KBO Odds, Picks & Betting Model (May 6): LG Twins vs. Doosan Bears, Uni-Lions vs. CTBC Brothers & More
JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: LG Twins’ Jeong Keun-woo (R) slides at home plate as Doosan Bears’ Park Sei-hyok (L).
By Wednesday morning at 6:35 a.m. ET, baseball fans on the east coast will wake up to a delightful gift: six live games simultaneously in action across the CPBL and the KBO.
I placed three bets thus far, and see some value elsewhere that I would be cautious about playing into, due to some questionable starting pitching announcements.
After a successful KBO opening day and first month in the CPBL, let’s travel around the world again and analyze the most extensive baseball betting slate in some time.
- KBO Year to Date: 3-2 (+2.08 Units)
- CPBL Year to Date: 23-14 (+7.13 Units)
KBO Betting Odds
Doosan Bears vs. LG Twins
Bears moneyline: -175
Twins moneyline: +135
Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Young-ha Lee (Bears) vs. Eun-beom Song (Twins)
The over, which was listed at 8.5 for ESPN’s first KBO telecast on Tuesday between the Dinos and Lions, took a ton of action — and with good reason; during the past two seasons, the Lions home park, Daegu is the best park for offenses in the KBO relative to league average — by roughly 11%.
Unfortunately, some offenses around the league, including the Lions, looked out of sync after on opening day, taking a few days off following the end of an abbreviated spring training.
The general public loves to bet overs, mainly when they are new to a sport. That strategy has paid off in dividends for CPBL bettors to date, but I’m not expecting the same with the de-juiced ball in the KBO — lots of hard-hit balls will simply die in the outfield.
That said, I did plan to bet the Over 9 in Wednesday’s ESPN matchup — between the defending-champion Doosan Bears and the LG Twins, but every time I re-checked the line, it had moved up 10 cents again.
After opening at Over 9 (-105), it now stands at Over 10 (-110) in some places, but there’s no value left on a number that I projected at 9.9.
On the surface, Bears starter Young-Ha Lee seemingly took a step forward in his age-21 campaign, going 17-4 with a 3.64 ERA, but his strikeout to walk ratio declined from his age 19 and 20 seasons (1.65) to last year (1.48).
He needs to generate weak contact to survive.
And I don’t fully know what the Twins are planning to do with Eun-beom Song, a 36-year-old with extensive starting experience, who has worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the past two years — recording 131 appearances.
But it looks like they’re going with a bullpen day to stifle the champs, and I’m willing to see if they can put the Bears on their heels — and steal two consecutive games as home underdogs to start the season.
The Twins offense was extremely patient at the plate on Tuesday, drawing five walks against six strikeouts, while loudly encouraging one another from the bench every time that they took a pitch to work a count.
Offensively they’re led by former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Hyun-soo Kim, a doubles machine in the KBO who walked (54) more times than he struck out (52) in 2019. He has exceptional bat control for this level:
I bet the Twins at +158 (implied 38.8%), an 8.1% edge compared to my projection (46.9%) and would play them down to +145. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.
Doosan Bears vs. LG Twins Picks
- Twins +158 (1 unit)
NC Dinos vs. Samsung Lions
Probable Pitchers: Mike Wright (Dinos) vs. Ben Lively (Lions)
As I mentioned above, the Lions play in the most offensive-friendly park in the KBO.
It will be interesting to see how former Baltimore Oriole and Seattle Mariner Mike Wright handles that environment. The MLB veteran of 110 games and 258 innings pitched to a 5.03 xFIP at the MLB level, but his 3.76 ERA in the high-minors is probably more indicative of his likely impact in the KBO.
Wright’s best pitch is his slider – over five seasons in MLB, it returned a positive pitch value on two occasions. Furthermore, he offers pretty good velocity for the KBO level, sitting around 94 mph on average.
He will make his KBO debut against former Phillies and Royals pitcher Ben Lively, who posted a 5.50 xFIP over 20 MLB starts and 26 appearances and prefers the curveball as his weapon of choice.
Lively joined the Lions at the end of the 2019 season and posted a 3.18 FIP with a 9.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 over nine starts – making him one of the most efficient pitchers in the KBO; albeit in a small sample.
Wright might end up being a better pitcher than Lively at the KBO level – he was a bit better as an MLB pitcher, after all. But Lively had better numbers in the high-minors, so it’s hard to project Wright as a substantially better pitcher.
If you think they’re the same, this game is a coin flip. Wright would have to be an MVP-level pitcher to justify the attention that he’s getting, on the road, against what is likely a fellow KBO ace.
