KBO Picks, Odds & Betting Model (Sunday, May 17): Who Should Be Favored in Kiwoom Heroes vs. LG Twins

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Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images.

  • Get the latest KBO odds for Sunday morning's slate, including model picks and predictions for the Kiwoom Heroes vs. LG Twins.
  • Our baseball expert Sean Zerillo analyzes all of his projections below, along with a big CPBL underdog that's offering big value on Sunday morning.

On Saturday morning’s ESPN broadcast, KBO Insider Daniel Kim reported that players and coaches around the KBO clearly feel that the ball is different than the de-juiced one used last year, based upon batting practice and in-game observations, and the good old feel test.

In a small sample, it’s hard to argue with the early results, as run-scoring has increased by 15%, and the leaguewide HR/9 rate has rebounded from 0.7 to 1.1 compared to 2019.

Am I supposed to handicap games in an environment with 9.1 runs per game, or am I supposed to figure for nearly 10.5 runs per game?

This is a difficulty that you face as a bettor when the game on the field changes, and it’s not so dissimilar from what we’ll experience if or when MLB returns for a shortened 2020 season.

Pitchers will be deployed more aggressively, and position players will get less rest, and they might play the games in neutral parks – so run-scoring could be completely different than anticipated.

All that we can do as bettors is to keep looking to make small adjustments. I think it’s probably wise to lay off of any KBO unders, given the circumstances – and only play totals, at least for now, if you see an edge on the over.

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: 14-20 (-2.18 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 27-20 (+6.47 Units)

Odds as of Saturday at 3 p.m. ET 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.


KBO Odds, Picks, Predictions & Betting Model

Kiwoom Heroes vs. LG Twins

  • Heroes moneyline: -159
  • Twins moneyline: +125
  • Over/under: 8.5
  • Time: 1:00 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • BET NOW

Probable Pitchers: Kiwoom Heroes (Eric Jokisch) vs. LG Twins (Woon-chan Cha)

After dropping both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday, the Kiwoom Heroes have now lost four games in a row and stand at 6-5, while the LG Twins have won six games in a row, and are 7-3, so the Heroes will look to put an end to both streaks on Sunday.

The Heroes had the KBO’s second-best offense (120 wRC+) and by far the best pitching staff (3.45 FIP) in 2019, but have gotten off to sluggish starts (83 wRC+, 4.08 FIP) on both sides of the ball this season.

Meanwhile, the Twins (125 wRC+, 4.48 FIP) rank second offensively behind the Doosan Bears and are mid-pack in terms of pitching.

The Heroes should have the pitching edge on Sunday as Eric Jokisch (3.27 FIP in 2019) faces Woo-chan Cha (4.31 FIP) in the third start of the season for both pitchers.

Cha is 2-0 after a pair of six-inning efforts (combined 15 strikeouts) against the Bears and Wyverns, while Jokisch has only allowed one earned run over 11 innings (11 K, 1 BB).

The southpaw has good command and generates a high number of groundballs with his sinker/changeup combination:

I project the Heroes to win Sunday’s matchup 59% of the time, implied odds of -144. I would bet the Heroes at -117 (implied 54%) or better, a 5% edge compared to my projection.

Conversely, I would have to bet the Twins at +178 (implied 36%) or better, which is also a 5% edge compared to my projection at 41%.

I projected the total at 9.05 runs and would have to bet the Over 8 (+100) at a 6.1% edge, and would consider Under 10.5 (-110) at a 5% edge or Under 10 (+100) at a similar edge – though I mentioned that it may be wise to lay off of KBO unders until we have more data on the scoring environment.

Kiwoom Heroes vs. LG Twins Picks

  • N/A

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


Around the KBO and CPBL

Friday’s CPBL matchup between the Guardians and Monkeys was rained out, but the delay should only help the Guardians’ bullpen, and I now show them as a 51.5% favorite (up from 48%) for Sunday to finally snap their 0-7 record against the Monkeys with new manager Hong-I Chung.

Mike Loree (3.43 FIP, 2.76 DIPS ERA in 2019), arguably the best CPBL pitcher of all-time, will make his 2020 debut for the Guardians after sustaining a preseason collarbone injury.

Loree doesn’t have big fastball velocity, but he offers excellent command, a sterling reputation with CPBL umpires, and a tremendous forkball:

After pitching for the Monkeys early in his CPBL career, Loree has faced them 46 times, going 21-13 with a 3.23 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and a 4.21 strikeout to walk ratio in 292.1 innings pitched.

I would play the Guardians at +125 (implied 44.5) or better, an 8% edge compared to my projection at 52.5%. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.


Full KBO Betting Card for May 17

  • N/A

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

  • KBO Year to Date: 14-20 (-2.18 Units)


Full CPBL Betting Card for May 17

  • Fubon Guardians +240 (1 unit)

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

CPBL Year to Date: 27-20 (+6.47 Units)


Zerillo’s Full KBO + CPBL Model, 5/17

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: 

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