KBO Odds, Picks, Predictions & Betting Model (Wednesday, May 13): Can SK Wyverns Break Losing Streak vs. LG Twins?
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Nobody likes to start their morning off with a blown save, let alone two.
Tuesday’s Wiz-Dinos game ended with a stomach punch for underdog bettors – with the league’s worst bullpen allowing a solo shot, two-run-homer, and a walk-off homer to the Dinos, in the 8th, 9th, and 10th innings, to ruin a 6-3 lead; and all after I watched the Dinos blow a 6-0 lead with a ticket in hand on Sunday.
Meanwhile, our other big Tuesday underdog bet, the Hanwha Eagles, carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning, blew a one-run lead in the 8th, and then stranded the winning run on second base to end the game.
Now, I’m not here to lament every tough loss – well, that Wiz bullpen is dead to me – but I do intend to make clear that, like in MLB betting, the margins in the KBO are tiny; which is what gives underdog bettors so much value. So many of these games are coin flips.
I’m 6-10 on KBO moneyline bets thus far, for -1.2 units, but I would say that half of those games could have gone either way, and I’m around 2-6 in those contests.
I finished 1-3 (-2 units) overall on Wednesday, should have been 2-2 (+0.22 units) without that Wiz bad beat and would have been 3-1 (+2.72 units) had the Eagles also pulled out a game that, based upon the box score, they should have won 5-3.
I’m pleased that the KBO model has mostly been right on top of opening lines and totals for the past few days – with the majority of my moneyline plays coming as a result of buyback after substantial line movement.
I’ll continue to find ways to tighten these projections – but through one week, I certainly see a lot to be confident about.
- KBO Year to Date: 10-13 (-0.82 Units)
- CPBL Year to Date: 25-18 (+6.04 Units)
KBO Odds, Picks, Predictions & Betting Model
SK Wyverns vs. LG Twins
- Wyverns moneyline: -104
- Twins moneyline: -122
- Over/under: 9.5
- Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- BET NOW
Probable Pitchers: Ricardo Pinto (Wyverns) vs. Chan-gyu Lim (Twins)
SK Wyverns has been one of the more consistent teams in the KBO for some time, with an average final standings position of 3.15 since 2006, including four Korean Series championships.
Oddsmakers set them as the second or third choice in KBO futures, in agreement with most 2020 KBO projections that I saw – including FanGraphs’ ZIPS, which called for 81 wins, an 83.3% playoff probability, and an 18% KBO Championship prediction.
Those predictions seemed a bit high to me, however, with SK needing to replace long-time ace Kwang-hyun Kim (St. Louis Cardinals – MLB), and Angel Sanchez (Yomiuri Giants – NPB) from their rotation.
And SK has struggled to a 1-5 start, and sit at the bottom of the KBO standings after four consecutive losses.
They added Nick Kingham, who got roughed up a bit on Tuesday, and Ricardo Pinto – who spent time with the Phillies, White Sox, Rays, and Giants, as rotation replacements this offseason.
Now Pinto isn’t your average KBO starter or import pitcher – sitting 94-95 mph with his fastball, and the ability to hit 98 mph – making him, relative to the ordinary league velocity, Noah Syndergaard.
He primarily throws a sinker, and it has some good arm side run. Pinto doesn’t have strong command, however – with a career 3.0 BB/9 across all levels – so locating near the zone is vital, and he doesn’t have a true swing and miss offering – but his stuff should play up in the KBO.
Pinto’s changeup also returned an above-average pitch value in his small MLB sample and received an above-average scouting grade – so the offspeed pitch is likely his best offering.
SK has one of the best offensive duos in the KBO in Jamie Romak and Jeong Choi, who each project to finish in the top three in home runs. But my favorite player on their team is closer Jae-Hoon Ha, who spent six years in the Cubs minor league system as an outfielder and entered the KBO as a pitcher in 2019, leading the league with a 9.8 K/9 and 1.98 ERA:
This FB by SK Wyverns closer Ha Jae-Hoon measured at 149 kmph (92.6 mph)… with a 2,706 rpm, which would be a top notch spin rate in the majors as well.
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) May 15, 2019
I have already discussed Hyun-Soo Kim for the Twins, and I mentioned the KBO’s newest power threat, Roberto Ramos, who has already launched three homers:
The former Rockies minor leaguer is hitting laserbeams from the left side, and he adds a significant power component to that Twins lineup.
