Baseball was introduced to Korea during the brief time when the nation was known as the Korean Empire.
From 1897 to 1905, the area known now as South Korea and North Korea was known as the Korean Empire. In 1910, the empire was annexed by Japan after becoming its colony in 1905.
In 1896, US missionaries first brought the game of baseball to the peninsula east of mainland China. While under Japanese rule, Koreans adapted to baseball and it became a popular pastime.
Unfortunately, baseball was not all fun and games in Korea.
In 1923, a team of American troops faced off against a team of Koreans and won 23-3. Despite the royal walloping by foreigners, Koreans didn’t give up and continued to play the game they love.
At least one Korean was again met by great American baseball players when a team led by Babe Ruth toured Japan in 1934.
Baseball would not be played professionally in Korea until 1982, after the Korean War, which divided Korea into North Korea and South Korea in 1954. Baseball is not played with the same fervor in North Korea that it is in South Korea.
While the league doesn’t operate at the same level that Major League Baseball does (it’s considered to have a competition level between AA and AAA), people are still passionate about the sport.
Betting on the KBO is also popular, both at home and abroad. Many American bettors take part in KBO betting through sports betting websites or mobile sports betting apps. Most sites offer 3 types of bets on KBO.
Moneyline is the first type of bet you’ll see on most sites. Moneyline bets are the most obvious kind of bet—they’re just a prediction of which team will win the game.
Once you feel like you know which team has an advantage, you can proceed to place a bet on any online sportsbook or app offering KBO action.
One thing you’ll need to learn before placing bets is how odds work. While it’s easy to predict which team will win, it’s harder to make money when casinos payout more for underdogs and less for favorites.
- An underdog is a team deemed less likely to win by the oddsmakers.
- Underdogs will have a +sign next to their odds which may look like: +130.
130 indicates how much the team is an underdog by. The further the number is from 100, the more of a longshot that team is to win. And the more of a longshot they are, the more the sportsbook will payout if you win a bet on them.
You can calculate the payout of an underdog bet by using $100 as your starting point. If you were to bet $100 on a team with +130 odds, you would take home $130.
The riskier of a bet you make, the more bookies will payout. Inversely, if you’re betting on favorites, which carry less risk of losing, you won’t get as much of a payout.
For this reason, many are drawn to betting on underdogs instead of favorites because the potential reward is higher. While the reward is higher, you should only bet on teams you think will win, and not let your decision be swayed by the odds of the game.
Now that we know how moneyline bets work, let’s look at an example using odds for a KBO game:
Doosan Bears vs KT Wiz
- Doosan Bears (-208)
- KT Wiz (+152)
As we can see here, the Doosan Bears are the heavy favorite and the KT Wiz are the underdogs.
One question you may be asking yourself is, “Why are the Doosan Bears heavier favorites than the KT Wiz are underdogs?”
That’s because odds will be juiced towards one side or the other.
Here, the book is really not paying out well for betting on the Bears, so, unless you’re really sure that Doosan is a mortal lock, a bet on them doesn’t make sense.
The book is trying to draw more people to bet on the KT Wiz because the Bears are such prohibitive favorites.
The Bears are already off to a good start after sweeping the Kiwoom Heroes in the Korean Series (the KBO equivalent to the World Series) last year. Doosan is a dominant squad and so far this year, they’re already off to a 15-9 start.
The KT Wiz, on the other hand, is off to a woeful 10-14 start, the third-worst record in the league. They finished last year with an even .500 record, but have been unable to achieve the same mediocrity in the early part of the 2020 season.
It’s easy to see why the bookies give the advantage to the Doosan Bears so heavily.
The Wiz are already struggling this year and don’t look like they’ll pull off any miracle runs.
2- Run Line
The run line is very similar to a moneyline bet, but it includes a spread.
If the favorite team wins by more than the spread, then the bet pays out to those who wagered on the favorite.
If the underdog team wins, ties, or loses by less than the spread, then the bet pays out to those who bet on the underdog.
The spread helps diminish the odds and make it more even for those who want to bet on the favorite.
While football spreads typically range from 0.5 to 13.5, baseball run lines are usually 1.5— meaning the favorite must win by 2 runs or more for a bet on them to payout.
Doosan Bears vs KT Wiz
- Doosan Bears -1.5 (-123)
- KT Wiz -1.5 (-107)
Compared to the moneyline bet above, which was on the same game as this one, the spread bet is much more balanced.
You won’t receive a huge payout for betting on the underdog KT WIz, and you’re not punished for betting on the favorite Doosan Bears.
Spread bets are great if you want to bet on a favorite team, and if you are confident they’ll win by the run line or more. If you’re betting on the underdog, you may rather bet moneyline instead, as you’ll get a much bigger payout.
The final bet available for KBO games is a totals bet. Totals bets let you vote over or under on a total set by the sportsbook.
If you think the total runs scored by both teams will be more than the given total, you take the over. If you think the runs scored will be less, you take the under.
Like moneyline and run line bets, totals bets will be juiced towards one side or the other.
Doosan Bears vs KT Wiz
- Over 11.5 (-107)
- Under 11.5 (-123)
Here, the odds will pay out better to people who bet the over. Betting the over can earn you $100 for a $107 stake while betting the under will payout $100 for a $123 stake.
We can infer based on the odds that the sportsbook expects more bettors to take the over and are trying to gently urge more people to take the under on this bet.
Jose Miguel Fernandez is one of their best hitters and has gotten off to a great start this year.
He’s hit .465 through 111 Pa’s and has already knocked in 27 RBIs for the bears.
The KBO has historically been an offensively dominant league. It’s famous for lots of home runs, high-scoring games, and, of course, bat flips.
Despite its history as an offensively charged league, the league has taken steps to reduce offensive output in recent years—some of the teams have moved their stadium’s fences back to increase the outfield’s dimensions.
Also, the strike zone was widened in 2017 to decrease the duration of games. Another effect of the increased strike zone size was a reduction in offense.
Nonetheless, the KBO still scores more runs per game than the MLB does, so keep that in mind while you’re betting totals on the KBO.
Have you made any KBO bets? What type of bet do you like? Let us know in the comments.