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KBO Picks, Predictions, Betting Odds & Model (Friday, May 29): Can Wiz Score on Heroes, Jokisch?

KBO Picks, Predictions, Betting Odds & Model (Friday, May 29): Can Wiz Score on Heroes, Jokisch? article feature image

Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images. Pictured: Kim Hye-Seong

The NC Dinos (17-3) pulled out another come from behind win on Thursday, giving the hottest baseball team on the planet its fifth consecutive win and no fewer than eight comeback victories in its first 20 games of the 2020 season.

The Dinos have a staggering +58 run differential, winning by an average margin of 2.9 runs per game, and their closest standings competition, the LG Twins (14-6), are also their closest competition in scoring differential — but still a full 21 runs behind (+27).

At the bottom of the KBO standings, you can find the Hanwha Eagles (7-14) and SK Wyverns (4-16), who have the two worst run-differential marks in the league, at -31 and -45, respectively.

By and large, those four outliers — the two excellent and two terrible teams to date — have made their luck.

The fading Lotte Giants (10-10), with a -19 run differential, are showing that their hot start was likely a mirage after winning 34% of their games last season. In contrast, the sub .500 KT Wiz (9-11), with a +20 differential, have suffered some an egregious amount of late-inning bullpen misfortune. 

Any of the four remaining clubs — the Doosan Bears (12-8, -7 differential), KIA Tigers (11-10, +2), Kiwoom Heroes (10-11, +1), and Samsung Lions (8-13, -6) — could have been subject to the same variance.

But the Dinos, Twins, Eagles and Wyverns, whether for good or bad, have each controlled their destiny to date.

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: 25-33 (-3.00 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 29-22 (+9.29 Units)

KBO Odds, Picks, Predictions & Betting Model

Odds as of 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday 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. Kiwoom Heroes

  • Wiz moneyline: +143
  • Heroes moneyline: -180
  • Over/under: 9.5
  • Time: 5:30 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Probable Pitchers: KT Wiz (Min Kim) vs. Kiwoom Heroes (Eric Jokisch)

After making their maiden Korean Series appearance in 2019, while sporting the best run differential in the KBO, the Kiwoom Heroes were projected to finish near the top of the KBO standings once again in 2020.

However, they have struggled to a 10-11 start and come into Friday’s game on the back of four consecutive losses after suffering a sweep at the hands of the NC Dinos.

The KT Wiz (9-11) have a significantly better run differential (+20 to +1) this season than the Heroes, and their leaky bullpen has managed to hold onto a lead in their past two games.

Getting out to a lead on Friday will be difficult, however, as the Heroes will turn to Eric Jokisch (3-0, 1.17 ERA, 0.87 WHIP), who has allowed three runs over four 2020 starts.

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.

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck.

The 31-year-old lefty and former Cubs farmhand posted a 3.27 FIP over 30 starts and 181.1 innings in 2019 for the KBO runner-up Heroes — and he is off to as hot of a start (2.62 FIP) as anyone this year — with excellent command over his sinker/slider/changeup arsenal while mixing in the occasional slow curveball.

Jokisch’s slider, in particular, is pretty mean:

Jokisch also uses his pitch mix to keep the ball on the ground and generate weak contact, which led to a .288 BABIP in 2019, and a .250 BABIP thus far in 2020, but he is more likely than most pitchers to sustain that level of performance.

21-year-old righty Min Kim, who is scheduled to pitch for the Wiz, posted a 4.90 FIP over 26 starts in 2019 with a 91:65 strikeout to walk ratio in more than 150 innings pitched.

He managed to get the win in his last start against the LG Twins on May 23, allowing just one run on two hits despite walking seven hitters, but Kim cannot possibly maintain success while allowing nearly 4.5 walks per nine innings (BB/9) going forward.

I project the Heroes as 64.5% favorites (implied odds -182) for Friday, and I would bet the Heroes up to -160 (implied 61.5%), which is a 3% edge. Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

Conversely, I would look to bet the Wiz at around +217 (implied 31.5%), which is a 4% edge compared to my projection at 35.5%.

I project the total at 10.17 runs, and I would play Over 8.5 (-121) or Over 9 (-108) at a 4.1% edge. Alternatively, I would look to bet Under 11.5 (-108) at a similar edge — but I doubt that you find actionable value on either side of the game total.

KT Wiz vs. Kiwoom Heroes Picks

  • N/A

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

Around the CPBL and KBO

As of 6 p.m. ET, I haven’t been able to find value in the Wiz-Heroes matchup, but I have placed one bet on each of the other four KBO games on Friday’s slate; including two moneylines, one game total, and one team total.

The moneyline plays are on the KIA Tigers (-123) over the LG Twins and the Lotte Giants (+201) over the Doosan Bears, and I would bet the Tigers to -132 and the Giants to +190; with either bet representing a 3.9% edge compared to my projection.

The early line movement in that Tigers-Twins game was intriguing. The Tigers flip-flopped from small favorite (around -120) to even-money underdog several times, before eventually getting steamed up higher than -150.

Aaron Brooks (2.75 FIP) should give the Tigers a major pitching edge against Woo-chan Cha (5.08 FIP; 4.26 in 2019) and the Twins:

It took Aaron Brooks until his 4th #KBO start, but he finally walked his first batter of the season (23:3 K:BB on the year) in an otherwise-solid start.

His final line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 6 K, 3 BB, 1 HR

All 6 Ks for the former MLB starter:#KiaTigers #SKWyverns @AlexFast8

— Connor Newcomb (@ConnorNewcomb_) May 23, 2020

I will continue to monitor the lines for Friday’s other contests, and, I would target the Eagles at +132 or the Lions at +270, in addition to the Wiz, as I mentioned above, at +217 or better. All three of those bets represent a 4% edge compared to my projection.

As for Friday’s totals, I hopped on the Eagles-Wyverns Over early, at 7.5 (-115), but I would continue to play that Over up to 8 (-112) or 8.5 (-103) against my projection of 9.37 runs.

Lastly, I targeted the NC Dinos team total Over, at 5.5 (-120) and I would play that up to 5.5 (-135), which is still a 4% edge.

Full KBO Betting Card for May 29

  • KIA Tigers -123 (1 unit)
  • Lotte Giants +201 (1 unit)
  • Hanwha Eagles / SK Wyverns, Over 7.5 (-115, 0.5 units)
  • NC Dinos Team Total, Over 5.5 (-120, 0.5 units)

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

  • KBO Year to Date: 25-33 (-3.00 Units)

Full CPBL Betting Card for May 29

  • N/A

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

  • CPBL Year to Date: 29-22 (+9.29 Units)

Zerillo’s Full KBO + CPBL Model, May 29

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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