Thursday’s KBO slate brought a few surprises, including an 8-3 win for the KT Wiz over the Doosan Bears. We also had the “over” hit in the Dinos-SSG Landers game, while the Tigers led the way with 10 runs in their easy win over the Lotte Giants.
Friday brings five brand-new series matchups as we head into the weekend, so let’s get right to it with our April 16th picks for betting the KBO league.
Doosan Bears vs LG Twins
As mentioned, Doosan fell 8-3 to the Wiz on Thursday, and on Friday the Bears will open a series against the LG Twins. The Twins are -144 moneyline favorites in a game with an over/under of 8.5 runs.
We’ve got a pair of American starting pitchers going toe-to-toe in this one. Right-hander Casey Kelly gets the ball for the Twins, while Walker Lockett will take the mound for the Bears. Kelly doesn’t have a decision through his first two starts of the year, but he has allowed just three total runs across 10 innings of work against the NC Dinos and SSG Landers. Last year, Kelly pitched to a 3.32 ERA with a 15-7 record across 28 games, and he has a low 2.92 ERA since debuting in the KBO back in 2019.
Lockett, who has major league experience with the Padres and Mets, is 1-0 on the year with a tidy 1.54 ERA in his first year in the league. The righty held Kia to a run on seven hits with a pair of strikeouts in his season debut before allowing a run on four hits with seven punchouts against the Eagles in his most recent start. Lockett doesn’t have as proven a track record as his mound opponent at the KBO level, but this game does have the potential to turn into a pitcher’s duel.
The Bears’ offense has been rather quiet so far this season, while Lockett has pitched very well thus far. The over/under of 8.5 runs in this one is tied for the lowest of the five games today, but I think the under has merit in this one. Runs will come at a premium in this one, so I like the under at -120.
Pick: Under 8.5
$100 Could Win You…$183.33
Kiwoom Heroes vs KT Wiz
The Heroes fell 6-4 at the hands of the Twins last night, and they’ll start a weekend series against the KT Wiz in Suwon on Friday. KT took two of three from Doosan during the week, but their 4-6 record on the year is tied for the worst in the league through 10 games. MyBookie has the Wiz as -142 home favorites tonight in a game with a 9.5 over/under.
KT will have So Hyeong-jun on the mound in this one, while Kiwoom counters with Han Hyun-hee. So recorded a respectable 3.86 ERA in 26 games last year, but he doesn’t have a decision through his first two starts of 2021. The right-hander allowed a couple of runs on five hits with seven Ks in his season debut against Hanwha back on April 4 before being touched up for four runs on six hits last time out against Samsung.
Han is in his ninth season in the KBO, but this will be his first start of the new year. He got off to an incredible start by posting ERAs in the low-3.00s in each of his first three professional seasons, but he has fallen on harder times since. The 27-year-old posted a 4.98 ERA while going just 7-9 in 25 games a season ago for Kiwoom.
Han has a lot more experience under his belt than his 19-year-old counterpart here, but the Wiz are justifiably heavy home favorites in this one. It’s been years since Han was anything more than an average starter in the KBO, while So looks like one of the most promising young pitchers in the game. In a game between a pair of mid-table sides, I’ll take a shot on KT to win the game at -140 on the moneyline tonight.
$100 Could Win You…$170.42
Kia Tigers vs SSG Landers
Kia put 10 runs on the board last night against Lotte, with Choi Won-jun, Choi Hyoung-woo, Han Seung-taek, and Park Chan-ho all recording at least two hits in the offensive onslaught. They’ll start a new series with SSG Landers tonight with both teams entering at 5-5 on the year.
SSG Landers are sizable -153 moneyline favorites here with MLB veteran Artie Lewicki getting the start. Kia will give the ball to 27-year-old right-hander Im Gi-yeong. Lewicki, a former Detroit Tiger, is now a Kia Tiger in his first year in South Korea. He has allowed exactly two runs in each of his first two KBO starts against Lotte and LG over the course of 12 innings of work. Lewicki doesn’t project to be a particularly high-strikeout pitcher at this level, but most former MLBers tend to find a good bit of success once they move to the KBO.
Im got off to a brutal start by allowing eight runs on seven hits, including a pair of homers, in his 2021 debut against the NC Dinos. The right-hander has a career 5.22 ERA in the KBO, including a 5.15 mark in 25 starts last year for the Tigers. Kia is at the back end of their rotation tonight, while the Tigers are hoping Lewicki can develop into one of their more reliable starters.
There seems to be a sizable talent discrepancy among the starters in this one, so it’s easy to see why SSG Landers are so heavily favored at home. Back SSG to win this one, and there’s decent value on this team to cover the runline (1.5) at +124 odds.
Pick: Landers -1.5
$100 Could Win You…$224.00
Samsung Lions vs Lotte Giants
Samsung closed out their series against Hanwha with a 4-0 shutout last night. Tonight, the Tigers will take on the Lotte Giants to begin a three-game weekend set. The Giants are the second-biggest moneyline favorites (-260) on the slate in a game with an over/under of 8.5 runs.
Lotte has ex-Reds right-hander Dan Straily on the mound, while the Lions will throw former Phillies righty Ben Lively. Straily was a pretty respectable pitcher at the MLB level, so the fact that he has come to South Korea and dominated is hardly a surprise. In his first year in the league, Straily went 15-4 with a 2.50 ERA with 205 strikeouts in 194.2 innings of work. He signed a one-year deal worth $1.2 million to return to the Giants this offseason, which makes him one of the highest-paid players in the league.
Lively is one of Samsung’s better starters, but he isn’t quite as good as Straily is. Lively has a 4.51 ERA since arriving in the KBO in 2019, and he has been in poor form to start the new campaign. Lively yielded six runs on six hits against Kiwoom in his first start before KT scored another five runs on five hits against him last time out.
It’s hard to bet against the Giants whenever Straily is on the mound, regardless of who is on the other side. Samsung may be off to a decent 6-5 start, but bet against Straily at your own peril. The -260 moneyline doesn’t offer much value, so I don’t mind taking a shot on Lotte to cover the runline betting option at -120 instead.
Pick: Giants -1.5
$100 Could Win You…$183.33
Hanwha Eagles vs NC Dinos
The Hanwha Eagles taking on the NC Dinos is akin to the Texas Rangers taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hanwha finished dead-last in the league standings in 2020, while the Dinos won the title. So, it comes as little surprise to see the Dinos listed as massive -454 favorites to win on the moneyline tonight at MyBookie’s online sportsbook.
NC also has one of their aces on the hill in Drew Rucinski. He posted twin 3.05 ERAs in each of his first two years with the Dinos in 2019 and 2020, and he’s off to a 1-0 start with a 1.05 ERA through two starts in 2021. Rucinski hasn’t been quite as impressive as Straily from a strikeouts perspective, but he still allowed just 62 earned runs in 183 innings of work a season ago.
The Eagles will counter with right-hander Jang Si-hwan. The 33-year-old has been in the KBO since 2007, and his career numbers are nothing to write home about. Jang was lit up for six runs on seven hits in his season debut against Doosan, and he has a career 5.38 ERA in the league. He was the second overall pick in the draft way back in 2007 by the Hyundai Unicorns, but he has never been able to live up to that lofty billing.
This game is setting up to be a lopsided trainwreck in favor of the Dinos, which is why they’re actually the only 2.5-run favorite on the slate. The odds still favor the Dinos to cover that margin (-130), but that’s clearly the best way to attack this game. I suppose you can take a flier on Hanwha at the advantageous +280 odds and hope for a miracle, but siding with the Dinos to cover the runline is the safe bet.
Pick: Dinos -2.5
$100 Could Win You…$177.52
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu …