Many people are turning to the KBO while the MLB isn’t available. The KBO represents an attractive opportunity for bettors. If you’re an MLB fan, or if you just like to bet on the MLB during the offseason of your favorite sport, you’ve already got a head start on betting on the KBO.
They’re both still baseball, after all. While it’s played halfway across the world, betting on the KBO is very similar to betting on the MLB. So, you’ll be familiar as soon as you tune in to a game or check the odds on your favorite online betting site or betting app.
Luckily, ESPN has begun airing KBO games. Even better, many betting sites also offer odds on the KBO.
While KBO betting from American sites has been available before, it’s more common now thanks to the South Korean league gaining in popularity.
While baseball is familiar to many and KBO games may look very similar to MLB games on the outside, there are some differences between the KBO and MLB you need to be aware of.
Learning more about the KBO will give you a better chance to make value bets on South Korea’s baseball action.
1 – Sportsbooks Offer Fewer Types of Bets
Even though sports betting sites and apps have begun to offer bets on KBO action, they don’t offer the same level of service that they do with MLB betting.
Moneyline, run line, and totals are offered to bettors by most betting sites and apps, but some other bet types are left out for KBO games.
While prop bets are more popular during the World Series, they’re still a staple MLB bet of many sportsbooks throughout the season.
Prop bets give people a chance to bet on small events that happen inside of a game, instead of game outcomes like totals, moneyline, or run line do.
Despite over-inflated odds given by sportsbooks, prop bets are still fun, especially if you’re a fan of a particular player like Carlos Correa and want to bet on how many runs + hits he’ll have in a game.
Unfortunately, these bets are hard to come by on KBO games. One of the downsides of the KBO being the only league currently in operation is that you won’t be able to make all the fun prop bets typically offered on MLB action.
You may see some bets soon like home runs + runs scored before the fifth inning by Aaron Altherr.
There are some futures bets available on KBO action, but sites do not offer as many futures bets on the KBO as they do on the MLB. Here’s a set of futures bets from the MLB betting sites.
2020 MLB NL West – To Win
- Los Angeles Dodgers (-859)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (+924)
- San Diego Padres (+1048)
- Colorado Rockies (+2897)
- San Francisco Giants (+8000)
Odds for division winners are lacking from sites offering KBO betting for two reasons.
First, the KBO doesn’t have divisions. The MLB is split up into si divisions of five teams each— the AL East, AL Central, AL West, NL East, NL Central, and NL West. Many bettors enjoy betting on divisional winners because it’s more predictable than World Series winners or other futures bets.
Teams in the MLB play an uneven amount of games against their own division, so it’s easy for teams to become rivals against teams in their own division, creating extra excitement for fans. While rivalries also exist in the KBO, they aren’t caused by divisions because the KBO consists of 10 teams that all play each other the same number of games.
Secondly, betting sites and apps haven’t had as much time to develop odds for the KBO league, so many of the bets you’d expect to find are missing from popular betting sites. Other types of futures bets are also unavailable on most sports betting sites.
Other common futures bets not offered on KBO games include league MVP, Cy Young awards, Rookie of the Year odds, and odds for which players will achieve certain statistical milestones (like odds that Aaron Judge will lead the AL in home runs).
While the KBO has fewer futures available than MLB action, they still have futures for the winner of the entire league. The KBO equivalent to the World Series is the Korean Championship. Bettors can bet on which team will win the championship at some betting sites.
Currently, the NC Dinos have the best odds in the league, at +350. Named for NC Soft, a South Korean video game company famous for releasing Guild Wars amongst other titles, the Dinos have overall been a successful team. Their overall franchise win-loss record is 499-461.
The Dinos and KT Wiz are two of the newest teams to join the KBO. Even though the Dinos have recently joined, they’ve already had some success. Unfortunately, they’ve previously lost the Korean Series and the playoffs to the Bears after two great seasons. They’re off to a great start so far this season.
Even though they finished last year with a record barely above .500 at 73-69, they’ve gotten off to such a hot start this year that they’ve already increased their odds from +500 at the beginning of the season to +350 currently.
Despite the fewer number of bets available on the KBO season, people will still enjoy what is offered as many patiently wait for sports to return to their country.
Moneyline, run line, totals, and some futures bets on the KBO are the best options available for baseball fans right now.
2 – No Universal DH
A huge difference between the KBO and the MLB is the Universal DH. The major leagues are split when it comes to the universal DH. The AL has a DH in all games between American League teams while the NL forces pitchers to bat for themselves.
However, the KBO has a DH in all games. Part of the reason the KBO has historically had more offense than the MLB is the universal DH, which puts a powerful hitter in place of a poor-hitting pitcher in all their lineups.
A great DH will make any KBO team better. So, if you see a player tearing up the league like Jose Miguel Fernandez, consider making a bet on that team to score lots of runs.
The lack of a pitcher hitting means less low-scoring games that fans of National League baseball are accustomed to.
3 – Tie Games
Another rule difference like the Universal DH that could affect your bets is tie games being allowed in the KBO. KBO games will be declared ties after the 12th inning in the regular season and after the 15th inning in the postseason.
The Lotte Giants finished last year with three tie games. Prepare for bets to push occasionally in the KBO but don’t let such an unlikely occurrence deter you from betting on South Korean baseball.
4 – Crowds Are Rowdy
The last difference really sets South Korean baseball apart from its American counterpart which is that the fans at KBO games can get loud.
While MLB games may have fans doing the wave occasionally, or cheering in the later innings of a tightly-contested game, KBO games are loud from the beginning.
Different players will have their own chants. When Jose Miguel Fernandez comes to bat for the Doosan Bears, the crowd will sing a personalized chant to cheer him on, while playing instruments, stomping, and clapping along.
If you’re betting a lot on the KBO and watching the games on ESPN, you may find yourself drawn into the crowd’s fervor.
How do you think betting on the KBO is different from betting on the MLB? Let us know in the comments.