While the MLB season is currently on hold as the player’s union and the owners try to navigate how to start the season, baseball action has returned in the form of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO).
The KBO season is still in its infancy but many sports betting sites are offering bets on the league.
If you’re starved for some baseball action or any sports where you can make a bet, the KBO should be right up your alley.
KBO League Structure
Unlike the MLB, where teams are split up into 6 divisions and 2 leagues, the KBO consists of only one league.
The KBO All-Star game breaks up the regular season action in mid-July, providing the players with a much-needed break from the long season.
Compared to the MLB, the KBO has a simple league structure.
Each MLB team is scheduled to play its division rivals more often than other teams in the league, resulting in an unbalanced schedule.
Teams in the AL East will play teams in their own division more than they play teams in the other 2 divisions.
As a result, some divisions end up much more competitive than others, making it difficult to place season total bets in the MLB as some teams have much tougher roads in the regular season depending on the division they play in.
No teams have to play more games against tougher opponents, so the true talent level of each team is more reflected in the regular-season win total.
KBO Playoff Structure
The playoffs in the KBO operate differently than the MLB’s. If you’re making future’s bets on the KBO Korean Series, you should be aware of the distinctions between the 2 formats.
- The top 5 teams based on win/loss records qualify for the playoffs
- The KBO Wildcard game pits the 4th place team against the 5th place team. The 4th place team advances with a win or a tie while the 5th place team must win twice to advance
- The KBO Semi-Playoffs consist of the wildcard game-winner against the 3rd place team
- The KBO Playoffs makes the Semi-Playoffs winner play the 2nd place team
- The KBO Korean Series pits the Playoffs winner versus the 1st place team
Unlike the MLB, where the 6 division-winning teams get a bye in the wildcard round, and then all 8 division series teams are placed on even footing (aside from home-field advantage), the KBO gives a huge boost to the teams with the best regular-season record.
Getting a bye past the whole playoffs to the Korean Series is huge for the first-place team in the KBO.
Playoffs are very unpredictable in the MLB, and oftentimes an inferior team can make it to the World Series from a few lucky hits or stellar pitching performances.
This isn’t so in the KBO though, the first-place team is guaranteed a spot in the finals, the second-place team a spot in the playoffs, and the 3rd place team a spot in the semi-playoffs.
Teams with a great regular season record are rewarded with a significant advantage in the playoffs.
If you’re making futures bets on the winner of the KBO Korean Series, consider how much of an advantage the team with the best record in the league has when placing your bets.
Teams in the KBO
|KT Wiz||Suwon, Gyeonggi|
|NC Dinos||Changwon, Gyeongnam|
Differences Between KBO and MLB
In addition to the differences in regular-season and postseason formats, the KBO also has 2 different rules granting distinction to the league from the MLB.
The KBO uses a universal designated hitter in all of its games.
The KBO also allows ties. Regular season games will be declared ties after 12 innings, and postseason games will be ties after 15 innings.
The most ties recorded by a team in 2019 was 3, so ties are not a common occurrence in the KBO. Still, a push is possible on a KBO moneyline or run line bet, unlike in MLB bets.
While the NPB, the professional league of Japan, is considered to be only one step below MLB in terms of abilities of the players, the KBO is somewhere between AA and AAA.
You can expect to see more infielders drop grounders, commit throwing errors, or fail to convert double play opportunities than you would in a major league game.
The pitching is also less dominant and teams carry less 100 mph closers in the KBO compared to MLB teams.
Many of the best players from KBO will be snatched up by MLB teams, further reducing the level of play in South Korea.
And many MLB players who fail to be regulars in America will find success in South Korea thanks to the lower competition level.
Even though the competition level is lower than MLB, it’s still the highest level of baseball being played in the world right now— so if you’re an MLB fan, the KBO is your best bet to see some top-level play.
Types of KBO Bets
Many of the same bets available from sports betting sites for MLB games are also available for KBO games. While there are not as many prop bets or futures bets available on KBO action, all the betting staples are offered for betting on this exciting league.
Moneyline bets are available on the KBO and are one of the easiest bets to understand.
Unfortunately, there’s a little more to it than that. Teams will be given odds, so you’ll be given more or less money depending on whom you pick to win.
- Samsung Lions -150
- Lotte Giants +120
Here, the Lions are considered the favorite. You’d have to bet $150 to win $100 if you bet on the Giants.
The Giants, however, are the underdog. If you bet $100 on the Giants, you’ll come away with $120. While betting on underdogs may seem more lucrative, there’s a reason they’re considered underdogs: they’re always losing.
Run line betting is available for KBO games.
Usually, the run line is set at 1.5. Here’s an example bet:
- Samsung Lions -1.5 (-115)
- Lotte Giants +1.5 (-115)
Here, the Lions are considered the favorite. A run line bet means the favorite team (Lions) must win by 2 runs or more for a bet on them to payout.
It’s easier for a bet on an underdog like the Giants to payout in a run line than it is in a moneyline bet since the bet will also payout if the team loses by only 1 run or ties.
Like other leagues, totals bets are also available when making KBO bets. Totals are also known as over/unders and are bets based on the total number of runs both teams will score in a contest.
- Over 7.5 (-115)
- Under 7.5 (-120)
Here, you would bet the over if you think the combined total of runs scored between the 2 teams will be 8 or greater.
However, if you wanted to pick the under, you’re betting that the total runs scored will be 7 or less. If you bet $120 on the under, you can win $100.
Many sites also offer futures bets on KBO baseball.
Where You Can Bet on the KBO
You can bet on the KBO on many sports betting sites and mobile betting apps in America.
While KBO betting has not always been extremely popular amongst US bettors, due to alternatives like the MLB, NFL, and NBA, it’s become more popular recently since other sports have been delayed or had their seasons stalled.
Where to Watch the KBO
KBO is currently airing on ESPN 2, as networks search for engaging programming.
ESPN2 airs 6 KBO games a week. Games are aired from 5:30 AM ET Tuesday through Friday, 4 AM ET Saturday, and 1 AM ET on Sundays.
Have you made any KBO bets? How did they turn out? Let us know in the comments.