KBO Odds, Picks & Betting Model (May 8): Kia Tigers vs. Samsung Lions & More

KBO Odds, Picks & Betting Model (May 8): Kia Tigers vs. Samsung Lions & More article feature image

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If you had blindly bet one unit on every KBO underdog through three days of the 2020 season, you would be 7-8, but up +1.05 units at worst – with an additional unit or so in your pocket too depending upon how well you had timed the market.

I’m starting to get my market timing down in the KBO – a unique challenge with games starting early in the morning on the east coast – and with lines coming out between 2-3 p.m. ET the day before.

So far, the underdog prices have all seemed to dip early before bouncing back up later in the evening.

I patiently waited for the numbers that I wanted on Wednesday, betting the Hanwha Eagles at +165 (closed +150) and the Samsung Lions at +150 (closed +125). I also bet the favored KT Wiz at -114 after they moved down from -130 at open, and they ultimately closed at -141.

Yet despite all of this encouraging closing line value, I missed the peak price by 10 cents on both of the underdog plays – and I’m still thinking about that lost one-tenth of one unit – because those add up big-time during a baseball season.

These are the things that I always think about.

So, even though there are five KBO and two CPBL games on tap for Friday morning – I wouldn’t rush to lock in any KBO underdogs right away – they’ll likely move up right away or go down in price but bounce back within a few hours.

For CPBL and KBO favorites and totals you like, by all means, lock in your price – but patience is the true virtue for underdog bettors in these leagues.

If you are looking for more information about the KBO League, check out my season primer. If you want to know more about Taiwan’s CPBL, you can find that here.

  • KBO Year to Date: 5-8 (-1.42 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 25-16 (+7.54 Units)

Odds as of Thursday at 7 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

KBO Betting Odds

Kia Tigers vs. Samsung Lions

Tigers moneyline: -150
Lions moneyline: +117
Over/under: 8.5
5:30 a.m. ET

Probable Pitchers:  Drew Gagnon (Tigers) vs. Chae-heung Choi (Lions)

If you have watched any KBO action on ESPN thus far, there’s a good chance that you have seen the Lions – and have been underwhelmed by their offense.

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise – they posted a 64 wRC+ in 2019, as the worst offense in the KBO by more than 20%.

Now under the direction of Sam-young Huh, a former pitcher who previously headed the Lions’ analytics department, they remain a team to watch out for going forward – but are pretty much in full rebuilding mode for the 2020 campaign.

They lost their best hitter, Darrin Ruf, who posted a .968 OPS over three seasons, to the San Francisco Giants, and replaced him with Tyler Saladino (.608 OPS in 300+ MLB games) – a reliable defender at multiple positions who doesn’t bring a power dynamic to their offense.

They did reunite with a sound closer in Seung-hwan Oh, who pitched for the Lions from 2005-2013 before leaving for Japan (two seasons, 2.25 ERA) and MLB (4 seasons, 3.31 ERA) but have some rotation questions in addition to their offensive deficiencies.

Hopefully, Chae-heung Choi can answer some of those questions. The 25-year-old lefty made 15 starts in 2019 and turned in six quality outings – including four over his final six turns of the season posting a 26:12 strikeout to walk ratio in 35.1 innings.

Drew Gagnon will be a fun pitcher to watch at the KBO level – and not just for me as a Mets fan.

Gagnon tossed 35 innings in Queens, posting a 5.97 xFIP, but that was primarily the result of a 24.5% HR/FB rate and 3.28 HR/9 mark – both of which are unsustainably bad.

He allowed 13 home runs in 35.2 MLB innings—only the Mets.

But he throws relatively hard (92.4 mph) and offers an an-above average MLB changeup, which means he has an out-pitch against KBO hitters:

Gagnon also had a lot of success in the high minors, posting a 9.5 K/9 with a 3.91 K/BB between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018. He could be a good one in this league.

The Tigers have a strong bullpen, and the addition of a couple of MLB hurlers in Aaron Brooks and Gagnon, behind the best domestic KBO pitcher in Hyeon-jong Yang, gives this team formidable pitching staff.

However, they ranked 7th in wRC+ in 2019, leaving us with a couple of weak offenses against solid pitching, but in a good park for run-scoring.

I would make Gagnon and the Tigers just about a -135 road favorite (implied 57.5%), meaning that I would need something more significant than a 5% edge with -110 (implied 52.5%) as the cutoff to bet the Tigers. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

Conversely, I would look for a 5% edge around +167 (implied 37.5%) or higher on the Lions, who project to win as a home underdog 42.5% of the time. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

I project the total for a hair over 9.5 – and would bet Over 8 (-115) at a 5.2% edge or Over 8.5 (-105) at a 4.5% edge, but wouldn’t lay more juice or bet a higher number than those.

KIA Tigers vs. Samsung Lions Picks

  • Tigers/Lions Over 8 (-110, 0.5 units)

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN, and WV only.]

SK Wyverns vs. Lotte Giants

Wyverns moneyline: -134
Giants moneyline: +106
Over/Under: 9
5:30 a.m. ET

Probable Pitchers:  Seung-won Moon (Wyverns) vs. Kyung-eun Noh (Giants)

The Lotte Giants finished dead last in the KBO – with 48 wins and a 34% win rate in 2019, so it’s incredible to see them start out 3-0 this season – helped in part by a struggling KT Wiz bullpen.

But perhaps there is a reason for the sudden turnaround. The Giants underwent a front-office makeover this past offseason, hiring a member of the Cubs’ analytics staff, who in turn hired a bunch of FanGraphs writers in some progressive attempts to fix a last-place team with the league’s highest payroll. Maybe it’s working.

Dixon Machado, who can be an impact defender in the KBO, can help absorb some damage from a porous pitching staff.

The additions of Dan Straily and Adrian Sampson will help the rotation, though Sampson is currently with his family in Seattle.

And they’ll also see the return of Kyung-eun Noh, who owns a career 5.15 ERA from 2003-2018, and who sat out the entire 2019 KBO season but pitched some in Australia to stay fresh.

Noh posted a 4.96 FIP with the livelier baseball in 2018, with a league-average 1.2 HR/9 rate, and a solid 3/1 K/BB ratio.

He reportedly had a workout with the San Diego Padres, but ended up back in the KBO – and he looks to have pretty solid stuff which should definitely translate better with a less lively baseball:

His changeup falls off of a table – I could watch the video of his offspeed stuff all day – that’s an MLB pitch.

SK’s starter, Seung-won Moon, posted a comparable 3/1 K/BB ratio in 2019 with a 4.80 FIP, but his HR/9 rate stayed consistent from the 2017 and 2018 seasons – holding steady at a ghastly 1.4 as he allowed 23 homers in 144 innings pitched.

I think that the wrong team is favored in this matchup. I projected the Giants as a 56.1% favorite I bet them at +100 (implied 50%), a 6.1% edge, and I would recommend playing them at even money or better. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

I would consider betting Over 9 (+100) at a 4.7% edge compared to my projection at 9.89 – but I wouldn’t be willing to pay any vig.

SK Wyverns vs. Lotte Giants Picks

  • Lotte Giants +100 (1 unit)

Full KBO Betting Card for May 8

  • Tigers/Lions Over 8 (-110, 0.5 units)
  • Lotte Giants +100 (1 unit)
  • NC Dinos +115 (1 unit)

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN, and WV only.]

KBO Year to Date: 5-8 (-1.42 Units)

Full CPBL Betting Card for May 8

CPBL projections are included in the combined CPBL and KBO spreadsheet below.

  • N/A

[Bet now at DraftKings. CO, NJ, PA, IN, and WV only.]

CPBL Year to Date: 25-16 (+7.54 Units)

Zerillo’s Full CPBL + KBO Model, 5/8

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: 

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