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Zerillo’s CPBL Betting Odds & Picks: CTBC Brothers vs. Rakuten Monkeys and Fubon Guardians vs. Uni-Lions (May 2)

Zerillo’s CPBL Betting Odds & Picks: CTBC Brothers vs. Rakuten Monkeys and Fubon Guardians vs. Uni-Lions (May 2) article feature image

Gene Wang, Getty Images. Pictured: Chia Ming Tu.

The CPBL, the only professional baseball league currently playing regular-season games, until the KBO returns on May 5, is back in action on Saturday with two games at 5:05 a.m. ET.

The league-leading Rakuten Monkeys (9-3) will look for their 1,000th CPBL victory at home against the CTBC Brothers (6-6), while the laboring Fubon Guardians (4-9) take on the red-hot Uni-Lions (7-7) in a battle of north vs. south Taiwan.

For more information about the CPBL, check out my opening day betting guide.

Below, you can find the listed odds for Saturday’s games, alongside my projections, analysis, and wagers.

CTBC Brothers vs. Rakuten Monkeys Betting Odds

Brothers odds: +160
Monkeys odds: -200
Over/Under: 9.5
First pitch: 5:05 a.m. ET

Odds as of Friday at 4 p.m. ET and via PointsBet. Get up to $200 in risk-free bets at PointsBet today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Probable Pitchers: Esmil Rogers (CTBC) vs. Wang Yi-Cheng (Rakuten)

Here at The Action Network, we’re happy to have Esmil Rogers back in our lives. The 34-year-old righty, who pitched in more than 200 MLB games, has been a joy to watch in Taiwan; not only because he’s significantly better than your average CPBL-arm, but also because of his antics and demeanor on the mound:

CTBC Brothers' Esmil Rogers reacts quickly to snare a comebacker and then attempts to roll the ball down his arm like Aladdin. #CPBL

— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) April 25, 2020

He’s just having fun out there, getting paid to do what he loves.

Rogers was utterly dominant in his CPBL debut against the Lions, striking out 10 batters over seven innings in a 6-1 win, but he labored a bit in his last start against the Guardians, on April 25: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Perhaps he felt the effects after tossing 121 pitches in that first start, or he was a little rusty after getting a full week of rest between outings.

For import pitchers in the CPBL, this is all relatively new territory; getting more rest than they’re accustomed to while racking up higher pitch counts (115-120) than anything you’ve seen from an MLB pitcher in more than a decade; because their managers aren’t necessarily trying to protect their arms.

Rogers doesn’t have the high velocity that he used to – declining from around 94 mph during his MLB days to about 88-90 mph at this stage of his career, but he owns a pair of wipeout breaking balls, and he knows how to set them up.

The Monkeys offense is extremely potent, but I have seen them struggle against pitchers with good curveballs and sliders, and Rogers certainly brings both to the table. However, as I have mentioned before, his slider graded out as a much better pitch during his MLB career.

If his command is sharp, he’ll give them problems.

The Monkeys will counter with 35-year-old southpaw Wang Yi-Cheng, who has been dominant in two starts against the Lions this season with a combined line of 14 IP, 8 H, 2 R 3 BB, 12 K.

Wang has a career 4.89 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, and 2.24 strikeout-to-walk ratio over eight years in the CPBL, but in his mid-thirties, he has improved to an ERA in the mid 4s with a strikeout-to-walk rate north of 3.0.

He’s not the least bit overpowering, with a fastball between 86-88 mph, in addition to a slider, changeup, and eephus curveball, but he pitches with a ton of confidence. He will seemingly throw any pitch in any count.

At the age of 35, I don’t think he’s suddenly ready to leap to elite status, but he’s extremely competent.

I cannot say the same for the Monkeys bullpen, however, which continues to be a dumpster fire, and frankly, that’s being disrespectful to burning garbage.

If they don’t have a well-padded lead by the time that any game gets to their bullpen, you may want to consider a live bet on the other side.

Friday’s wacky and wild affair is becoming the rule for the Monkeys, rather than the exception.

As for Saturday’s contest, I clearly see value on the Brothers once again, at roughly the same price that they were listed on Friday.

At listed odds of +155 (implied 39.2%), I see a 12.9% edge in betting the Brothers, compared to my projection. I would bet them down to +127 (implied 44%), an 8% edge.

