Wednesday, June 3rd Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Betting Guide
Tonight’s KBO slate is headlined by a game with a 12.5-run total and a pair of American aces. For the first time all year, this article features multiple bets of over one unit, as handicapping is becoming more and more straightforward as the sample sizes grow. 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):
Lotte Giants @ Kia Tigers
The extremely right-handed Lotte Giants offense finds themselves matched up against a left-hander and yet this is still a tough matchup for them. Opposing starter Hyun Jong Yang (KIA) is fresh off a 2019 season where he held opponents to a 0.29 HR/9 rate and .237 AVG against him en route to a 2.29 ERA, 2.59 FIP. Unfortunately for him, the start of his 32-year old season has not been as kind to him, as he has yielded a 1.04 HR/9 rate (which would be his worst tally in the category since his 2007 rookie season) and owns a 4.67 FIP. Two rough starts against the Wiz and Heroes have been the culprits as Yang has otherwise been solid in those other three starts. Even though the Giants offense has been quiet as of late (2.78 runs per game (R/G) over their last nine games), they are well-equipped to hit southpaws, so something has to give.
As for the Kia Tigers, they will do battle against Adrian Sampson (LOT) in just his second KBO start. The team imposed a pitch count on him his first time out, which held him to just 59-pitches, and that number is likely to increase tonight. Despite the mediocre results at the MLB level, Sampson’s skill set still should translate to an upper-echelon pitcher in this league, as evident by his 2.30 FIP in his first start. Thus far, the Tigers rank below the league average in terms of R/G and home runs (HR) per game (HR/G) but rarely strike out (16.9-percent K rate) and are amongst the most patient teams in the league (9.7-percent BB rate). Sampson struggled at the MLB level, but it was never due to a lack of control, and it should be noted the Giants bullpen ranks second in the league in ERA (4.93). The Tigers are favored in this game but there is enough value with the line to target the underdogs. Ride the Giants.
Lotte Giants ML +132, 1U
Doosan Bears @ KT Wiz
Probable starter Hyeong Jun So (KTW) for the Wiz has all the makings of the worst starter on the entire slate. At age 18, So has looked overmatched by KBO hitters, striking out just 8.0-percent of the batters he has faced while posting a 1.66 WHIP and 1.25 HR/9 rate. He simply does not appear ready to compete at the KBO level but will keep getting tossed out there to gain the necessary experience. Jae Il Oh (DOO) returned to the Doosan Bears lineup over the weekend which rejuvenated an offense that was struggling a bit without him. Additionally, the Wiz own the worst bullpen ERA in the league, so this could be a bloodbath.
The same holds true on both sides of the ball as the Wiz are the only team with a worse bullpen ERA (7.82) than the Bears (7.58). Yong Chan Lee (DOO) has long been susceptible to the long ball (0.97 HR/9 rate allowed since the start of 2018) and he has slowly been depreciating as a pitcher since 2016. Through four starts this year, Lee has been blasted to the tune of a 8.72 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 2.08 HR/9 rate and 6.35 FIP. In fact, Lee has struck out just 11.9-percent of opposing hitters, so he will be pitching to contact to the likes of Mel Rojas Jr. (KTW), Jeong Dae Bae (KTW) and the rest of the offense that ranks second in R/G. Instead of choosing sides in a game where both offenses find themselves in great spots, pound the over instead.
Doosan Bears/KT Wiz OVER 12.5 Runs, 3U
SK Wyverns @ NC Dinos
Jae Hak Lee (NCD) felt the wrath of the SK Wyverns offense last night which will happen occasionally if failing to miss their bats. Even so, they still rank in the bottom three of R/G after their eight run explosion on Tuesday morning. However, both the top bats in this lineup, Jamie Romak (SK) and Jeong Choi (SK), hit from the right side of the plate and feature wOBA baselines over .395 versus left-handed pitching (LHP) in the DailyRoto model. In other words, they actually match up better versus tonight’s starter Sung Young Choi (NCD) than they did versus Lee. Choi’s above average K stuff should play well versus a team sporting a 19.4-percent K rate, but his 4.54 FIP is amongst the worst of starters on this slate with an extended KBO sample.
On the other side of this game, the Dinos will take on Geon Wook Lee (SK) and his slate-best 25.0-percent K rate. Of course, this can be taken with a grain of salt, considering his entire KBO sample consists of 10.2 innings. Quietly, the Dinos have struck out at the fourth highest rate in the league, with Aaron Altherr (NCD), Sung Bum Na (NCD) and Jin-hyuk No (NCD) all having struck out at rates of at least 23.9-percent. Both teams in this game feature average bullpens and the sample size is too small on Lee to draw any direct conclusions yet. The Dinos are the superior team on paper, but that is properly weighted in the line, so this is a tough game to handicap. For me, this game is the lowest priority, but I expect the Dinos to put up a fight after losing 8-2 last night.
NC Dinos ML -173, 1U
Samsung Lions @ LG Twins
Casey Kelly (LG) has looked like some mixture of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the early-going as he has rotated dominant starts with those in which he has been hit hard. Last time out versus Hanwha, the upside showed, as he whiffed 10 Eagles and allowed just seven baserunners and zero runs in six innings. Since joining the KBO, Kelly’s 3.14 FIP puts him in an elite tier, and that is how to view him versus a below-average KBO offense. Once Kelly leaves the game, the LG bullpen is best in the league, so the Lions offense is in a world of trouble here.
Meanwhile, the Lions will toss 18-year old Yoon-dong Heo (SAM) who shut out a struggling Giants offense in his first career start (although it should be noted he walked four and struck out just one). Roberto Ramos (LG) and Hyun Soo Kim (LG) are amongst the best hitting duos in the league but it should be noted Heo is a left-hander (which limits their appeal since both are lefties in their own right). Righties are still scattered throughout the Twins lineup, including Eun Sung Chae (LG) and Min Sung Kim (LG), so it is not like this offense has no chance versus LHP. By the way, two of Ramos’ 10 homers have come off LHP, so the Twins appear better-suited to excel than their counterpart.
LG Twins ML -192, 2U
Kiwoom Heroes @ Hanwha Eagles
The Heroes lineup is filled with powerful, strikeout-prone hitters so it has not been surprising to see them excel versus pitchers who fail to miss their bats. Warwick Saupold (HAN) is a former MLB pitcher who bettors may hold in high regard but he is nowhere near the elite strikeout pitcher that other Americans in the league have proven to be (16.0-percent K rate). Since he does not miss bats, it is not surprising that he has allowed eight, six and 12 hits respectively over the course of his last three games. If the Heroes are able to rack up hits versus the Eagles, a short Saupold start means an extended stint versus a bullpen that owns the third worst ERA as well.
Young Gun Jo (KIW) is the starter listed for the Heroes and he legit may have the best name in the entire KBO. Young Gun is indeed a young gun (21-years old) and has made exactly two appearances in two seasons up until this point. He pitched an inning his first time out this year and this is pretty clearly a bullpen game for the Heroes. On paper, the Heroes bullpen rates as slightly above average, but their plan past Jo is unclear. Hanwha’s bats have simply been dead this year and the lineup is so left-handed that lefty relievers, of which the Heroes bullpen includes three, should be expected to dominate. The Heroes line is peculiar as they would still project as a solid value at -150-plus.
Kiwoom Heroes ML -127, 2U