KBO, NPB Picks & Betting Odds (Wednesday, July 1): Can Last-Place Eagles Tame the Tigers?
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.
- 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
Hanwha Eagles vs. KIA Tigers
- Eagles moneyline: +200
- Tigers moneyline: -265
- Over/under: 9.5
- Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- BET NOW
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:
— 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
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)
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)
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)
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: