Friday, June 5th Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Betting Guide
Tonight’s KBO slate is not quite as chalky as last night as there are multiple games where the favorite is listed at -128 or lower. All five massive favorites won on Thursday and that could lead bettors to get chalky again for the second straight evening. Per this article, that would be a mistake, and bettors need to realize context matters. This chart shows how tonight’s probable pitchers have fared (specifically in the KBO) since the start of the 2018 season (including their 2020 stats):
Kia Tigers @ Doosan Bears
Handicapping opponents versus the Doosan Bears always needs to include bullpen analysis as their bullpen is amongst the worst in the KBO. Through Jun. 4, the Bears’ bullpen ERA sits well over 7.00, and they are just one of two teams in the league with a bullpen ERA over 7.00 (along with the Wiz). Starter Young Ha Lee (DOO) has walked more hitters (14.2-percent BB rate) than he has struck out (12.7-percent) to begin the season and yet his FIP sits under 4.70. This is because he has actually been unlucky in the left on base department (62.3-percent LOB rate), has allowed zero homers and sports a BABIP above his career average. Despite a gigantic lead yesterday, Raul Alcantara (DOO) was only able to last 5.0 innings (110 pitches) so the bullpen is taxed once again. Since moving Ho Ryung Kim (KIA) to the leadoff spot, the Tigers have scored seven-plus runs in three straight games, and he has provided a nice spark to this offense.
Meanwhile, the Doosan Bears dropped a 15-burger on the KT Wiz last evening and proved once again their offense is amongst the best in the league. The return of Jae Il Oh (DOO) has given this lineup the additional component they were missing in his absence especially in the split versus right-handed pitching (RHP). Min Woo Lee (KIA) has allowed three or fewer runs in four straight starts and has sttuck out six-plus hitters in two of his last three games. It should be noted those six-plus strikeout games came against the LG Twins and Lotte Giants who each rank in the bottom four of K rate. After posting a 3.85 FIP last year, Lee has improved upon that number in the early-going, so this is not the same cupcake matchup the Bears faced last night. Vegas is putting an emphasis on this team’s performance from last night, and this team is scary to bet against when facing a RHP, but the underdog provides too much value here.
Kia Tigers ML -102, 1U
KT Wiz @ Lotte Giants
Jun Won Seo (LOT) is coming off a season in which he finished with a 4.98 FIP and his FIP through five starts has actually gotten worse this year (5.58). Seo almost never misses bats (9.6-percent K rate this year) and has been lucky in the BABIP department (.272). Those two factors combined create a scary matchup for a pitcher versus a Wiz offense that ranks amongst the league lead in runs per game (R/G) even though they are missing one of their top two hitters in Baek Ho Kang (KTW). The threat in betting against the Giants had been their bullpen but they have depreciated from second in ERA to seventh over the course of the last week. The combination of a poor starter and mediocre bullpen is enough to deduce that the Wiz offense should thrive.
The righty-heavy Lotte Giants will get a bullpen day from the KT Wiz as Min Soo Kim (KTW) has thrown a maximum of 23 pitches in an outing this year. A bullpen day from the Wiz screams over as they rank dead last in bullpen ERA (7.68) but the Giants offense has been quiet as of late. Dating back to May 24, the Giants have scored over four runs just once, but if they do not exceed that number tonight then they may never do so again. Of course, that is sarcasm, but bullpen days versus the Wiz should be a gold mine for over bettors and tonight is no different. Oh, by the way, arguably most patient hitter in the league Ah Seop Son (LOT) has moved to the leadoff spot and his ability to get on base/set the table should only enhance the potential of this offense moving forward.
KT Wiz/Lotte Giants Over 11.5, 3U
LG Twins @ Kiwoom Heroes
Last night, Kang Nam Yoo (LG) broke the daily fantasy slate and propeled the Twins to victory in a game where he racked up three extra-base hits and drove in four runs. His massive game marked the third time in four games in which he racked up multiple hits but there are not exactly clear skies ahead. Heroes starter Won Tae Choi (KIW) owns by far the best FIP of any starter on tonight’s slate although he is more of a ground-baller than a dominant strikeout threat. Over the course of his last 318.2 IP, Choi has struck out 16.7-percent of the opposing hitters he has faced but has yielded just a 0.40 HR/9 rate (best on the slate of anyone with a sample of over five KBO starts). Beyond Choi, the Heroes bullpen ranks second in ERA, so the matchup remains difficult throughout. Roberto Ramos (LG) and Hyun Soo Kim (LG) are amongst the best hitting duos in the league, especially in the split versus RHP, but tonight is not the night to back them.
