Saturday, May 30th Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Betting Guide
Tonight’s KBO slate starts with one game at 1:00am ET and the final four set for first pitch at 4:00am ET. 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):
LG Twins @ Kia Tigers
Talking about the LG Twins offense logically should begin with Roberto Ramos (LG) who launched his league-leading 10th home run (HR) on Friday morning. Being propelled by the pure awesomeness of Ramos and Hyun Soo Kim (LG), the Twins rank fourth in the league in runs per game (R/G), second in HRs per game (HR/G) and second to last in K rate. They are a tough matchup for any opposing pitcher, but specifically those of the right-handed variety, since their two top hitters are of the left-handed variety. Opposing starter Min Woo Lee (KIA) has made the transformation to full-time starter this season and the early results have been respectable. Not only has he posted a FIP around 3.50 (3.56) but he has yet to allow a single HR and has done so with a measly 60.0-percent left on base rate. The fact that his control has been iffy (9.1-percent) and he has done so with a mediocre K rate (15.2-percent). It should be noted Lee has faced three of the league’s worst offenses and the Kiwoom Heroes who have struck out at the second highest rate in the league. Essentially, this will be Lee’s toughest matchup yet, which means this could be a solid buying opportunity for the Twins.
Meanwhile, the Preson Tucker (KIA)-led Kia Tigers will take on arguably the most surprising pitcher of the 2020 season: Chan Gyu Lim (LG). At 27-years old, Lim has all of a sudden looked like an ace after posting WHIPs of 1.43, 1.65 and 1.47 over his past three seasons respectively. Lim owns a hefty 28.4-percent K rate through three starts and his 4.50 ERA looks inflated when compared to his minuscule 2.28 FIP. After posting an 11.7-percent BB rate last year, Lim has walked just 2.7-percent of the batters he has faced this year, which is obviously unlikely to continue. Still, it seems like he is taking the next step as a pitcher, and the Vegas line consequently looks a bit light. Twins should win this game.
LG Twins ML -152, 3U
Hanwha Eagles @ SK Wyverns
In the second round of the battle of the worst teams in the league, the Hanwha Eagles will match up against right-hander Ricardo Pinto (SK). Despite the solid velocity from Pinto, he has struck out as many batters as he has walked through four starts and has yet to allow a single HR. Still, there has been a bit of bad luck involved with his results, as his .364 BABIP is likely to depreciate over him and his 52.3-percent LOB rate is well below the league average. On any given night, the Hanwha Eagles roll out six-plus lefties in their lineup, even against left-handed pitchers (LHPs). Basically, this team is better-suited for matchups versus right-handed pitchers (RHPs), and Pinto is extremely average. With just a 9.9-percent K rate, the Hanwha Eagles, who rank dead last in K rate, should actually put the ball in play. As far as the Eagles go, this is one of the more enticing matchups for one of the league’s saddest offensive units.
Speaking of sad offensive units, the Wyverns are the only other team in the league averaging fewer than four R/G. Probable starter Shi Hwan Jang’s (HAN) 14.3-percent BB rate ranks third worst amongst all qualified pitchers to this point, and while he has been a bit unlucky, he has simply pitched poorly (7.20 ERA, 4.61 FIP). Betting on bad teams is a risky proposition but one pitcher is clearly worse than the other here.
SK Wyverns ML -150, 1U
KT Wiz @ Kiwoom Heroes
Won Tae Choi (KIW) is easily one of the best few starting pitchers set to toe the mound on Saturday morning. However, the KT Wiz quietly lead the league in R/G after 20 games and are doing so without top bat Baek Ho Kang (KTW) in the lineup. Yong-ho Cho (KTW) and Mel Rojas Jr. (KTW) each rank in the top five of wOBA and Rojas has hit .420-plus versus both sides of the plate so far this year. Choi is not dominant in the strikeout department but he induces ground balls and limits the long ball. Facing a Wiz team that rarely strikes out (16.7-percent), Choi will be challenged tonight, and he already has suffered through tough starts this year versus the Wyverns and Lions respectively.
On the other hand, the splits for the Kiwoom Heroes are starting to look drastic, with the middle of the lineup better-equipped to mash LHP. Additionally, Keon Chang Seo (KIW) left last night’s game with an elbow issue and ended up in the hospital. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that he makes the lineup tonight, leaving the lineup with one fewer weapon against RHP William Cuevas (KTW). Look, Cuevas is not as bad as he has looked to this point, especially if last season’s sample size is any indication. Is he great? No, but he is a low 4.00s FIP sort of pitcher who can miss bats at a respectable rate and he rarely issues free passes. The Heroes are a patient offense (second in BB rate) that strikes out at a near league-worst rate so Cuevas will have an opportunity for an outlier strikeout performance (and control is not really an issue for him). This is a good spot to attack an underdog as the masses will likely gravitate towards Choi if only for the name recognition value.
KTW ML +108, 1U
Lotte Giants @ Doosan Bears
Like the Heroes, the Lotte Giants are starting to appear like an offense that prefers a split significantly, and it is not the one versus right-hander Young Ha Lee (DOO). Thus far, the Bears bullpen has given the Wiz a run for the money for worst in the league, so runs are often scored after the starter leaves the game. Tonight, runs should be scored against Lee as well as the 2020 version of this pitcher has included an excessive amount of walks (six-plus walks in two of his previous three starts). Remember, this was the pitcher who lost in the 13-0 game against the Lions, and he has pitched deeper than five innings just once. Lee games are becoming over heavens and the Giants have walked at just about the league-average rate. If they take their free passes, it will not matter if most of the lineup is right-handed. Oh, by the way, Ah Seop Son (LOT) is one of the most patient hitters in the entire league (14-plus percent BB rate in five straight seasons) and is one of the safest DFS investments of the night.
Jun Won Seo (LOT) is objectively the worst starting pitcher on the slate (at least according to FIP) and the Doosan Bears have been held down for too long now. The return of Jae Il Oh (DOO) cannot be overstated for an offense that has sufferred through a lull in production without him. Since the Bears’ bullpen is so poor, there is not a lot of value to pounding the favorite’s moneyline, but there should be plenty of scoring in this game on both sides. To me, that makes this a clear over spot.
Lotte Giants/Doosan Bears Over 10.5 runs -122, 1U
NC Dinos @ Samsung Lions
The 17-4 NC Dinos lost to the Samsung Lions last night and a team this talented is unlikely to be held down for long. Gas can David Buchanan (SAM) was smoked in the Japanese League (JPL) for three seasons and now finds his FIP approaching 5.00 in four KBO starts. Buchanan rarely misses bats (15.1-percent K rate), and it if were not for his brutal sample in the JPL, it may be too early to make assumptions on the Buchanan skill set. Last time out, Buchanan shut out the Doosan Bears, but he allowed nine hits in seven innings and emerged unscathed. Pitching to contact is a dangerous proposition versus a Dinos offense led by the likes of Min Woo Park (NCD), Sung Bum Na (NCD) and Eu Ji Yang (NCD).
On the Samsung side, Mike Wright (NCD), former Baltimore Orioles starter, is viewed as a top tier starter in this league. If looking closer, Wright’s FIP-ERA is second lowest of any qualified starter, meaning Wright has actually pitched much worse than his surface numbers suggest. His .188 BABIP against likely includes a fair amount of luck and he has walked 10.9-percent of opposing hitters. Still, his raw stuff is so much better than the average pitcher. While the risks are worth taking into account, the Dinos are still the significantly more talented team and likely throwing the superior pitcher.
NC Dinos ML -210, 1U