KBO, NPB Picks & Betting Odds (Wednesday, July 1): Can Last-Place Eagles Tame the Tigers?

KBO, NPB Picks & Betting Odds (Wednesday, July 1): Can Last-Place Eagles Tame the Tigers? article feature image

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images. Pictured: Lee Hae-Chang

With their 11-2 win over the Doosan Bears (28-20) on Tuesday, the Kiwoom Heroes (31-18) finished up a scalding 19-6 (.760) June, putting them 2.5 games behind the NC Dinos (32-15) for the KBO lead.

The Heroes (+68 run differential this season) had the best Pythagorean record (91-52) in the KBO in 2019 — with the only scoring margin greater than +200 — and they are closing in on the Dinos (+72) for the lead in both categories again this season.

On Tuesday I highlighted the Heroes as the most valuable team in the KBO futures market. I have a preseason share at +450, and I plan to add another future today at +500 or better.

The Heroes have gotten nothing out of their foreign position player spot this season — a substantial deficit relative to the rest of the league, whose imports have generated a .920 OPS (.304/.380/.540) with nine players recording 18% (82 of 454) of the KBO’s total home runs.

Aaron Altherr (career 89 wRC+ in MLB) is slashing .295/.368/.596 (.964 OPS) with 12 homers and eight steals for the Dinos this season.

The recently signed Addison Russell offers a similarly versatile skillset — albeit as an infielder — but his addition to the lineup, which will come around mid-July, could be enough to put the Heroes and their dominant bullpen over the top.

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: 78-91 (-8.11 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 40-31 (+11.88 Units)
  • NPB Year to Date: 13-13-1 (+2.2 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.

Hanwha Eagles vs. KIA Tigers

  • Eagles moneyline: +200
  • Tigers moneyline: -265
  • Over/under:  9.5
  • Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Probable Pitchers: Hanwha Eagles (Shi-hwan Jang) vs. KIA Tigers (Ki-young Im)  

The Hanwha Eagles (12-36) continue their march for KBO history — pacing for a record 100-loss season — while the KIA Tigers (24-21) currently have a slight advantage over the Samsung Lions (25-24) and Lotte Giants (23-23) in the KBO’s wild card spot.

Tuesday’s contest between these clubs was rained out, so Shi-hwan Jang (5.18 FIP) will face Ki-young Im (3.31 FIP) on Wednesday.

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.

In 2020, no other KBO pitching staff has limited hard contact as frequently as the KIA Tigers:

Which KBO pitchers are allowing hard contact in the lowest percentage of the at-bats against them?

KBO Leaders – Lowest Hard-Hit Rate Allowed
Aaron Brooks 12%
Ki-young Im 12%
Drew Gagnon 13%
Dan Straily 14%
Mike Wright 14%
Chang-mo Koo 15% pic.twitter.com/gpGKcrIt39

— Sports Info Solutions (@SportsInfo_SIS) June 29, 2020

Twenty-seven-year-old Ki-young Im has been a big surprise in that regard. He posted a 5.00 FIP over 12 appearances (eight starts) in 2019, but he appears to be regaining his 2017 command, where he recorded a 4.06 strikeout-to-walk (K/BB) ratio with 5.6 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) and a 4.04 FIP (4.98 league average).

Im has a very tricky arm slot for opposing hitters:

Breaking ball and changeup from #KBO @Kiatigers Im Ki-young. pic.twitter.com/YeSZEabP9Y

— Michael Augustine (@AugustineMLB) May 9, 2020

Shi-hwan Jang, has a similar issue, posting a 4.2 BB/9 in 27 starts last season for the Lotte Giants while recording a 4.30 FIP.

After working out of the bullpen for most of his career, Jang transitioned to the rotation and proved to be relatively effective, although slightly below average.

Eagles starter Shi-hwan Jang has seen his strikeout rate (11.0 K/9) return to pre-2019 levels of greater than one batter per inning, after declining to 7.8 K/9 last season. He struggles with his command (career 1.63 K/BB) and has a walk rate greater than 4.0 BB/9 over his career, but he can often respond with a  strikeout when he needs one:

Congratulations to today's #KBO K leader Jang Shi-hwan of the Hanwha Eagles who set a new career high in Ks today!

5 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 9 K, 0 BB pic.twitter.com/SuYDAk2A0O

— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) June 24, 2020

I project the Tigers as 70% favorites for Wednesday, and I would bet the Tigers to -190 (implied 65.5%), which is a 4.5% edge compared to my projection.

Conversely, I would look to bet the Eagles at +285 (implied 26%) or better, which is a 4% edge compared to my projection (30%). Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

I project the total at 9.29 runs and would bet Under 10 (-102) or Under 10.5 (-113) at a 3% edge. 

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

Hanwha Eagles vs. KIA Tigers Picks

  • N/A

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

Full KBO Betting Card for July 1

  • SK Wyverns +139 (1 unit)
  • SK Wyverns, Team Total Over 3.5 (-127, 0.5 units)
  • Kiwoom Heroes -134 (0.5 units)
  • Bears/Heroes, Under 10.5 (-110, 0.5 units)
  • Lotte Giants, Team Total Over 2.5 (-145, 0.5 units)

KBO Year to Date: 78-91 (-8.11 Units)

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

Full CPBL Betting Card for July 1

  • Uni-Lions +110 (1 unit)
  • Monkeys/Brothers, Over 9.5 (-125, 0.5 units)
  • 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 July 1

  • Chiba Lotte Marines +138 (1 unit)
  • Nippon-Ham Fighters +105 (1 unit)
  • Orix Buffaloes +201 (1 unit)
  • Yakult Swallows +128 (1 unit)

NPB Year to Date: 13-13-1 (+2.2 units)

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

Zerillo’s Baseball Model, July 1

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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