Tuesday, May 26th Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Betting Guide
Tonight’s KBO slate is loaded with aces so it is not surprising that a 10.0-run total is the highest of the night. 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 @ KT Wiz
Kia’s offense is always a more exciting proposition against right-handed pitchers (RHPs) and Ja Seong Bae (KTW) fits the bill. Preston Tucker (KIA) and Hyung Woo Choi (KIA) are amongst the best hitters in the Kia lineup and both will own the platoon advantage. The issue here is Bae has only allowed a 0.35 HR/9 rate over his last 156.0 innings so the power matchup for Tucker is not appealing. Bae’s command has improved drastically in the early-going as he has only walked 4.9-percent of opposing batters compared to 9.9-percent a season ago. He is a sinker-baller who pounds the zone which presents a strange matchup for a team that has walked at the highest rate in the league and rates around the league-average in power. If unable to draw walks, Kia’s offense loses one its main assets.
On the Wiz side, the offense has continued to roll without star bat Baek Ho Kang (KT). Over their last three games, the team has averaged 6.0 runs per game, but they face an extremely tough test versus Drew Gagnon (KIA). In his last outing, Gagnon shut down the Lotte Giants: 6.0 IP, four baserunners, zero earned runs (ERs) and nine Ks in a start that propelled one of my fantasy lineups to $50,000. Obviously, there is a special place in my heart for Gagnon, who once again is the cheapest priced pitcher on DK tonight. Through three starts, Gagnon leads every pitcher on the slate in K rate and FIP so this could be the first game in which he does not get underappreciated in both daily fantasy and betting circles. Unfortunately for Gagnon, the Wiz strike out at the second lowest rate in the league, so another nine K domination is unlikely. Still, Gagnon continues to get undervalued by the handicappers and soon they will learn their lesson.
Kia Tigers ML +108, 1 Unit
LG Twins @ Hanwha Eagles
Welcome back Hanwha Eagles ace Chad Bell (HAN) who will be making his first start of the 2020 season. In his final rehab start, Bell lasted just two shutout innings and threw a total of 43-pitches. In other words, it seems unlikely he will throw 100-pitches in this contest, and it is more likely his workload continues to get ramped up slowly. For the LG Twins hitters’ sake, Bell yielded the 15th highest HR/9 rate last season amongst qualified pitchers, so the power potential is still present in this matchup. Roberto Ramos (LG) is proving to be one of the most powerful (seven HR already), and complete, hitters in the league, but he and Eun-sung Chae (LG) are the only two hitters on the team with over two HRs so far. Even with Ramos hitting in the middle of the lineup, the team ranks just sixth in HRs/game (0.94). After starter Bell leaves, the Eagles will be relying on a bullpen that has been a mixed bag thus far. Closer Woo-ram Jung (HAN) has pitched remarkably in his role, and Jin-Young Kim (HAN) has been lights-out in 10 appearances (17 Ks in 10.0 innings), but most of the others have posted a FIP above 5.00.
As for the Eagles offensive prospects, the matchup against Tyler Wilson (LG) is no walk in the park, despite the fact he owns a 5.71 ERA through three starts. Wilson’s ERA is over a full point higher than his FIP and he is just one of 22 qualified pitchers that has posted a K-BB percentage of at least 11-percent. Jared Hoying’s (HAN) return to the lineup has already made a meaningful impact as evident by his four hits and two doubles over the course of his past two games. The power-devoid Eagles are more likely a lower half team in terms of power with Hoying as opposed to dead last in the league (that they have showed thus far). Still, this is a matchup between a pitcher that has posted a 3.10 FIP since joining the KBO versus an offense that ranks in the bottom three of nearly every major offensive category. The line is too low to feel great pounding the under so simply take the stand on the more reliable pitcher and offense.
LG Twins ML -159, 1U
SK Wyverns @ Doosan Bears
Good luck to the lowly SK Wyverns offense versus a pitcher, Chris Flexen (DOO), who has started to find his groove. Flexen was once considered a legitimate MLB prospect before receiving the ball to the big leagues too soon and phasing out. His stuff is proving to play quite well in a league where his average fastball velocity is 2-3mph higher than what the league is used to seeing. Only three qualified pitchers have posted a higher K rate than Flexen (28.2-percent) and just one of those pitchers has posted a lower BB rate than Flexen’s 5.1-percent. No team has struck out at a higher rate than the Wyverns and they also have averaged the fewest runs per game. Additionally, just the Eagles are the only team to have produced fewer HRs/game than the Wyverns, so Flexen is unlikely to fall victim to the long ball. Advantage: Flexen.