However, I expect the public to pile on the Monkeys after Thursday’s loss, so I’ll wait for now to see if I can get a better number later.

I only see a 4.6% edge in betting Over 9.5 (-115) on the total, compared to my projection, and would prefer to wait for the juice to drop to -110, a 5.8% edge, before making a play; however, I only expect that number to rise.

CTBC Brothers vs. Rakuten Monkeys Picks

  • Brothers +155 (1 unit)

[Bet now at PointsBet. NJ and IN only.]

Fubon Guardians vs. Uni-Lions Betting Odds

Guardians odds: +142
Lions odds: -180
Over/Under: 13.5
First pitch: 5:05 a.m. ET

Odds as of Friday at 4 p.m. ET and via PointsBet. Get up to $200 in risk-free bets at PointsBet today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Probable Pitchers: Chiang Kuo-Hao (Fubon) vs. Ryan Feierabend (Uni)

Everyone’s favorite southpaw knuckleballer, Ryan Feierabend, will make his fourth start for the Uni-Lions, after finally getting roughed up by the Monkeys lineup on April 25 (10 H, 7 R in 4 IP).

He was significantly more effective in his previous outings. However, you should always keep in mind that the range of outcomes for a knuckleballer goes from unhittable to live batting practice on any given day.

As a result, there’s not a ton of analysis to do on the lefty – other than to recognize and accept the risk that he presents – whether you’re betting on or against him, or to dabble in the Over/Under market.

And remember that he only became a Knuckleballer in 2017 during his time in the KBO, so he’s still just about three years into this experiment.

統一はライアン・フィラベンド(34 LHP)を獲得。MLB通算33試合2勝12敗 ERA7.34。15〜16年途中までKBOリーグ・ネクセン、16年途中〜18年までKBOリーグ・ktでプレーし通算114試合36勝42敗 ERA4.14。昨季はブルージェイズでプレーし2試合1敗 5.2IP ERA11.12。登録名は「費爾本」。

— 台湾プロ野球ニュース(中華職棒新聞) (@cpbl_news) January 31, 2020

It took R.A. Dickey six years to go from trying a Knuckleball to becoming the 2012 NL Cy Young winner. Feierabend hasn’t put in his 10,000 hours with the pitch yet, but after a couple of more seasons of repetition, perhaps he could turn into something special.

The Guardians will start 22-year-old righty Chiang Kuo-Hao on Saturday. Who makes his third appearance after getting rocked for 14 hits and ten runs by the Brothers on April 24.

Before that last start, I mentioned that he has solid mechanics to develop his command further and that he knows how to pitch.

His changeup, in particular, is a nice offering, especially once you seem him pair it up with the fastball:

But the Guardians’ bats continue to stay cold, while the Lions’ offense has been steamrolling opponents, averaging 11 runs per game over the last five contests. And I don’t know if Chiang will be the one to slow them down.

The Uni-Lions struggled with injuries through much of the 2019 season, but with their offense back to full health they’re looking more like the second-place, 60-win CPBL club from 2018, as opposed to the team that finished with 48 wins (39 Pythag wins) and at the bottom of the table last season.

However, their bullpen can still give the Monkeys’ pen a run for their money in terms of late-inning meltdown potential.

At odds of +174 (implied 36.5%), I see an 11.8% edge in betting the Guardians compared to my projection at +107 (implied 48.3%). I would play that number down to +150 (implied 40%), an 8% edge compared to my projection.

As for the total, I see a 6.7% edge on Under 13.5 (-105), compared to my projection at 11.5 and would play that to Under 13.5 (-110), a 5.6% edge.

That said, with Feierabend in action, I’m going to keep any plays on this game small, and stick to half-units.

Fubon Guardians vs. Uni-Lions Picks

  • Guardians/Lions, Under 13.5 (-105, 0.5 units)
  • Guardians (+174, 0.5 units)

[Bet now at PointsBet. NJ and IN only.]

Full CPBL Betting Card for May 2

  • Brothers (+155, 1 unit)
  • Guardians/Lions, Under 13.5 (-105, 0.5 units)
  • Guardians (+174, 0.5 units)

CPBL Year to Date: 21-12 (+7.76 Units)

[Bet now at PointsBet. NJ and IN only.]

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