Tuesday, July 14th 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):
Hanwha Eagles @ KT Wiz
Once again, Odrisamer Despaigne (KTW) has hit a groove, striking out 21.7-percent of the hitters he has faced over the course of his last three games and 22.8-percent of batters over his last two. Now, Despaigne will square off against a league-worst Eagles offense that has struck out at the highest rate in the league and walked at the lowest rate. Just to put this matchup in context, Despaigne is an ex-MLB pitcher facing a lineup that consists of a bunch of Futures League quality hitters (meaning the KBO minor leagues). Sure, Despaigne may not be as dominant as he appeared to begin the season, but this s a matchup where he should thrive. Once he leaves the game, all bets are off, as the Wiz bullpen ranks second to last in ERA.
Meanwhile, Warwick Saupold (HAN) will toe the mound against a Wiz team that has scored seven-plus runs in five of their last six games and averages the third most runs per game (R/G). Only one pitcher on the slate has posted a lower K rate since 2018 than Saupold despite the fact he has done a fine job limiting power (0.40 HR/9 rate and 0.086 ISO allowed over his last 268.0 innings). Pitching to contact is a dangerous proposition versus a Wiz team that strikes out at nearly a 19.0-percent rate but also ranks second in HR/9 rate. Mel Rojas Jr. (KTW) and Baek Ho Kang (KTW) are two of the best hitters in the league and the lineup is loaded with potential legitimately from 1-9 (as Woo Jun Sim (KTW) now hits last after starting the year in the leadoff role and he has driven in the same number of runs as the Lions cleanup hitter). Additionally, the bullpen ranks bottom three in ERA behind Saupold, so the Wiz are in a fine spot to continue their offensive hot streak. This game is as one-sided as the line suggests.
KT Wiz ML -205, 1U
Kia Tigers @ Samsung Heroes
*Weather Risk Game
One of the toughest pitchers to gauge this year has been David Buchanan (SAM) who is the KBO version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In every single start, Buchanan has either allowed two or fewer earned runs (ERs) or five or more ERs in every start. There literally has been no in between and there actually have only been one start in between two ERs and eight ERs. Recently, the good Buchanan has been the one showing up, but Buchanan’s FIP still sits over a full run above his ERA. Overall, Buchanan’s 1.15 HR/9 rate allowed sits as 10th worst amongst qualified pitchers and only 15 qualified pitchers have managed a lower K rate. Since the Tigers offense is averaging 10.0 R/G over the course of their last four games, Buchanan is at clear risk for the underlying numbers to come back and bite him in this start.
On the Lions side, Min Woo Lee (KIA) will oppose them and he has allowed three-plus ERs in four of his last five games. Amongst starting pitchers on the slate, Lee’s .347 wOBA allowed dating back to the start of 2018 ranks worst on the slate, and he has definitely been trending downwards. One of the Lions top hitters, Ja Wook Koo (SAM), remains sidelined and the rest of the lineup is heavily right-handed. Lefties have hit nearly 70-percentage points higher (.294) against Lee than righties (.228) so the right-handed nature of the lineup is noteworthy. In all likelihood, this game probably washes out, so it is not worth overanalyzing, but the Tigers look like a nice value here at +126 in the off-chance the game plays.
Kia Tigers ML +126, 1U
LG Twins @ Lotte Giants
*Weather Risk Game
Speaking of games that likely wash out, the weather in Busan-Sajik is not looking pretty tonight either. The Twins have one of the toughest tasks of the slate as Dan Straily (LOT) is the probable starter for the Giants. Thus far, Straily has dominated the KBO, ranking second in K percentage, fifth in FIP and 10th in HR/9 rate. The Twins offense ranks as nothing more than league average on paper despite the presences of Roberto Ramos (LG) and Hyun Soo Kim (LG). As a pro, Straily allowed more hard contact, fly balls and homers to RHHs, so he is uniquely-equipped for a righty to hold down the fort against the Ramos/Kim duo.
