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KBO, NPB Picks & Betting Odds (Friday, July 3): Will Lions Stay Hot vs. Struggling Twins?

KBO, NPB Picks & Betting Odds (Friday, July 3): Will Lions Stay Hot vs. Struggling Twins? article feature image

Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images. Pictured: Infielder Lee Won-Seok #16 of Samsung Lions.

On Thursday, in Korea, both the Hanwha Eagles (12-38) and SK Wyverns (14-36) lost again — bringing their respective losing streaks to four and five games — as both teams pace for record-setting 100-loss seasons in the KBO.

In Japan’s Central League, the Hanshin Tigers (2-10) are also pacing for a 100-loss season through two weeks of play, and they are already setting records in futility. The Orix Buffaloes (2-10) have a matching record in Japan’s Pacific League.

Bad baseball teams substantially underperform relative to their projections – just as good teams overperform those projections over the course of a full season. Think about the Marlins, Orioles, and Tigers as compared to the Astros, Dodgers, and Yankees.

Typically, you can find betting value on these bad teams on almost any given day — whether playing their moneyline or trying the over on their team totals — but you need to be selective with your plays.

All three clubs I mentioned at the top appear to be in the midst of an offensive funk – but the Buffaloes (80 wRC+ in 2019), Eagles (78 wRC+), Tigers (80 wRC+ in 2019), and Wyverns (75 wRC+) should be scoring more frequently than they are; they just don’t cash in with two outs or runners in scoring position, while their opponents do.

Unfortunately for bad teams, this is a feature – not a bug.

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: 78-97 (-12.31 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 43-31 (+15.06 Units)
  • NPB Year to Date: 16-16-1 (+3.71 units)

KBO Odds, Picks, Predictions & Betting Model

Odds as of 1 p.m. ET on Thursday 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.

LG Twins vs. Samsung Lions

  • Twins moneyline: -121
  • Lions moneyline: -106
  • Over/under:  9.5
  • Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Probable Pitchers: LG Twins (Tyler Wilson) vs. Samsung Lions (Jung-hyun Baek)  

The Twins (28-22) are 3-7 in their past ten games while the Lions (27-24) are 8-2, closing the standings gap between these two teams to 1.5 games, as the Lions have pulled within one game of the final playoff spot.

The season series between these two teams is tied 3-3, and all three games in this weekend’s series will be crucial. On Friday, Tyler Wilson (4.38 FIP) will face the Lions for the second time this season (7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 6 K on May 2), while Jung-hyun Baek will hope to avenge a rough start against the Twins from June 4 (4 IP, 11 R, 14 H, 0 BB, 3 K).

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

The 32-year old Baek only managed 4.7 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) in 2019 (career 7.5 K/9) with a 1.46 strikeout to walk ratio (career 2.08 K/BB) – but his metrics have rebounded in 2020 (7.1 K/9, 3.00 K/BB) over a seven start sample.

In fact, after that rough outing against the Twins in early June, Baek has settled in nicely – allowing just four runs over his past four starts (24 IP, 15 H, 8 BB, 18 K).

The southpaw offers a four-pitch mix (fastball, curveball, slider, changeup) but his biggest asset is Lions’ closer Seung-hwan Oh – who returned in early June after multiple seasons in the MLB. Oh has only allowed one run over his first eight appearances, while locking down all four of his save attempts.

Congratulations to Samsung's Oh Seung-hwan for picking up his 400th career save (KBO, NPB, & MLB)

— Dan Kurtz (@MyKBO) June 16, 2020

The Twins’ Tyler Wilson has made at least two appearances on ESPN’s KBO broadcasts this season. His pitch mix is primarily fastball/slider/changeup, and although his velocity has dropped from his MLB days, both secondary offerings generate whiffs against KBO competition:

Tyler Wilson, Nasty Breaking Ball…

But Stuffed Blue Cat looking thing is unimpressed. 😑

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 26, 2020

I project the Twins as 58.5% favorites for Thursday, and I would bet the Twins to -125 (implied 55.5%), which is a 3% edge compared to my projection.

Conversely, I would look to bet the Lions at +161 (implied 38.3%) or better, which is a similar edge compared to my projection. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

I project the total at 10.79 runs and would bet Over 9.5 (-114) or Over 10 (-103) at a 3% edge. 

See all of Friday’s KBO, NPB, and CPBL projections below, and check back later today for my picks on the Twins/Lions game, and Friday’s other baseball games. 

LG Twins vs. Samsung Lions Picks

  • Twins -107 (1 unit)
  • Over 9.5 (-105, 0.5 units)

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

Full KBO Betting Card for July 3

  • LG Twins -107 (1 unit)
  • KT Wiz +160 (1 unit)
  • Twins / Lions, Over 9.5 (-105, 0.5 units)

KBO Year to Date: 78-97 (-12.31 Units)

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

Full CPBL Betting Card for July 3

  • Uni-Lions +160 (0.5 units)
  • Fubon Guardians +140 (0.5 units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 43-31 (+15.06 Units)

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

Full NPB Betting Card for July 3

  • Chunichi Dragons +190 (1 unit)
  • Hanshin Tigers +150 (1 unit)
  • Yakult Swallows +150 (1 unit)

NPB Year to Date: 16-16-1 (+3.71 units)

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

Zerillo’s Baseball Model, July 3

Download the Excel doc with my projections to input odds from your sportsbook. These projections cover the full game moneylines, over/unders, and team totals. A sample of one of the sheets is below: 

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