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KBO Picks, Odds Predictions & Betting Model (Thursday, May 21): Will Bears Continue to Slow Down the Dinos?

KBO Picks, Odds Predictions & Betting Model (Thursday, May 21): Will Bears Continue to Slow Down the Dinos? article feature image

Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images. Pictured: Outfilder Park Kun-Woo #37 of Doosan Bears.

After nearly getting swept on Tuesday, under bettors stormed back on Wednesday with a 5-0 day, as KBO games averaged six runs across the slate — backed by several monster outings from starting pitchers.

Former Mets relievers Chris Flexen (8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 10 K) and Drew Gagnon (6 IP 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K) helped our Bears and Tigers moneylines wagers to get to the window, respectively. In comparison, the exciting Chang-moo Koo (8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K) continued to dominate for the Dinos.

Tyler Wilson (7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 6 K) and the Twins lost a close pitchers duel to Chae-heung Choi (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K) and the Lions, while Je-seong Bae (7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K) helped the Wiz to cruise past the Eagles.

Still, six home runs were hit across the five-games, and one low-scoring day doesn’t negate two weeks’ worth of outlier data.

Wednesday’s crop of starters was also significantly better than what we have in store for Thursday.

I projected an average of 9.7 runs across the five games on Wednesday – but Thursday’s projection calls for an average of 10.4 runs – a 7.2% increase – with the lowest total (9.8 in Wyverns-Heroes) coming in above Wednesday’s average.

I have only bet on nine KBO totals this season – eight overs, and one under, and I am 5-4 overall (+0.38 units) on those bets, but I will continue to keep any wagers on KBO totals small.

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: 18-22 (-0.19 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 28-20 (+8.87 Units)

Odds as of Wednesday at 1 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

NC Dinos vs. Doosan Bears

  • Dinos moneyline: -150
  • Bears moneyline: +117
  • Over/under: 9.5
  • Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Probable Pitchers: NC Dinos (Jae-hak Lee) vs. Doosan Bears (Hui-kwan Yu)

The Bears (8-5) finally handed the Dinos (11-2) their second loss of the season on Wednesday, but the 11-inning game saw both teams suffer potential injuries to star players.

Bears first baseman Jae-Il Oh (144 wRC+ in 2019) left in the fourth inning with side soreness, though his removal was precautionary.

Dinos’ catcher and 2019 KBO WAR leader Eui-ji Yang (174 wRC+ in 2019) injured himself while sliding into second base in the top of the ninth inning, and a pinch-runner immediately replaced him.

Yang was noticeably limping and looked visibly upset on the bench, and losing their star catcher would be a significant blow to the league-leading Dinos — both offensively and defensively.

Also, note that Yang appeared to injure Bears second-baseman Jae-won Oh on the play — although the infielder did finish the game.

After a pair of one-run games, the top two teams in the KBO standings will play a series decider on Thursday, featuring a pair of veteran KBO hurlers.

30-year-old righty Jae-hak Lee (3.75 FIP in 2019) will make his third start of the season for the Dinos. He owns a career 2.26 strikeout to walk ratio over 177 KBO starts, though his strikeout rate declined to a career-worst 6.3 K/9 in 2019.

Lee began his career with the Bears, so any chance to pitch against them is likely meaningful — but he’s also 0-4 against Doosan in his last six attempts.

There’s no denying the quality of Lee’s off-speed stuff:

Lee Jae-hak, Filthy Changeup.

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 15, 2020

Perhaps the Bears know how to sit on his fastball/changeup combo — because they each offer a ton of arm side run — and there’s not much else to his arsenal. Lee would probably see increased effectiveness as a reliever while sequencing those pitches in short stints.

His opponent is Hui-kwan Yu, who I previously described as the “Jamie Moyer of the KBO,” and not because of his age, but because of his velocity.

Yu averages 80.1 mph on his fastball but posted a 3.25 ERA and 4.02 FIP in 2019 despite a 3.5 K/9 rate and a 1.5 K/BB rate — by lulling hitters to sleep with an arsenal that includes the best non-Greinke eephus curveball in the world:

Speeding it back up to 100….

100 km/h that is.

— Dan Kurtz (@MyKBO) April 22, 2020

It’s hard not to love the pudgy, constantly smiling Yu. He embodies so many of the everyman qualities that we love in our MLB stars and has also been one of the KBO’s more durable and consistent starters in recent memory — recording at least 140 innings pitched and 10 or more wins in seven consecutive seasons.

He’s not just Jamie Moyer — he’s like if Jamie Moyer and Bartolo Colon had a baseball love child:

Be mesmerized by Doosan pitcher Yu Hui-kwan celebrating his win over Samsung…

— Dan Kurtz (@MyKBO) October 31, 2015

I projected Yu and the Bears as 53.3% favorites (implied odds of -114) on Thursday, and I would be willing to bet the Bears at +107 (implied 48.3%) or better – which is a 5% edge. Conversely, I would look to bet the Dinos at +140 (implied 41.7%) or better, which is also a 5% edge. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

I projected the game total at 10.07 runs and would bet the Over up to 9 (-102), a 5.1% edge, or 8.5 (-114), which is a comparable edge. Alternatively, Under bettors should look for 11 (+103) or 11.5 (-106).

And, even if you don’t have a bet on this game, make sure to tune in to ESPN on Thursday morning just to see Bears’ lefty Hui-kwan Yu – who will quickly become your new favorite athlete.

NC Dinos vs. Doosan Bears Picks

  • Doosan Bears +122 (1 unit)

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

Around the KBO and CPBL

As of 8 p.m. ET, I will continue to monitor the following lines, and would place a one-unit bet on any moneyline or a half-unit bet on any total at the provided trigger price:

Hanwha Eagles vs. KT Wiz

  • Eagles (+190)
  • Over 9.5 (-105) or 9 (-115)

LG Twins vs. Samsung Lions

  • Lions (+150)
  • Over 10 (-112) or 10.5 (+100)

Lotte Giants vs. KIA Tigers

  • Tigers (+135)
  • Over 9 (-109) or Over 9.5 (+102)

SK Wyverns vs. Kiwoom Heroes

  • Heroes (-145)
  • Wyverns (+225)

CTBC Brothers vs. Rakuten Monkeys (CPBL)

  • Brothers (+250)

Full KBO Betting Card for May 21

  • Doosan Bears +122 (1 Unit)
  • Hanwha Eagles / KT Wiz, Over 9.5 (-103, 0.5 Units)

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

  • KBO Year to Date: 18-22 (-0.19 Units)

Full CPBL Betting Card for May 21

  • N/A

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

  • CPBL Year to Date: 28-20 (+8.87 Units)

Zerillo’s Full KBO + CPBL Model, 5/21

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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