As for the Heroes, their red-hot offense will face Chan Gyu Lim (LG) and something has got to give here. For years, literally every year of his career, Lim had been a player with a FIP in the mid-4.00s and above, but he had always featured sneaky strikeout upside. At age 27, Lim is starting to look like a guy who has put everything together, as he currently owns the lowest BB rate and highest K rate of his career. A further cause for optimism is recognizing he has delivered these positive results with an awful 55.6-percent LOB rate and near career-worst .357 BABIP. Beyond Lim awaits a bullpen that looks like the best in the entire league. Kiwoom features a 6.0-run implied total and that feels a bit high given Lim’s ascension. Two tough pitchers plus two tough bullpens equals a clear game to pound the under.
LG Twins/Kiwoom Heroes Under 10.5 Runs -118, 1U
NC Dinos @ Hanwha Eagles
Only two teams in the KBO have averaged over 6.4 R/G and one of those teams, of course, is none other than the NC Dinos. On Friday morning, the 20-6 NC Dinos will head to Daejeon to face a 7-20 Hanwha Eagles squad on an 11-game losing streak. Probable starter Shi Hwan Jang (HAN) has been burned for four-plus runs in four of five starts this year but he has also shown an ability to miss bats (21.1-percent K rate since 2018 and 24.2-percent K rate this year). Although he has shown a propensity to miss bats, his lack of control is just brutal, having walked hitters at a double-digit rate in four straight years prior to his 14.1-percent BB rate this year. Jang is not quite as bad as his 6.93 ERA, as his FIP is over two runs lower, but that still does not exactly make him an ace. Expect the Dinos to whiff quite a bit but it is unclear whether that will hold their potent offense back much.
Hanwha’s offense is brutal, and honestly the worst in the league, but at least most of their hitters own the platoon edge versus RHP. Jared Hoying (HAN) is an upper-echelon hitter in this league and there are not many more positive things that can be said about this unit. Mike Wright (NCD) is a former MLB pitcher whose K rate is competitive with any pitcher on the slate so it is difficult not to just back the huge favorite here.
NC Dinos ML -270, 1U
Samsung Lions @ SK Wyverns
Last start marked the first start since Richard Pinto’s (SK) season debut in which he allowed fewer than seven hits and it is not like the results were much better. Instead of allowing opponents to rack up the hits, Pinto walked a whopping six Hanwha Eagles in that game, and his WHIP now sits at 1.78 through five starts. Pinto is one of the rare pitchers in the KBO whose velocity exceeds 95 mph habitually and yet his lack of control (17:17 K/BB ratio, 12.5-percent BB rrate) has prevented him from being a successful pitcher. Samsung has quietly been amongst the most patient teams in the league (9.4-percent BB rate) but may be missing cleanup hitter Won Seok Lee (SAM) who left last night’s game with a thumb injury. Tyler Saladino’s (SAM) five game multi-hit streak came to an end last night but he has started to figure out how to hit in this league. Pinto’s FIP is almost half a run lower than his ERA but will need to limit baserunners before he can be effective.
On the other side, the SK Wyverns offense will take on Dae Woo Kim (SAM) who began the year in the bullpen and has since moved into the rotation. Kim has faced 38 total batters since entering the starting rotation and has struck out just four of them en route to a 10.5-percent K rate. In fact, per Kim’s ugly 5.87 FIP, he is the clear worst starting pitcher on the entire slate in terms of overall skill set (or lack thereof). Thus far, the Wyverns’ main issue on issue has been their tendency to swing-and-miss (18.7-percent K rate), meaning contact pitchers are unable to exploit their main weakness. Jamie Romak (SK) and Jeong Choi (SK) each feature wOBA baselines of at least .377 in the SportsGrid model versus RHP and should be in a solid spot to succeed tonight. Neither team stands out as a clear favorite and, despite this being a matchup of two lesser offenses, the over is the most appealing wager on the board. If taking a shot on one of the teams, it is difficult to back the Lions with Kim on the mound.
Samsung Lions/SK Wyverns Over 10.5 Runs -106, 1U
SK Wyverns ML -144, 0.5U