On the other hand, the Giants have preferred the split against right-handed pitching (RHP) and Casey Kelly (LG) is allowing a whopping 10.3 hits per nine innings in 2020 (after just 8.2 hits per nine in his first KBO season). All of his surface and underlying numbers have gone up this year as the league seems to have figured him out a bit following a year of sample size. Bats like Jun Woo Jeon (LOT), Ah Seop Son (LOT) and Dae Ho Lee (LOT) headline a Giants lineup that rarely ever strikes out and ranks above the league average in hits per nine (especially against RHP). Straily never seems like he is favored as much as he should be and tonight is no difference (as -200-plus would be a fair line and the Giants are only -182 favorites).
Lotte Giants ML -182, 1U
NC Dinos @ Kiwoom Heroes
At this very moment, the Dinos own the best record in the KBO and sit 6.0-games above both the Bears and Heroes. On Tuesday, the Dinos will take on the second place Heroes looking to increase their lead. FanDuel lists this game as a virtual pick’em with Jake Brigham (KIW) making his return to the mound for the Heroes. Over the course of his last 375.1 KBO innings, Brigham has held opponents to a .298 wOBA and .104 ISO, which are similar numbers to the likes of the Twins’ Kelly (who was dominant in this league a year ago). However, Brigham was burned for a 5.00 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and .294 AVG against in four starts earlier this year, posting just a 2:1 K/BB ratio. Will the time off help him shake off the rust or contribute to it? That question will be answered tonight and leads to a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Dinos offense because it is unclear which pitcher will show up. Oh, by the way, top hitter in the lineup Sung Bum Na (NCD) is on the injured list due to pain in his hand, so the Dinos will be without their star bat.
Jae Hak Lee (NCD) owns by far the worst FIP (and ERA) of any qualified starter on the Dinos and has been more susceptible to the long ball this year (0.96 HR/9 rate) than ever before (0.67 HR/9 rate). To be fair, Lee is 29-years old and already has over 1,000 KBO innings under his belt, so there is some wear and tear involved here. Behind Lee sits the worst bullpen in the league according to ERA, and the Heroes lineup is mostly healthy other than DH Ji Young Lee (KIW) dealing with a minor finger injury. If Brigham returns anywhere near 100-percent, there is clear value to backing the Heroes.
Kiwoom Heroes ML -116, 2U
SK Wyverns @ Doosan Bears
Crazily, the Bears opened as near -200 favorites with Young Ha Lee (DOO) on the mound. Not only is Lee’s 14.3-percent K rate since the start of 2018 the worst on this slate but his .330 wOBA and .120 ISO allowed are amongst the worst as well. The problem with the Wyverns is, well, they are bad. To this point, only one team has averaged fewer R/G and only one team has struck out at a higher rate. Having said that, Dong Min Han (SK) recently returned to the lineup and he is a hitter that has hit 40-plus homers in the KBO before. He brings more depth to a lineup that had struggled all year long and immediately improves the prospects of the team. Through 60.2 IP this year, the Bears starter Lee has only managed a 13.7-percent K rate to go along with a 10.7-percent BB rate. Furthermore, the Bears feature one of just four bullpens with an ERA over 5.50.
Now, the question becomes, can bettors trust Geon Wook Lee (SK)? On the surface, his 2.95 ERA looks encouraging, but his FIP is almost one and a half runs higher. Why? Lee has walked a whopping 13.0-percent of opposing batters and has been propelled by a measly .256 BABIP against. Those combination of stats alone should worry bettors but he at least has limited the long ball (0.42 HR/9) and struck out a respectable 18.6-percent of hitters. After he leaves the game, the Wyverns feature a very average bullpen, and the Bears are a lineup loaded from top to bottom (especially with Kyoung Min Hur (DOO) back from paternity leave). Honestly, the safest bet here seems like the over, as Lee has pitched nowhere as well as his ERA suggests. If feeling lucky, the Wyverns are significant underdogs here (+154), and the matchup is not that lopsided. Seriously, the Wyverns have a legitimate shot to win this game.
SK Wyverns/Doosan Bears Over 10.5-Runs -104, 2U
SK Wyverns +154, 1U