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KBO, NPB Picks & Betting Odds (Thursday, July 2): Back Bears or Heroes in Series Decider?

KBO, NPB Picks & Betting Odds (Thursday, July 2): Back Bears or Heroes in Series Decider? article feature image

Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images. Pictured: Heo Kyoung-Min

Despite taking a reverse sweep in the KBO, I finished down only 0.69 units for the day on Wednesday thanks to a 4-2 morning in the NPB and CPBL.

By closing line value (“CLV”), I was on the right side of both the SK Wyverns (bet +139, closed +110) and Kiwoom Heroes (bet -134, closed -161) KBO moneyline wagers — but alas, both teams were obliterated. Except for one week, that’s how it has gone in the KBO.

I gained CLV on each of my four NPB moneyline wagers, too, as the odds for the Buffaloes (bet +201, closed +175), Fighters (bet +105, closed -111), Marines (bet +138, closed +125) and Swallows (bet +128, closed +110) all moved my way before first pitch.

I am a volume bettor when it comes to baseball — I typically have around 6-10 plays on any given day during the season — knowing that if I continue to exploit small edges, I will grind out a return on investment in the long run.

But while my American League and National League wagers both fall under the same MLB umbrella, if I was substantially better at betting on one league, you might not notice. I’m currently betting on three separate foreign baseball leagues and down big in only one; the current deficit is glaring.

My CLV in Korea simply hasn’t aligned with the results as it has so far in both Japan and Taiwan — and shifting profits amongst the three leagues is less than desirable — but the process is the same for all three leagues, the projections are equally comparable to the opening lines, and the CLV is tracking well across all wagers.

It’s easy to get gun-shy after falling into negative territory as part of a sustained losing streak, but all indicators point to the KBO process being as sound as my MLB, NPB or CPBL process, and I’ll continue to play small edges at a relatively high volume in the short term.

Taking the longer view, I locked in futures wagers on both the KBO’s Kiwoom Heroes (+550) and the NPB’s Rakuten Golden Eagles (+1000) on Wednesday, after highlighting the value in the futures market for either team and league on June 24 and June 29. Yesterday’s wager raises my futures stake on the Heroes to two units, at average odds of +500.

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: 78-96 (-11.69 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 42-31 (+13.48 Units)
  • NPB Year to Date: 15-15-1 (+3.49 units)

KBO Odds, Picks, Predictions & Betting Model

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

Doosan Bears vs. Kiwoom Heroes

  • Bears moneyline: TBD
  • Heroes moneyline: TBD
  • Over/under:  TBD
  • Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Probable Pitchers: Doosan Bears (Jong-gi Park) vs. Kiwoom Heroes (Young-gun Jo)  

The Kiwoom Heroes (31-19) and Doosan Bears (29-20) have traded blowout wins over the past two days in what was expected to be a tight and competitive series for second place in the KBO standings.

They’ll play a decider on Thursday morning, with a pair of young starters taking the mound in Jong-gi Park (3.53 FIP) for the Bears and Young-gun Jo (7.68) for the Heroes.

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.

Park has been a pleasant surprise for the Bears’ pitching staff, looking sharp in three starts (combined 16 IP, 5 R, 11 H, 4 BB, 13 K) after coming up from the minor leagues.
There is not a lot of differentiation in his pitch mix (88-mph fastball, 82-mph slider, 69-mph curveball), but Park deploys those offerings effectively, getting ahead with his fastball command before looking for weak contact with the slow curve or whiffs from the slider:

Jong Gi Park, Pretty 71mph Curveball. 🌈

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 14, 2020

The 21-year-old Jo has struggled for the Heroes over six appearances, with an 8:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18.1 innings pitched, while allowing 23 hits and 15 runs.

Before his call up, Kiwoom’s 2019 second-round pick made four starts in the KBO Futures League, and he was relatively dominant to begin the year: 19 IP, 16 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 23 K.

The talent has yet to translate to the KBO level, but Jo does have a reasonably high upside, and despite his early struggles, the Heroes continue to use him confidently.

I project the Bears as 52.1% favorites for Thursday, and I would bet the Bears to +104 (implied 49%), which is a 3.1% edge compared to my projection.

Conversely, I would look to bet the Heroes at +123 (implied 44.8%) or better, which is a similar edge compared to my projection (47.9%). Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

I project the total at 10.24 runs and would bet Under 11.5 (-111) or Under 11 (-102) at a 3.1% edge. 

See all of Thursday’s KBO, NPB, and CPBL projections below, and check back later today for my picks on the Bears-Heroes game, and Thursday’s other baseball games. 

Doosan Bears vs. Kiwoom Heroes Picks

  • N/A

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

Full KBO Betting Card for July 2

  • SK Wyverns, Team Total Over 3.5 (-125, 0.5 units)

KBO Year to Date: 78-96 (-11.69 Units)

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

Full CPBL Betting Card for July 2

  • Fubon Guardians +158 (1 unit)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 42-31 (+13.48 Units)

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

Full NPB Betting Card for July 2

  • Orix Buffaloes +176 (1 unit)
  • Yakult Swallows +122 (1 unit)

NPB Year to Date: 15-15-1 (+3.49 units)

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

Zerillo’s Baseball Model, July 2

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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