But I don’t think I have mentioned Ji-hwan Oh, the Twins shortstop and one of the flashiest defenders in the KBO. He is the Andrelton Simmons of Korea:
MyKBO's Favorite Web Gems from September 9th's games featuring LG's Oh Ji-hwan and Lee Hyung-jong pic.twitter.com/V3h5yUSbru
— Dan Kurtz (@MyKBO) September 9, 2018
Oh also posted a 105 wRC+ in 2019, so even if his defense is in decline at age 30, he remains a productive two-way player.
However, the Twins rotation is not particularly deep, and they’ll roll with Chan-gyu Lim on Wednesday – who posed a 5.33 FIP over 27 starts in 2018, and a 4.99 FIP over 30 appearances between the rotation and bullpen last season His 2020 debut was rained out last week.
I project SK as a slight favorite in this matchup, and I would play them at +110 (implied 47.6%) or better, a 5.9% edge compared to my projection at 53.5%. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.
Conversely, I would look to bet the Twins at +145 (implied 40.8%), a 5.7% edge compared to my projection at 46.5%). Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.
As for the total, I would only look to bet Over 8 (-110) at a 5.2% edge, or better, compared to my projection at 9.3.
SK Wyverns vs. LG Twins Picks
- SK Wyverns +110 (1 unit)
Around the KBO and CPBL
After seeing the opening lines, only a couple of other plays really stood out to me.
In the KBO, I have the Hanwha Eagles and Shi-hwan Jang (27 starts, 125.1 IP, 4.30 FIPin 2019) as a pretty solid 55.5% home favorite against the KIA Tigers and Min-woo Lee (32 games, six starts, 61.1 IP, 3.84 FIP), yet the Eagles opened at plus-money.
The Eagles are coming off of a 58-win season – equivalent to 65 wins in an MLB campaign – and have only produced one winning season in the past 11 years, but the Tigers essentially produced the same Pythagorean record last season, and most of their strength lies in their starting pitching and bullpen.
Lee is a bottom of the rotation or bullpen arm, while Jang is an improvement upon Eagles’ Tuesday starter Min-woo Kim – a below-average KBO arm who carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning.
I would bet the Eagles down to +100 (implied 50%) a 5.5% edge compared to my projection. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.
In the CPBL, I noticed a high total on the Brothers-Guardians matchup and I bet a 7.55% edge on Under 15.5 (-120) for a half-unit. You can play that down to Under 15 (-115), a 7% edge.
Fubon starter Bryan Woodall, whose FIP is up from 5.61 to 7.63 in five 2020 appearances, doesn’t inspire much confidence. And neither does Liao Yi-Chung for the Brothers – whose own FIP is up from 4.61 to 6.90 from 2019.
But both bullpens should be fresh after an off-day, both teams (unlike the Uni-Lions) play competent defense, and neither offense (unlike the Monkeys) seems to repeatedly defy logic and redeem large deficits.
Betting unders remains a treacherous adventure in the CPBL, but totals have climbed a bit too high as of late – into this 15+ range – and unders are hitting more frequently.
I also like the breaking stuff that Liao, a second-year-pitcher, has to work with on his best days:
Solid perfomance in the first game of doubleheader.
— CPBL 中華職棒 (@CPBL) August 11, 2019
In the other CPBL matchup, the Uni-Lions are a massive underdog to Justin Nicolino and the Monkeys.
Nicolino has the stuff to be one of the league’s better pitchers, and the Monkeys offense has crushed lefties all season – so fastball-curveball specialist Chiang Chen-Yen could be up against it.
But if the Lions’ moneyline gets near +350 (implied 22%), I would consider playing the game at around a 9% edge – because you have to set a target that seems outrageous and push back at some point. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.
Full KBO Betting Card for May 13
- Hanwha Eagles +117 (1 unit)
- SK Wyverns +110 (1 unit)
KBO Year to Date: 10-13 (-0.82 Units)
Full CPBL Betting Card for May 13
- Brothers/Guardians, Under 15.5 (-120, 0.5 units)
CPBL Year to Date: 25-18 (+6.04 Units)
Zerillo’s Full KBO + CPBL Model, 5/13
Download the Excel doc with my projections to input odds from your sportsbook. These projections cover the full game moneylines and over/unders. A sample of one of the sheets is below: