratio has improved from 4.22 to 5.04, and 6.33 over the past three seasons, but he allowed an extra two hits (from 9.6 to 11.7), and 1.2 home runs (from 0.5 to 1.7) per nine innings in 2019 as compared to 2018.
So, is Woodall now that much worse than his elite self (relatively speaking) from two seasons ago, or is he something somewhere in between?
Even if you assume that Nicolino is an elite CPBL pitcher – with a projected FIP somewhere around 3.75 – and that Woodall is his 2019 self, with a projection around 5.5 – it’s hard to make the Monkeys such a substantial favorite in this game.
Even at the high end of the forecast, the Monkeys should be around -150 (implied 60%) for tomorrow; but that’s making a lot of assumptions.
The median projection for Rakuten is closer to 55% (implied -122) than 60%, leaving substantial value on the Guardians as home underdogs.
If Woodall can keep the game tight, the Guardians have a good chance to pull this one out as a significant underdog.
Its a relatively simple gameplan for defeating the three-time defending CPBL champion Monkeys:
If you stay with the Monkeys through 5/6 you have a chance. Get into their bullpen and it's anyone's game. Lions had that chance during the 9-8 loss in Taoyuan.
— Uni Lions Tom (@Chapeltom) April 24, 2020
Rakuten looked flat on Sunday after suffering their first loss of the season on Saturday in heartbreaking fashion, blowing a 7-2 lead.
Even if they regroup after the off-day, the Monkeys are still substantially overvalued for Tuesday’s contest.
I bet the Guardians at +225 (implied 30.8%) a 13% edge compared to my median projection at +128 (implied 43.8%), and a 9.6% edge compared to the more extreme projection (implied 40.4%) for Tuesday. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.
I would play the Guardians down to +200 (implied 33.3%), an edge somewhere between 7.1% and 10.5% depending upon the projection.
And I would pass on betting the total – there’s only a minuscule 1.46% edge in betting Over 10.5 (-110).
CPBL Bets for April 28
- Fubon Guardians (+225, 1 unit)
CPBL Year to Date: 18-8 (+9.35 Units)