KBO, NPB Picks & Betting Odds (Wednesday, July 8): Can Despaigne, Wiz Close Standings Gap on the Tigers?

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Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images. Pictured: Cho Yong-Ho

In the three leagues that I am currently projecting — the CPBL, KBO, and NPB –the cream has risen to the top, and the standings have mostly sorted themselves out by scoring margin; which tracks with their Pythagorean expectation. 

The CTBC Brothers, NC Dinos, Rakuten Golden Eagles and Yomiuri Giants each lead their respective leagues in both wins and scoring differential, while the Fubon Guardians, Hanwha Eagles and Hanshin Tigers rank at the bottom of their respective leagues in both categories.

Given the KBO playoff structure, I would be surprised if a team other than the Dinos, Heroes or Bears win the KBO Series — and I would all but write those teams off if they finish outside of a top-three playoff spot. The step-ladder format is too daunting for these bullpens to survive that many rounds.

In the CPBL, the Rakuten Monkeys let a big first-half lead slip away, as the Brothers have been dominant of late, pushing their scoring margin near triple-digits while the Monkeys struggle to maintain a positive differential.

But unless the Uni-Lions outplay the Monkeys by more than seven games the rest of the way, a Brothers vs. Monkeys Taiwan Series is inevitable.

Prior to the season, the NPB was expected to be a four-team race amongst the Giants, Golden Eagles, SoftBank Hawks and Yokohama BayStars — three of those clubs are the only NPB clubs with a positive scoring differential to date.

There have been some unfortunate clubs, including the KBO’s KT Wiz (26-28, +11 runs), and the NPB’s Hiroshima Carp (5-7-1, +0 runs) and Orix Buffaloes (5-10, -5 runs), but while teams otherwise have earned their fate to date, there is a lot of baseball left in all three of these foreign leagues.

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: 80-102-2 (-14.68 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 44-34 (+14.06 Units)
  • NPB Year to Date: 19-23-1 (+1.94 units)

KBO Odds, Picks, Predictions & Betting Model


Odds as of noon ET on Friday 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.


KT Wiz vs. KIA Tigers

  • Wiz moneyline: -132
  • Tigers moneyline: +104
  • Over/under: 9.5
  • Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • BET NOW

Probable Pitchers: KT Wiz (Odrisamer Despaigne) vs. KIA Tigers (Min-woo Lee)  

The KT Wiz (26-28) and KIA Tigers (27-24) continue a series on Wednesday following an 8-2 victory by the Wiz on Tuesday, who moved to 4-3 on the season against the Tigers.

The Wiz are 7-3 in their past ten games, while the Tigers are 4-6, and the two teams are only separated by 2.5 games in the standings. Additionally, the longshot Wiz are now just three games out of a playoff spot, as the LG Twins (29-25) continue their backward slide.

KT will continue to lean on KBO innings leader Odrisamer Despaigne (4.33 FIP) who will make his league-leading 13th start on Wednesday against Min-woo Lee (4.49 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.


Despaigne defeated the Tigers back on May 27 (8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K) before a run of four losses in five starts:

He defeated the Eagles on June 28 and pitched well in his last outing against the Heroes (7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K) — I’m just getting concerned about his continually high pitch counts (117, 102, 94, 109, 99, 104 in his past six starts) causing cumulative fatigue as the season wears on.

But Despaigne will continue to throw the kitchen sink (fastball, cutter, two-seamer, curveball, slider) at opponents and take the ball as often as possible.

Lee got crushed by the Wiz on June 11 (3.1 IP, 11 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 2 K), and his four best starts this season have come against the three worst teams in the league — the Eagles, Giants, and Wyverns. I view him as a back-end rotation filler for the KBO level.

However, I still project the Tigers as slight 50.1% favorites for Wednesday, and I would bet the Tigers to +115 (implied 46.5%), which is a 3.6% edge compared to my projection. 

This is accounted for by a distinct bullpen advantage, with the Tigers’ relievers generating a KBO best 4.43 FIP this season — compared to KT’s league-worst bullpen (5.36 FIP).

I would still look to bet the Wiz at +116 (implied 46.3%) or better, which is a similar edge compared to my projection (49.9%). Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

I project the total at 9.98 runs and would bet Over 9 (-109) or Under 11 (-107) 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 Wiz/Tigers, and Wednesday’s other baseball games. 

KT Wiz vs. KIA Tigers Picks

  • N/A

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

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Full KBO Betting Card for July 8

  • Kiwoom Heroes -117 (1 unit)

KBO Year to Date: 80-102-2 (-14.68 Units)

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

Full CPBL Betting Card for July 8

  • Fubon Guardians -105 (1 unit)
  • Guardians / Uni-Lions, Over 13 (-102, 1 unit)

CPBL Year to Date: 44-34 (+14.06 Units)

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

Full NPB Betting Card for July 8

  • Lotte Marines -105 (1 unit)

NPB Year to Date: 19-23-1 (+1.94 units)

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


Zerillo’s Baseball Model, July 8

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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