KBO Picks, Predictions, Betting Odds & Model (Saturday, May 30): Back Heroes as Favorites vs. Cuevas, Wiz?

KBO Picks, Predictions, Betting Odds & Model (Saturday, May 30): Back Heroes as Favorites vs. Cuevas, Wiz? article feature image

Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images.

The NC Dinos (17-4) finally got a taste of their own medicine on Friday as the Samsung Lions (9-13) erased a 4-0 deficit, by rallying for three runs in the seventh inning, and two runs in the ninth inning, to walk-off with a 5-4 win as a +215 underdog; snapping the Dinos’ five-game winning streak in the process.

Favorites still went 3-2 on Friday, moving to 14-6 overall on the week, while under bettors continued their renaissance with another 4-1 day; as the 20 games played so far this week have only averaged 8.3 runs per contest.

Under bettors probably have some gripes about Friday’s Heroes-Wiz game, which ended in a 5-1 score despite a combined 15 hits, nine walks, and four errors.

And I’m a bit annoyed at the Giants-Bears game; which saw Doosan score four runs on five hits, while Lotte only managed to score two runs on 10 hits and four walks; despite reaching base for each of the first seven innings, with multiple runners on base in five of those innings.

After two weeks’ worth of fighting and grinding to get back to over even for the season, I’ve fallen into another rut and back to where I was on May 15 – down more than five units in KBO betting while making a serious dent into my CPBL profits.

Baseball is an extremely high variance sport for bettors, and sometimes the lousy luck feels like a current moving against you.

So long as I continue to project the opening lines accurately, and beat the closing lines by a wide margin, as I did once again on Friday with the Tigers (bet -123, closed -152); Giants (bet +201, closed +185); Dinos Team Total Over (bet 5.5 -120, closed 5.5 -175); and Eagles/Wyverns Over (bet 7.5 -115, closed 9 -110), I will remain confident in my process and wait for the luck to turn.

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: 26-36 (-5.33 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: +106
  • Heroes moneyline: -134
  • Over/under: 10.5
  • Time: 4:00 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Probable Pitchers: KT Wiz (William Cuevas) vs. Kiwoom Heroes (Won-tae Choi)

The Heroes prevailed, 5-1, in Friday’s game against the Wiz, with Eric Jokisch (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K) improving to 4-0 on the season, as the Heroes have won all five games that he has started.

The Heroes had the clear starting pitching edge in that matchup, and do so again on Saturday with 23-year-old righty Won-tae Choi (3.09 FIP; 3.21 in 2019) facing William Cuevas (4.48 FIP; 4.38 in 2019).

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.

Typically, the imported KBO pitchers are of a higher quality than their domestic counterparts. Still, Cuevas has been a below-average starter since arriving in Korea, while Choi owns comparable command metrics at a young age and has been excellent at limiting the long ball (career 0.7 HR/9).

Cuevas is more of a flyball pitcher, and though he has a four-pitch mix (fastball, slider, curveball, changeup) with decent velocity (91 mph fastball) for the KBO, there isn’t anything special about his profile.

While his slider has some nice shape, I haven’t seen him throw it for strikes – and he relies on generating chases on pitches outside of the zone:

Pretty decent 100th pitch by William Cuevas!! @willcuevas1#ktwiz #kbo pic.twitter.com/YtW12B1NSg

— HJ Kim (@kim_xxyn) May 24, 2020

Won-tae Choi is a polished 23-year-old who touches 95 mph and throws a plus changeup, in addition to his curveball and slider, but he prefers to sit a bit lower (88-89 mph) with his two-seamer to emphasize command and movement.

The two-seamer generates a high number of groundballs, and its fade pairs spectacularly well with Choi’s changeup – which he’ll throw to both left-handed and right-handed hitters:

The Wiz’s offense (115 wRC+) outpaces the Heroes (103 wRC+) so far this season, but keep in mind that these were two of the three best KBO offenses in 2019.

That said, the Heroes had by far the best bullpen in the KBO last season, while the Wiz rank near the bottom of the league dating back to last year.

