The 2022 KBO season will officially kick off on Saturday with opening day. With the Major League Baseball campaign set to follow just five days later, this is a pretty fun time of the year to be a baseball bettor. The KBO has become one of the most popular leagues in the world, especially over the past couple of years.
The Dinos stormed their way to their first-ever Korean Series victory two years ago. However, NC slumped to an incredibly disappointing seventh-place finish a season ago and missed out entirely on postseason play.
The oddsmakers over at BetOnline like the Dinos to get their 2022 campaign started with a win. NC is a heavy -140 moneyline favorite in this one, while SSG’s moneyline odds check in at +111.
After a brief two-year stint in the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals, longtime KBO star Kwang-hyun Kim is back in South Korea. The soft-tossing left-hander inked a four-year deal to return to his native country to pitch for SSG earlier this month. Kim will receive approximately $12 million in guarantees in his new contract.
Kim’s numbers were a bit lucky in the United States, but he has a long track record of success at the KBO level. He’ll slot into the Landers’ rotation behind another former big leaguer, Wilmer Font. Font is scheduled to start on opening day for SSG.
Interestingly enough, Saturday’s game will be Fon’t first-ever outing against the Dinos. You’d think every regular starter would see every other team at least once in a 10-team league, but Font never saw NC as a KBO rookie a season ago.
Font finished his first year in the KBO with just one victory across his final four starts, as well.
As mentioned, the Dinos didn’t at all live up to expectations after winning it all in 2020. NC had one of the most loaded offenses in the KBO that year, but they weren’t able to keep it going last summer. After going a league-best 83-55-6 in 2020, the Dinos finished with 17 fewer wins a season ago.
Ace Drew Rucinski will take the ball on opening day for the Dinos. He endured a bit of bad luck last year, but he was still a steady presence at the top of the Dinos’ rotation.
The American right-hander went 15-10 with a 3.17 ERA in 30 starts for the Dinos last year. That was his highest ERA in three seasons since coming to South Korea after posting a 3.05 mark in each of his first two years. Rucinski actually led the KBO with 19 wins in the Dinos’ 2020 dream season.
Rucinski went 2-1 in his three starts against the Landers last season. He allowed just one run in his final 11 innings of work against SSG across two starts after yielding four runs in his first matchup with the Landers.
SSG Landers vs. NC Dinos KBO Game Pick
Rucinski has quickly earned a reputation as one of the KBO’s bona fide aces. The 33-year-old has found a home in South Korea after struggling through mediocre stints with the Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, and Miami Marlins between 2014 and 2018.
Historically, the Dinos have been a pretty safe bet with Rucinski on the mound. Take the Dinos to win this one outright and get off to a 1-0 start. There is still decent value to be had in NC’s -140 moneyline odds.
SSG Landers vs. NC Dinos Betting Recap
- Moneyline: SSG Landers +111, NC Dinos -140
- Runline: SSG Landers +1.5 (-140), NC Dinos -1.5 (+160)
- Over/Under: Over 6.5 runs (-110), Under 6.5 runs (-110)
- Pick: NC Dinos (-140)