Sunday, July 12th Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Betting Guide
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) and the FanDuel Sportsbook betting lines for each game (along with implied team totals):
NC Dinos @ LG Twins
After these two teams tied last night, the Dinos will have the upper hand tonight in a game where the Twins will start a glorified opener. In probable starter Yun Suk Kim’s (LG) previous outing, he threw one pitch, and no that is not a typo. However, he has made one start this year, and in that game, Kim threw a whopping 105-pitches and lasted five innings (with five runs) versus the Heroes. Amongst the Dinos qualified hitters, five separate ones have posted an ISO above .200 versus left-handed pitching (LHP): Aaron Altherr (NCD), Jin Sung Kang (NCD), Sung Bum Na (NCD), Eu Ji Yang (NCD) and Suk Min Park (NCD). Beyond the starter Kim, the Twins bullpen ranks below the league average in ERA (5.36), so listing the Dinos as -225 favorites is a reasonable assessment from the odds-makers.
On the Twins side, well, they will be facing the best pitcher in the league: Chang Mo Koo (NCD). Through 11 starts, he leads the KBO in strikeouts (82), K rate (30.4-percent), FIP (2.42), WHIP (0.81), K-BB rate (25.6-percent) and ERA (1.48). Only one everyday hitter for the Twins has posted an ISO over .200 and a double-digit extra-base hit (XBH) rate versus southpaws, and they are both the same player: Kang Nam Yoo (LG). Sure, the Dinos bullpen is brutal (league-worst 6.36 ERA), but Koo often pitches so deep into games that it should not matter much. There is no reason to fade the chalk here as the Dinos should be priced closer to -350.
NC Dinos ML -225, 2U
Doosan Bears @ Lotte Giants
Facing an extremely power-prone starter on Saturday morning, the Bears were almost completely shut down, but they have a chance for redemption tonight versus Won Sam Jang (LOT). Most of the Bears lineup is left-handed, so taking on a lefty is never a perfect setup, but Jang’s .189 ISO allowed to opponents since the start of 2018 ranks worst of any starting pitcher on the slate. Kun Woo Park (DOO) is the lone upside righty remaining in the lineup as Kyoung Min Hur (DOO) has decided to take paternity leave. Jae Hwan Kim (DOO), Joo Hwan Choi (DOO) and Se Hyuk Park (DOO) have all held their own in the split versus LHP (.300-plus averages, 20-plus percent hard hit rates and .180-plus ISOs) and Jang has been hit harder in a small sample by lefties than righties. Crazily, the 37-year old Jang has not posted a WHIP below 1.57 since 2015 and 2014 was the last time his ERA sat below 5.61. All of this is a long-winded way of saying the Bears have a legitimate shot to bounce-back tonight albeit without one of their top bats in the lineup.
As for the Giants, they are back in their comfortable split against right-handed pitching (RHP), as Young Ha Lee (DOO) will toe the mound against them. Other than limiting power, Lee has not done much well this year, walking over double-digit percent of the hitters he has faced and striking out just 13.7-percent of opposing batters. Lee is a ground-baller but baserunners often rack up against him and the Giants rank fourth in BB rate (plus they rarely ever strike out). It is tough to back the Bears with a very mediocre pitcher on the mound in a difficult matchup so go ahead and pound the over instead (as runs should be aplenty on both sides in this contest).
Doosan Bears/Lotte Giants Over 11.5-Runs -118, 1U
SK Wyverns @ Hanwha Eagles
In what has essentially been the KBO version of the Game of Thrones “Battle of the Bastards,” meaning a series between two illegitimate teams (worst records in the league), each game has been a grind. Tonight, the pitching matchup is completely one-sided as Shi Hwan Jang (HAN) sports a FIP well over one full run higher than Wyverns starter Seung Won Moon (SK). The issue here is Jang has missed bats at an extremely high rate (23.4-percent) and only the Eagles have struck out at a higher rate than the Wyverns. Both teams also rank below-average in patience (bottom four of BB rate) and that is especially comforting for Jang and his league-worst 11.3-percent BB rate this year. Runs should be a grind on both sides of this game tonight but the only real differentiating factors are the quality difference in starters and discrepancy in bullpens (Eagles bullpen owns an ERA over half a run worse than the Wyverns). Additionally, both lineups are bad, but the Wyverns feature slightly more pop, and Jang has been susceptible to power (0.91 HR/9 rate this year). All-in-all, this game is close on paper, but the edge goes to the Wyverns.
SK Wyverns ML -142, 1U
Samsung Lions @ KT Wiz
Welcome to the game that is a virtual pick’em with the road Lions being the slight favorite. Why are they favored? Well, David Buchanan (SAM) has tossed back-to-back gems, allowing just two earned runs (ERs) over the course of his last 15 innings. This season, Buchanan has been a strange pitcher, as his FIP sits over a run higher than his ERA, and he has dealt with sporadic implosion starts (including eight earned runs (ERs) three starts ago). Bucahanan rarely walks opposing hitters but also does not strike them out at a high rate. This is important because the Wiz have struck out at the third highest rate in the league and rank second in HR/9 rate (and third in runs). In other words, when you fail to miss their bats, they make opposing pitchers pay, especially the middle of the order that consists of Mel Rojas Jr. (KTW) and Baek Ho Kang (KTW). Furthermore, the Lions bullpen is taxed a bit after starter Chae Heung Choi (SAM) only lasted 4.0 disastrous innings last night.
Meanwhile, the Lions are still without Ja Wook Koo (SAM), who was removed from the roster due to pain in his thumb. He and Tyler Saladino (SAM) are the two top bats in the lineup and this is a solid spot for the team against Min Soo Kim (KTW). Through 37.2 IP this year, Kim has only struck out 11.4-percent of opposing hitters which has led to a 0.96 HR/9 rate against him. Only six of Kim’s 15 appearances this year have been starts and he has now thrown 87-plus pitches in three consecutive games. Over the course of his last four starts alone, Kim has posted an excellent 2.82 ERA despite battling through a 1.47 WHIP. After Kim leaves the game, the Wiz bullpen is one of just two with an ERA over 6.00, so the favorable matchups should continue throughout. Buchanan is by no means safe to back but it is tough to get behind a Kim/bad bullpen situation with the Wiz.
Samsung Lions ML -116, 1U
Kiwoom Heroes @ Kia Tigers
The line in this game is strange in the sense that Ki Young Im (KIA) is clearly the superior pitcher and the Tigers are arguably the hottest offense in the league (scoring eight-plus runs in three straight games). Starting with the Heroes, they will be tasked with trying to figure out Im, who has not been too sharp as of late. Over the course of his last two starts, he has struck out just nine percent of the hitters he has faced, and has walked seven batters (15.9-percent BB rate) during that sample. Still, overall, Im has looked like one of the breakout pitchers of the year, as he has barely allowed any power (0.34 HR/9 rate) and has improved on his numbers across the board comparatively to his last few seasons. After allowing double-digit hits per nine innings in five straight seasons, that number is down to 9.4, and his HR/9 rate has dropped below 1.0 for the first time since 2017. The Heroes lineup is loaded with names like Keon Chang Seo (KIW), Ha Seong Kim (KIW), Jung Hoo Lee (KIW) and ByungHo Park (KIW) and Im has started to revert back to his old numbers. Everything is tricky here because the Tigers bullpen is solid (4.70 ERA) after Im and the Heroes are listed as -132 favorites.
Hyun Hee Han (KIW) has been one of the league’s unluckiest starters as his 3.84 FIP is over two full runs less than his ERA. Han has managed only a 62.1-percent LOB rate to go along with a massive .385 BABIP. At some point, his luck is going to improve, but that is not necessarily going to be tonight versus a very left-handed Tigers squad. Already, lefties have produced 46 hits against Han which equates to a .343 AVG. Opponents, in total, have posted a 25-percent hard hit rate against Han, which likely partially explains the BABIP. Preston Tucker (KIA) and Hyung Woo Choi (KIA) are some of the most talented hitters in the league (both left-handed) and Ji Wan Na (KIA), Min-sang Yoo (KIA), Yong-hwan Baek (KIA) and Ho Ryung Kim (KIA) all own wRC+ tallies over 100 as well. Getting this bunch at over even money against a mediocre pitcher is too great of a value to pass on.
Kia Tigers ML +108, 1U