KBO Picks, Predictions, Betting Odds & Model (Tuesday, June 2): Will Tigers’ Arms Pitch Past the Giants?

Credit:

Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images. Pictured: Na Ju-Hwan

One month into the KBO season, overs are 126-106 (54.3%).

In the three ballparks that I have designated as hitter-friendly in my park factor rankings, overs are 22-15 (59.4%)

Run-scoring remains at 10.42 runs per nine innings, an increase of 1.2 runs, and 13% over last season, while the league-average FIP has increased by 15%, from 4.18 to 4.81.


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

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.


In 2020, the KBO’s league-average OPS (.762) and wOBA (.342) has split the difference between the 2018 (.803 OPS, .349 wOBA) and 2019 (.722 OPS, .322 wOBA) levels, as the home run rate has bounced back to one to per nine innings (HR/9), compared to 0.7 HR/9 last season, and 1.2 in 2018.

Extra base hits are up 3.7%, as general hit types, compared to 2019:

  • Singles: -3.7% (73.2% to 69.4%)
  • Doubles: +1.5% (17.4% to 18.9%)
  • Triples: -0.2% (1.7% to 1.5%)
  • Homers: +2.5% (7.7% to 10.2%)

At this point, we have a relatively significant data sample, showing that the 2020 KBO baseballs are traveling faster, flying farther, and producing more runs than their 2019 counterparts.

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: 31-40 (-3.46 Units)
  • CPBL Year to Date: 31-23 (+10.7 Units)

KBO Odds, Picks, Predictions & Betting Model


Odds as of 1 p.m. ET on Monday 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.


Lotte Giants vs. KIA Tigers

  • Giants moneyline: +132
  • Tigers moneyline: -170
  • Over/under: 8.5
  • Time: 5:00 a.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • BET NOW

Probable Pitchers: Lotte Giants (Se-woong Park) vs. KIA Tigers (Ki-young Im)

Tuesday’s featured ESPN matchup pits the popular Lotte Giants (11-12) against the KIA Tigers (12-12).

Both teams sport a negative run differential, with the Tigers at -6, and the Giants at -17.

The Tigers’ offense has been surprisingly solid, with a 104 wRC+ as a team, which ranks 6th in the KBO. And on the pitching side, they easily lead the league in FIP (3.79), backed by a strong rotation and bullpen.

Tuesday’s starter, Ki-young Im, has posted a 2.65 FIP over his first four starts with a 19:3 strikeout to walk ratio. However, only one of those starts went past the fifth inning, and he posted game scores of 40, 41 and 47 in those three other outings.

Im did dominate the Giants on May 21 (8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K).

The righty has shown a substantial home run problem in the KBO, allowing 45 over 350 innings pitched (1.2 HR/9), but he has yet to allow one in 2020 while displaying improved strikeout and command metrics.

Perhaps the sidearmer is finding his form in his late twenties:

The Giants rank 8th in the KBO by both wrC+ (85) and FIP (5.07) and Tuesday’s starter Se-woong Park (5.88 FIP) has struggled to begin the 2020 campaign; including a loss against Im and the Tigers on May 21 (4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K).

The 25-year-old posted respectable numbers (3.69 FIP) over 12 starts and 60 innings pitched last season, but his 5.88 FIP so far this season is more in line with his career numbers (FIP of 4.88 in 2016, 5.04 in 2017, 6.81 in 2018).

His fastball/curveball combination has obvious potential:

But Park’s command has been off for the past few seasons, with 96 strikeouts against 63 walks over his last 127 innings pitched.

I project the Tigers as a 62.3% favorite for Tuesday, and I would bet the Tigers down to -139 (implied 58.3%) which is a 4% edge.

Conversely, I would have to back the Giants at +197 (implied 33.7%) or better, which is also a 4% edge compared to my projection (37.7%). Use our betting calculator to find your edge if you have different odds.

I project the total at 9.77 runs and would bet Over 8.5 (-112) or Over 9 (+100) at a 4% edge.

Lotte Giants vs. KIA Tigers Picks

  • N/A

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


Around the CPBL and KBO

As of 4 p.m. ET, I have three KBO plays for Tuesday morning.

I bet the KT Wiz against the Doosan Bears and their mostly left-handed lineup.

Odrisamer Despaigne has been dominant through his first month in the KBO (1.69 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) with four quality starts in five outings, a 28:5 strikeout to walk ratio in 32 innings pitched, and an average game score of 62.6.

The Cuban was often overmatched against major-league hitters, and had to throw the kitchen sink at them and grind through every at-bat in order to get through his starts.

At a lower level of baseball, however, Despaigne is able to save his best stuff for when he needs it most:

His opponent, Hui-kwan Yu, has quickly become my favorite KBO player, but while his current ERA (3.27) is nearly identical to his 2019 ERA (3.25), Yu’s WHIP (1.73) is closer to his 2018 WHIP (1.70) – when he posted a 6.70 ERA with a 5.72 FIP.

And his current FIP (4.65) is a decline from a career-best 2019 season (4.02) with the de-juiced baseball.

Bet the Wiz to -140 (implied 58.3%) which is a 4.1% edge compared to my projection (62.4%).

I also hopped on the LG Twins as a favorite on Tuesday and would bet the Twins to -144 (implied 59%) which is a 4% edge compared to my projection (63%).

20-year-old Tae-in Won (4.87 FIP) will get a chance at redemption against the Twins after pitching well (7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K) against them in a loss on May 21, before dominating the Lotte Giants (8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K) six days later.

18-year-old Min-ho Lee for the Twins beat Won in that May 21 start – and will try to tame the Lions once again in his second KBO start on Tuesday.

The teenager offers good velocity (sits 92-93 mph) for the KBO with a flashy curveball:

 

Lastly, I would bet the Hanwha Eagles to +140 (implied 41.7%), which is a 4.1% edge compared to my projection (45.8%)

We’re backing another young pitcher, as 20-year-old Ee-whan Kim (5.21 FIP) faces 27-year-old Hyun-hee Han (5.17 FIP) for the Heroes.

Han pitched to a 3.28 FIP out of the Kiwoom bullpen last season, but he posted a 5.45 FIP in their rotation in 2018, and a 4.86 FIP while splitting time between the bullpen and rotation in 2017.

These two pitchers squared off on May 9, with Hanwha leading 2-1 after five innings before the Heroes took over late, and pulled out a 5-3 victory.

I would expect to see another close game on Tuesday, and the Eagles are the clear value side at plus-money against the back of the Heroes rotation.

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


Full KBO Betting Card for June 1

  • Hanwha Eagles +148 (1 unit)
  • LG Twins -124 (1 unit)
  • KT Wiz -125 (1 unit)
  • SK Wyverns, Over 3.5 (-120, 0.5 units)

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

  • KBO Year to Date: 31-40 (-3.46 Units)

Full CPBL Betting Card for June 1

  • N/A

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

  • CPBL Year to Date: 31-23 (+10.7 Units)

Zerillo’s Full KBO + CPBL Model, June 1

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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