I bet on the Lions at +120 (implied 45.5%), a 4.7% edge thinking that the line would move the other direction. You can probably get a better price now, and I wouldn’t play them below +120 at this point. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds
I also played the Over on the total at plus-money after it dropped down from as high as 9.5 at the open. I would play Over 8 up to -110, a 7.9% edge.
NC Dinos vs. Samsung Lions Picks
- Samsung Lions +120 (1 unit)
- Dinos/Lions, Over 8 (+110, 0.5 units)
Kiwoom Heroes vs. Kia Tigers
Probable Pitchers: Eric Jokisch (Heroes) vs. Aaron Brooks (Tigers)
Nobody looked better than the Kiwoom Heroes on Tuesday, who put up four runs against South Korea’s best starter, Hyun-jong Yang, and 11 overall against the KIA Tigers.
The Heroes recorded 12 hits six walks, and managed their pitching well, using six arms to get through nine innings efficiently.
They looked every bit the team that I recommended as potentially the KBO’s best, and I would again tell you to take a futures position on them at +450 or better, as I suggested in my KBO betting guide.
Perhaps we’ll come to regret betting against them twice to start he 2020 season, and especially with Eric Jokisch on the mound. The southpaw posted a 3.27 FIP over 30 starts (181 IP) in 2019, for the KBO’s best pitching staff.
He was effective in the minors, and perhaps much more so than Aaron Brooks, who makes his KBO debut for the Tigers.
But Brooks is the one with four years and nearly a full season’s worth of starts at the MLB level, with an additional 20 appearances on top of that. His home run issue (1.6 HR/9) will be mostly eradicated in the KBO.
And he’s got a pair of breaking balls, in addition to a pretty solid changeup which he can mix into his arsenal. I like betting on teams and players before the market has a true chance to adjust.
Brooks has exactly the type of pedigree for former MLB pitchers who become dominant in the KBO – the question is whether he can bypass the Heroes buzzsaw.
I bet the Tigers at +150 (implied 40%), a 7% edge compared to my projection, and I would bet them down to about +135. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.
Kiwoom Heroes vs. KIA Tigers Picks
- Kia Tigers +150 (1 unit)
CPBL Betting Odds
Uni-Lions vs. CTBC Brothers
Brothers moneyline: -113
Time: 6:35 a.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Pan Wei-Lun (Lions) vs. Liao Yi-Chung (Brothers)
This game is a rematch from April 30 which the Lions won 12-6 in the same pitching match at home as a +150 underdog.
I didn’t make a play that day – as I agreed with the line set by oddsmakers, but I find it curious that in the same pitching matchup one week later, with the Brothers now at home, that they’re listed as a pick’em.
Starter Liao Yi-Chung was shelled in that outing, allowing three walks and five runs before getting pulled in the first inning, but he didn’t have his command in that start (18 of 38 pitches for strikes).
The Brothers brought him back in relief against the world-beating Rakuten Monkeys on May 2, and he retired seven of nine hitters against the team that he also shut down on April 22 for seven innings.
If you like big breaking balls, Liao is your guy:
Despite their recent offensive surge, the Lions are dead last at -28 in run differential thanks to their woeful bullpen. The Monkeys are on top of the CPBL at +36, while the Brothers are just below par at -1, and the Fubon Guardians are -7.
The Brothers have suffered some injuries within their lineup and bullpen over the past week, but I still make them a -144 favorite (implied 59%) in this home rematch against Pan Wei-Lun – who has allowed 19 runs and seven homers in 11.2 innings pitched this season.
I played a 5.5% edge on the Brothers’ moneyline at -115 (implied 53.5%), compared to my projection at -144 (implied 59.5%). I would bet them up to -125 (implied 55.6%), a 4% edge. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.
There is a very slight edge on Under 14.5 (-110), but I wouldn’t recommend a betting unders in the CPBL. In a four-team league, the minute that one team takes a sizable lead, the remainder of the game turns into mop-up duty.
You’ll come to regret betting unders in the CPBL.
Full CPBL Betting Card for May 6
- CTBC Brothers (-115, 1 unit)
CPBL Year to Date: 23-14 (+7.13 Units)
Full KBO Betting Card for May 6
- KIA Tigers +150 (1 unit)
- LG Twins +158 (1 unit)
- Samsung Lions +120 (1 unit)
- Dinos/Lions, Over 8 (+110, 0.5 units)
KBO Year to Date: 3-2 (+2.08 Units)
Zerillo’s Full KBO Model, 5/6
Download the Excel doc with my projections to input odds from your sportsbook. These projections cover the full game moneylines and over/unders. A sample of one of the sheets is below: