Thursday, July 2nd Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Betting Guide
Only one game is projected to be extremely high-scoring on tonight’s slate and that game features a young pitcher who has held his own. Otherwise, there is a nice mix of subpar pitchers and borderline aces set to toe the mound, so there is a lot to talk about…
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):
Hanwha Eagles @ Kia Tigers
On Thursday, the league-worst Eagles offense will draw a matchup versus Min Woo Lee (KIA) who has completely fallen apart as of late. After starting the season allowing three or fewer runs in four of his first five games, Lee has now been burned for 15 earned runs (ERs) and 25 baserunners over the course of his last three starts (15 innings). During that span, Lee has struck out just 10-percent of opposing hitters and allowed his first three homers of the season. A night after racking up 12 hits, seven of which against Ki Young Im (KIA), the Eagles offense are in a decent shot to produce against versus a struggling pitcher and league-average bullpen behind him.
Meanwhile, the Eagles will toss Warick Saupold (HAN) who leads the team (min. 20 IP) in FIP (3.65), BB rate (4.0-percent) and HR/9 rate despite the fact he rarely misses bats (14.8-percent). Saupold relies on teams to hit themselves out and that is a very positive characteristic for him to possess versus a patient Tigers offense (9.2-percent BB rate). The Tigers love to manufacture runs via the free pass and that is simply not going to be possible versus Saupold who pounds the strike zone with versions of his fastball (including a cutter he used 36.4-percent of the time in his final MLB season). The bullpen behind him is not great, and betting the Eagles is always a bit of a risky proposition, especially without a foreign hitter in the lineup, but +130 presents bettors with too much value to pass on.
Hanwha Eagles ML +130, 1U
KT Wiz @ LG Twins
Twins starter Casey Kelly (LG) has officially hit a rough patch in the 2020 season as he has allowed three-plus ERs in each of his past three starts. Kelly does not possess elite swing-and-miss stuff but he has struck out two batters or less in two of his last three games as well. Strangely, the game during the stretch that he did miss bats (seven Ks) came versus the Bears and their league-low 15.0-percent K rate, and his low strikeout mark came versus the Wyverns (19.1-percent K rate). The task will get no easier tonight against a loaded Wiz lineup that averages the third most runs per game (R/G) and second highest HR/9 rate. There are certainly worse setups for the Wiz offense.
On the Twins side of the ball, Roberto Ramos (LG) has now gone homerless for 13 consecutive games and has hit just .204 during that span with a SLG below .300. Wiz starter Byung Wook Jo (KTW) has three KBO appearances to his name that have not gone incredibly well; he has struck out just 5.7-percent of the batters he has faced to go along with a 4.83 FIP and .375 wOBA allowed. Jo has maxed out at 80-pitches as a starter and the Wiz bullpen behind him is putrid (6.10 ERA) but the Twins have not exceeded five runs in a game since Jun. 19. By comparison, 5.0 runs per game ranks below the league average, and the Twins have averaged just 2.9 R/G over the course of their last 10 games. Since Jo should fail to miss bats, this is a solid spot for a Ramos bounce-back game, but is it enough to give -178? Likely not. Instead, back the Wiz +1.5, as this likely ends up a close game if the Giants lineup continues to no-show (which has continued to be an ongoing trend).
KT Wiz +1.5 Runs -152, 1U
Lotte Giants @ NC Dinos
No pitcher has received less run support than Dan Straily (LOT) but that is more likely an outlier than anything to put stock in. Dinos starter Jae Hak Lee (NCD) is right-handed and the Giants offense has actually fared better against right-handed pitching (RHP). Lee is not a bad pitcher but the Dinos bullpen has crumbled over the past few weeks. During that time, they have depreciated to a league-worst 6.61 ERA, which is over a half run worse than the Wiz. The public loves betting the Dinos but -124 is generous considering the pitcher they are facing…
Dan Straily (LOT) has been lights-out in the KBO: slate-best .303 FIP, .249 wOBA allowed, 0.078 ISO allowed, 26.1-percent K rate and a 0.43 HR/9 rate. Jin Sung Kang’s (NCD) bat has begun to come back down to Earth to the point that he has been given days off two of the last five games. Without Kang hitting at an otherworldly level, the Dinos lineup is much less potent, and Straily is one of the best pitchers in the league. The Giants will have to score some runs with Straily in the game to get the win but the ability to back the Giants as an underdog with their ace on the mound is a rare gem of a line.
Lotte Giants ML +102, 1U
Doosan Bears @ Kiwoom Heroes
Following a night where the Bears broke the daily fantasy slate, they find themselves in a great spot to rake again versus Young Gun Jo (KIW). Through seven outings, Jo has walked nearly double the amount of hitters he has struck out, allowed nearly two homers per nine innings and sports a slate-worst 7.96 FIP, .411 wOBA allowed and .168 ISO allowed. What more is there to say here? The Heroes bullpen is amongst the best in the league but, like last night, it may be too late for the Heroes by the time they get to the bullpen.
Heroes star Ha Seong Kim (KIW) returned to the lineup last night and surprisingly hit sixth. However, it was great to see him back, as his presence is necessary for the Heroes to remain competitive in the long run. Bears starter Jong Gi Park (DOO) has continued to look impressive in his tiny sample (four games) as he has struck out 22.0-percent of the batters he has come across. By comparison, only Straily has posted a higher K rate amongst starting pitchers on the slate, and only Straily/Saupold own FIPs lower than Park’s 3.50. Park is the superior pitcher of the two, and the Bears bullpen has been improving, so the Bears are correctly priced as the favorites here.
Doosan Bears -116 ML, 2U
SK Wyverns @ Samsung Lions
This generally unexciting game features a battle between two pitchers with 4.80-plus FIPs since the start of 2018 and K rates under 16.6-percent. Amongst starting pitchers with at least 30 innings under their belt in 2020, Geon Wook Lee (SK) and Tae-in Won (SAM) both rank in the bottom three of ERA-FIP. Yes, each of these pitchers own FIPs over two runs higher than their current ERAs, so they have enjoyed good fortune to this point. 8.5-runs is the lowest on the slate and is due to the fact that neither offense has hit the cover off the ball. Still, since both pitchers are due to regression in the immediate future, why not take the over? The teams do not even have to go crazy to exceed this number and Lee specifically will allow opponents to rack up the baserunners (13.5-percent BB rate). With two subpar pitchers on the mound, nine-plus runs is doable.
SK Wyverns/Samsung Lions Over 8.5-Runs -126, 1U