I projected the Heroes as a 58.5% favorite (implied odds of -141) for Saturday, and I would bet the Heroes up to -124 (implied 55.4%) a 3.1% edge.

Conversely, I would look to bet the Wiz at +167 (implied 37.5%) or better, which is a 4% edge compared to my projection (41.5%). Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

I projected the total at 9.17 runs and would look to bet Over 8 (-111) Over 8.5 (+102), Under 10.5 (-113), or Under 10 (-102), each at around a 4% edge.

KT Wiz vs. Kiwoom Heroes Picks

  • Kiwoom Heroes -124 (1 unit)
  • Heroes/Wiz, Under 10.5 (-112, 0.5 units)

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

Around the CPBL and KBO

As of 1:30 p.m. ET, I have locked in five plays for Friday, including three moneylines and two totals.

Based upon opening lines, I would bet the Doosan Bears up to -160, and the KIA Tigers down to +108 – with either bet representing a 4.15% edge compared to my projection.

20-year-old Jun-won Seo was excellent for the Lotte Giants in his last outing, pitching 6.2 shutout innings with a career-high 71 game score – which has a strong correlation to winning percentage.

But he owns a career 5.38 ERA with a 5.16 FIP and was roughed up by the Bears on May 13 (5 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 2 K).

23-year-old Young-ha Lee (4.84 FIP; 3.95 in 2019) faced Seo in that May 13 outing (5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 3 K), which the Giants won 10-9, and although his command has been off to start the 2020 campaign (15 K, 16 BB in 20.1 IP), Lee has a ton of upside.

He offers big velocity (93 mph) relative to other domestic pitchers, and he pitches aggressively with his fastball and cutter (88-89 mph) to generate weak contact. The slider (87-88 mph) is his primary breaker, but he’ll also mix in some slow curveballs too:

The Tigers were as sharp as a tack on Friday, with their line quickly moving from +100 to -120, and then -150. But the LG Twins are red hot, 8-2 in their last 10 games and winners of five in a row.

Chan-gyu Lim (2.38 FIP) gets the nod for the Twins on Saturday against Min-woo Lee (3.66 FIP), in a battle between starters who moved from the bullpen to the rotation last season.

Lim has significant starting experience, however, and his 21:2 strikeout to walk ratio through three 2020 starts is encouraging on the heels of a strong finish to last season; with an average game score of 48.3 over his past 10 starts, and 58 over his past five starts, including marks of 65, 47, and 51 this season.

Lee initially struggled after moving to the Tigers rotation, but he has averaged a 54.6 game score in his past five starts, including his four 2020 outings and his final start of 2019.

This could be a sneaky pitchers duel, and we’ll take another ride in the KIA with the Tigers and hope to get some offense from Preston Tucker (184 wRC+):

Preston Tucker is now tied for 2nd in the KBO with 6 HR pic.twitter.com/teCWW7DVJM

— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) May 28, 2020

In Saturday’s two other games, I would look to play the Hanwha Eagles at +142 or better, or the Samsung Lions at +214 or better – either one of which represents a 4% edge compared to my projection.

With regards to game totals, I have played two Unders for Saturday’s slate, and I’m keeping a close eye on one Over.

Play the following lines to these odds, or better:

Heroes / Wiz, Under: 10 (-101) or 10.5 (-113)

Wyverns / Eagles, Under: 9.5 (-104), 10 (-115), 10.5 (-127)

Dinos / Lions, Over: 9 (-112), 9.5 (+100)

See all of Saturday’s KBO and CPBL projections below, and check back later today for my picks on Saturday’s other KBO and CPBL games.

Full KBO Betting Card for May 30

  • Doosan Bears -145 (1 unit)
  • KIA Tigers +133 (1 unit)
  • Kiwoom Heroes -124 (1 unit)
  • Dinos / Lions, Over 9.5 (+108, 0.5 units)
  • Heroes/Wiz, Under 10.5 (-112, 0.5 units)
  • Wyverns/Eagles, Under 10.5 (-122, 0.5 units)

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

  • KBO Year to Date: 26-36 (-5.33 Units)

Full CPBL Betting Card for May 30

  • TBD

[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 30

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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