KBO, NPB Picks & Betting Odds (Tuesday, June 30): Updated KBO Futures & How to Bet Bears vs. Heroes

Credit:

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images. Pictured: Lee Jung-Hoo

We are now up to 48 games, or 33% of the way, through the 2020 KBO season, so I wanted to circle back to the KBO futures market to see what has changed.

Using updated KBO projections from Fangraphs’ ZIPS, and an ELO forecast from KBO Fancy Stats, I simulated the playoffs to build out a prediction for the 2020 KBO champion. I found two teams that offer betting value:

The Dinos, Heroes, and Bears are now projected to finish in first place a combined 93% of the time, and to win the KBO 83.1% of the time.

No team has improved upon its preseason projection more than the first-place Dinos, whose Korean Series’ odds have increased by 31.1% (from 6% to 37.1%).

The Heroes (+1%) have benefitted from a recent hot streak. These projections do not account for their recent free-agent signing of former top MLB prospect Addison Russell (.704 OPS in MLB). He should provide a significant boost to the Heroes’ offense after they cut the struggling Taylor Motter (.339 OPS in 10 KBO games).

The Bears’ chances to win the KBO have dropped by 9% (from 30% to 21%), but their betting odds have also increased substantially, and the defending KBO champions now offer slight value in the futures market. Their rotation, led by Raul Alcantara and Chris Flexen, just isn’t as dominant as it was in 2019, and they have struggled to a 3-6 record against the Dinos; but they do offer betting value.

I made a preseason investment in the Heroes — who led the KBO in run differential in 2019, at odds of +450 — and I would consider betting them again at +550 or +600 depending on the sportsbook. The Addison Russell signing was a potential league-winning move.

The margins and true talent level between the three teams at the top of the standings are already very slim, and both the Bears and Heroes remain within a big week (3 and 4.5 games, respectively) of overtaking the Dinos for first place:

Notably, the Bears and Heroes begin a crucial three-game series on Tuesday.

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: 76-90 (-8.69 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 40-31 (+11.88 Units)
  • NPB Year to Date: 13-11 (+4.2 units)

KBO Odds, Picks, Predictions & Betting Model


Odds as of 1 p.m. ET on Monday 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: -120
  • Heroes moneyline: -106
  • Over/under:  10.5
  • Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • BET NOW

Probable Pitchers: Doosan Bears (Hui-kwan Yu) vs. Kiwoom Heroes (Seung-ho Lee)  

The Bears and Heroes meet for the first of 16 times this season on Tuesday, for what is sure to be a competitive season series between what appear to be two of the top three teams in the league.

The Bears have been about 10% better offensively (118 wRC+ vs. 108 wRC+), while the Heroes pitching staff (4.43 FIP vs. 4.55 FIP) has a slight edge.

They should have a slight advantage in Tuesday’s starting pitching matchup, too, with 21-year-old Seung-ho Lee (5.00 FIP) facing veteran Hui-kwan Yu (5.47 FIP).


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.


I have made no secret about my love for Yu, the KBO’s answer to Jamie Moyer, and his average 80.1 mph fastball this season. In each one of his starts, I wait with great anticipation to see one of Yu’s beautiful eephus curveballs:

Yu has been remarkably consistent, recording 10 or more wins in each season dating back to 2013 — and he already has five victories in 2020. But the more lively baseball has been unkind to him this season,  causing his HR/9 rate to climb from 0.4 back to 1.0; and his BABIP has surged by nearly 50 points.

Lee posted a 4.35 FIP over 23 starts last season and was slightly below league average (4.17 FIP). His 2020 command metrics are on par with 2019, and I still think that he’s around 5-8% worse than a league-average starter.

Lee has some upside, however, if he can begin to harness command, and he didn’t walk a batter in either of his past two outings (combined 12 innings pitched).

I project the Heroes as 57.6% favorites for Tuesday, and I would bet the Heroes to -120 (implied 54.5%), which is a 3.1% edge compared to my projection.

Conversely, I would look to bet the Bears at +155 (implied 39.2%) or better, which is a similar edge compared to my projection (42.4%). Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

I project the total at 10.2 runs and would bet Over 9.5 (-102) or Under 10.5 (-112) at a 3.1% edge. 

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

Doosan Bears vs. Kiwoom Heroes Picks

  • Kiwoom Heroes +108 (1 unit)

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


Full KBO Betting Card for June 30

  • Kiwoom Heroes +108 (1 unit)
  • SK Wyverns +127 (1 unit)
  • Lotte Giants, Team Total Over 3.5 (-133, 0.5 units)

KBO Year to Date: 76-90 (-8.69 Units)

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

Full CPBL Betting Card for June 30

  • N/A
  • CPBL Year to Date: 40-31 (+11.88 Units)

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

Full NPB Betting Card for June 30

  • Chiba Lotte Marines +133 (1 unit)
  • Nippon-Ham Fighters +105 (1 unit)
  • Orix Buffaloes +191 (1 unit)
  • Yakult Swallows +142 (1 unit)

NPB Year to Date: 13-11 (+4.2 units)

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


Zerillo’s Baseball Model, June 30

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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