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South Korea Baseball Gets Star Treatment From Sports-Hungry Sportsbooks

Written by:
Ean Lamb
Published on:
May/04/2020

Most US sports fans knew very little about Korean Baseball outside of a few solid players joining American teams.  They are about to become very familiar with it in the coming weeks as Major League Baseball remains sidelined.  BetOnline has begun to promote daily Korean Baseball game lines.

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ESPN.com has published a good piece on key players and power rankings.

And one of the more popular teams:

The Doosan Bears.

The Bears enter the 2020 season as defending champions, and one of the teams to beat in the Korean Baseball Organization. Located in the capital city of Seoul, the Bears are one of the more analytically inclined and well-run organizations in the KBO, often thought of in the same light as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros (pre-trash-can-banging scandal). Managed by Tae-hyoung Kim, the Bears lost reigning KBO MVP Josh Lindblom to the Brewers, who gave the pitcher a three-year, $9.125 million contract. But they return 2018 MVP outfielder Jae-Hwan Kim, who hopes to bounce back after hitting .283/.369/.434 with 15 homers in 2019, down considerably from his MVP numbers (.334/.410/.657 and 44 homers). 

Just like with Major League Baseball in the US, moneylines are offered.

BetOnline had lines and totals on all of Tuesday's games.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020 - South Korea KBO Game
01:00 AM 304601 Kiwoom Heroes     -1½ +135 o   -128 o   Ov -125 o                    
304602 KIA Tigers     +1½ -155 o   +108 o   Un +105 o                    
 
01:00 AM 304603 Lotte Giants     +1½ -160 o   +120 o   Ov 9 +105 o                    
304604 KT Wiz Suwon     -1½ +140 o   -140 o   Un 9 -125 o                    
 
01:00 AM 304605 Doosan Bears     -1½ +120 o   -140 o   Ov 8 -120 o                    
304606 LG Twins     +1½ -140 o   +120 o   Un 8 +100 o                    
 
01:00 AM 304607 NC Dinos     -1½ +105 o   -165 o   Ov -110 o                    
304608 Samsung Lions     +1½ -125 o   +145 o   Un -110 o                    
 
01:00 AM 304609 Hanwha Eagles     +1½ -135 o   +170 o   Ov 8 -105 o                    
304610 SK Wyverns     -1½ +115 o   -195 o   Un 8 -115  

 

Five more names U.S. fans should know 

LF Jae-Hwan Kim (Doosan Bears): Kim was posted, somewhat surprisingly, this past offseason. The Miami Marlins showed interest, but Kim ultimately didn't sign with an MLB team. He returned to the Bears, who can post him again after the 2020 season. Kim is a 31-year-old left-handed hitter who totaled 116 home runs and 372 RBIs from 2016 to 2018, with an OPS over 1.000 each season. But his numbers fell when the league switched to a bigger, heavier ball to neutralize offense in 2019, finishing with a .283/.362/.434 slash line and 15 home runs in 574 plate appearances. 

SP Dan Straily (Lotte Giants): After an eight-year career that saw him accumulate 803⅓ innings for six major league organizations, Straily headed east, signing a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Giants in December. Straily will hope to follow the path of someone like Josh Lindblom, a seasoned major league pitcher who won the KBO's MVP award last year and immediately found himself back in the majors with a sizable contract. 

OF Sung-Bum Na (NC Dinos): Na starred for the Dinos from 2014 to 2018. He hired agent Scott Boras with hopes of signing with a major league team after the 2019 season, but he suffered a gruesome leg injury just 23 games into it, all but eliminating the possibility. Now Na seeks a major bounce-back performance. Before the injury, the 30-year-old left-handed hitter produced five consecutive seasons of at least a .309 batting average and an .885 OPS. 

1B Dae-Ho Lee (Lotte Giants): Lee is probably the Albert Pujols of the KBO -- highly accomplished, well-compensated and late in his career. Lee is the league's highest-paid player, a man who has amassed 312 home runs and 1,742 hits over the course of 14 seasons. But he is 37, and last year, his power numbers fell off considerably -- as did the entire league's -- although he still batted .285/.355/.435. Lee had a memorable stint with the Seattle Mariners in 2016. The M's general manager, Jerry Dipoto, said Lee is "roughly Babe Ruth in the KBO." 

OF Jung-Hoo Lee (Kiwoom Heroes): Lee, the son of former KBO MVP Jong-Beom Lee, was the league's rookie of the year straight out of high school in 2017. In three seasons, he has put up a .338/.397/.449 slash line, striking out only 18 more times than he has walked. He is only 21 but is already considered the league's premier contact hitter. His goal for 2020 is to record more than 200 hits. (KBO's single-season record is 201.) -- Alden Gonzalez 

- Ean Lamb, Gambling911.com

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