Meanwhile, the Doosan Bears are coming off an extremely disappointing zero run game their last time out and offensive juggernauts often do not stay down for long. Tonight is a perfect bounce-back spot versus Jong Hoon Park’s (SK) submarine style of pitching. If Park’s splits are at all going to be representative of submariners at the MLB level, lefties are going to feast off him and righties are going to have a tough time. Both the homers Park has allowed this year have come off the bats of right-handed hitters (RHHs) but one of those was Ha Seong Kim (KIW) who is arguably the top hitter in the entire league. One of the other top candidates for top hitter in the league, Jose Miguel Fernandez (DOO), is hitting .500 to start the year and headlines a lineup filled with lefties (Jae Hwan Kim (DOO), Joo Hwan Choi (DOO), Ji Hyuk Ryu (DOO), Jae Won Oh (DOO) and Se Hyuk Park (DOO)). Unfortunately, since Park’s delivery makes him easy to run on, this team is not loaded with speed which would have been the absolute icing on the cake. Still, the left-handed nature of the Bears lineup is a poor fit for Park, and the Bears should cruise to victory.
Doosan Bears -1.5 -132, 2U
Samsung Lions @ Lotte Giants
Dan Straily (LOT) has looked like the KBO’s version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as his results have been an extreme mixed bag. His one dominant outing game against the SK Wyverns who seem to make every opposing starting pitcher look like an ace. On the other hand, the Samsung Lions are coming off their single most impressive game of the year as they dominated the Bears in a 13-0 win. This quietly marked the third straight game in which the Lions have scored six-plus runs and they have hit five bombs during that stretch. When Straily goes wrong, it is often via the longball, so the Samsung line presents bettors with intriguing value.
Chae Heung Choi (SAM) is an average pitcher in every sense as he is not a gigantic strikeout threat, possesses decent control, allows a decent number of homers and owns a FIP around 4.00 over his last 151.2 IP. One positive here is the Lotte Giants are uniquely equipped to hit against LHP as Jun Woo Jeon (LOT), Dixon Machado (LOT), Byung Hun Min (LOT) and Dae Hoo Lee (LOT) all hit from the right side of the plate. However, their offense has been dying recently, averaging just 2.7 runs per game (R/G) over the span of their last six games. It is tough to put any faith in this offense against righties but they are worth gambling on against lefties. The Samsung moneyline value is too strong to pass on but the over/under in this game is strangely low. Take the over.
Samsung Lions ML +145, 1U
Samsung Lions/Lotte Giants Over 9.0 Runs -106, 1U
Kiwoom Heroes @ NC Dinos
The two best hitters on the Kiwoom Heroes, Byung Ho Park (KIW) and Ha Seong Kim (KIW), hit from the right side of the plate. That is arguably the only piece of good news for the Heroes offense against early MVP candidate Chang Mo Koo (NCD). After three starts, Koo ranks second in the league in K rate (32.9-percent), first in ERA and FIP and obviously tied for first in HR/9 rate (as he has yet to allow a single bomb). Koo is just 23-years old and trending upwards and is a tough matchup for whomever he faces. He proved he can hold his own, even against the best, when he shut down the Doosan Bears in his last start: 8.0 IP, three baserunners and one earned run with seven Ks. Betting on any offense versus Koo at this point is risky as he is mowing hitters down to begin the year.
The same cannot be said for Seung Ho Lee (KIW) who has allowed two-plus runs in all three starts this year. Furthermore, he sports the worst FIP of any pitcher on the slate since the start of the 2018 season. He posted an outlier strikeout game versus the most strikeout-prone offense (Wyverns) but had otherwise mediocre showings against some of the league’s worst offenses. Tonight’s task is by far his most difficult of the year and the Dinos will have their ace on the mound. Eating chalk is not something I love to do often but the Heroes are overmatched.
NC Dinos ML -198, 1U