KBO & NPB Picks & Betting Odds (Tuesday, June 23): Bears, Flexen Should Continue Winning Ways vs. Wyverns
Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Flexen
With 12 or 13 games scheduled each Tuesday-Sunday across Korea’s KBO, Japan’s NPB, and Taiwan’s CPBL, we get almost the equivalent of a full MLB betting slate on a daily basis, with 24 to 26 teams in action, before a lovely, built-in off day on Mondays.
If you do not see substantial betting value on at least two to four wagers amongst roughly 50 betting options (4-8%) after looking through all of the moneylines, game totals and team totals for these 12-13 games, you should probably check the board again.
I will continue to cover all three foreign baseball leagues for the foreseeable future — as I grow increasingly skeptical about the chances of seeing a 2020 MLB season — but while the KBO continues to get the publicity and TV time, the NPB is my favorite product of the three leagues.
If you missed the opening weekend in Japan, know that a Sharknado has already landed in Tokyo:
— Tom Mussa (@tom_mussa) June 21, 2020
And the quality level of the domestic pitching is extremely high. I can point to several NPB hurlers who could jump right into an MLB rotation:
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Disgusting Curveballs. 😮 pic.twitter.com/zm3LpcbuVZ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 22, 2020
21-year-old Yoshinobu Yamamoto posted a 1.99 ERA with a 3.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio last season – and he’s not even the best MLB prospect in Japan.
Stay tuned as I dive deeper into the NPB more throughout this week from a betting perspective, and break down projected standings and futures odds, amongst other items.
- KBO Year to Date: 72-80 (-3.62 Units)
- CPBL Year to Date: 37-31 (+9.31 Units)
- NPB Year to Date: 5-4 (+1.13 units)
KBO Odds, Picks, Predictions & Betting Model
Doosan Bears vs. SK Wyverns
- Bears moneyline: -175
- Wyverns moneyline: +135
- Over/under: 10
- Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- BET NOW
Probable Pitchers: Doosan Bears (Chris Flexen) vs. SK Wyverns (Tae-hoon Kim)
After a three-game sweep over the LG Twins (25-16), the Doosan Bears (25-16) are now tied for second place in the KBO — 3.5 games behind the NC Dinos (28-12).
Meanwhile, the SK Wyverns (12-29) have lost six games in a row and are 1-9 in their past 10. They’ll look to southpaw Tae-hoon Kim (5.24 FIP) to stop the losing streak with some overwhelming positivity on Tuesday:
Long Weekend Vibe with…
Kim Tae Hoon, the Happiest Pitcher in the World.
[4ERs today? Still 😀] pic.twitter.com/yzK4M1M8Jy
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 23, 2020
Kim was highly effectively out of the Wyverns bullpen last season (3.21 FIP in 71 games) but his return to the Wyverns rotation has not gone as planned, allowing 23 walks against 20 strikeouts over seven starts and 38 innings pitched — as his strikeout rate has halved from 9.8 K/9 to 4.7 K/9.
I would generally endorse betting against a pitcher with such poor command, and the trend has gotten worse (4 K, 12 BB) in his past three starts. His only potential advantage is his handedness against a mostly lefty Bears lineup.
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.
Chris Flexen (3.73 FIP) has been a bright spot for the Bears rotation; which lost the KBO’s best pitcher, Josh Lindblom, to the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason.
His command was a bit spotty in a May 26 start against the Wyverns (6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 4 K), but outside of a two-start stretch where he walked nine batters, Flexen has a 29:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his other five starts — twice the command ratio of other KBO pitchers.
Flexen averaged 94.5 mph out of the Mets bullpen last season. He’s blown away KBO hitters with high fastballs, wipeout sliders (88 mph) and good off-speed (84 mph) stuff — though none of those offerings returned an above-average pitch value at the MLB level, where Flexen pitched to a 6.7 xFIP.
He has even dropped in some big, slow curveballs, working against lesser hitters:
I project the Bears as 59.3% favorites for Friday, and I would bet the Bears to -126 (implied 55.8%), which is a 3.5% edge compared to my projection.
Conversely, I would look to bet the Wyverns at +169 (implied 37.2%) or better, which is also a 3.5% edge compared to my projection (40.7%). Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.
I project the total at 8.96 runs, and would bet Under 10 (-110) or Under 9.5 (+101) at a 3% edge,
See all of Tuesday’s KBO, NPB, and CPBL projections below, and check back later today for my picks on the Bears-Wyverns game, and Tuesday’s other baseball games.
Doosan Bears vs. SK Wyverns Picks
- Under 10 (-110, 0.5 units)
Full KBO Betting Card for June 23
- Bears / Wyverns, Under 10 (-110, 0.5 units)
- KT Wiz +135 (1 unit)
- LG Twins +127 (1 unit)
KBO Year to Date: 72-80 (-3.62 Units)
Full CPBL Betting Card for June 23
- Fubon Guardians -106 (1 unit)
- CPBL Year to Date: 37-31 (+9.31 Units)
Full NPB Betting Card for June 23
- Yomiuri Giants -102 (1.5 units)
NPB Year to Date: 5-4 (+1.13 units)
Zerillo’s Baseball Model, June 23
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: