For almost three weeks straight, the Hanwha Eagles have tested the laws of probability. Well, we should spell that “Hanha” because there hasn’t been a “w” since May 22.
Thursday morning’s 5-0 shutout loss to the Lotte Giants in Busan extended the Eagles’ misery to 17 straight losses. And, it’s not like you can attribute the streak to a run of bad luck in close games. Hanwha hasn’t suffered a single one-run loss during the entire streak!
Baseball bettors go giddy when they hear something like that. Not only would fading Hanwha have gone 17-0 during this stretch…by laying -1.5 runs against then on the run line at much better prices would ALSO have gone 17-0. Basically a license to print money.
How bad has it been for these beleaguered baseballers?
*If Hanwha had been spotted 2.5 runs before every game, the Eagles would still be just 2-15 during this collapse. Only twice has the team lost by only two runs.
*If Hanwha had been spotted 3.5 runs before every game, the record would still be an ugly 6-11.
*If Hanwha had been spotted 4.5 runs before every game? Still below .500 at 8-9.
Clearly, this is not a KBO caliber team right now. Opponents are coasting to easy wins. Magnifying the issue, management made wholesale changes several days ago…bringing up many minor leaguers from the futures circuit to replace disappointing veterans. Tough to defeat men with kids in the lineup. In Thursday’s shutout loss, Hanwha’s leadoff hitter was 20 years old, as was its #5 hitter. Hanwha’s #6 hitter was just 19.
VSiN mentioned back when the streak was only 11 that betting markets have had trouble “catching down” to Hanwha’s poor level of play. Still true. Favored Lotte was laying prices near -180, -195, and -215 daily through the series. That’s a projected 2-1 series victory for Lotte given win percentage equivalents. Instead, it was a dominating sweep with a 26-5 composite scoreboard. That after Hanwha lost three to the league juggernaut NC Lions by a combined 35-6.
For those of you pondering taking shots on “the due theory” with an underdog that “can’t keep losing,” remember that results here are based on skill sets rather than luck. If you can’t jump high enough to dunk a basketball, “the due theory” isn’t going to get you over the rim no matter how often you try.
Yes, Hanwha will eventually get a win. The roster isn’t all kids. And, an opponent or two will take the team too lightly at some point. But, for now, accept that this isn’t a KBO-caliber team…and that betting markets are offering FAR too little a reward for taking any flyers on the Eagles.
Oh…this is a great time to point out the massive dangers of a “double-up-to-catch-up” Martingale approach to betting. Imagine a bettor that lost a $100 wager on Hanwha in the first game of the streak…bet $100 to try to get it back…and then doubled his risk daily. An early hole of $100 would sink to $200, then $400, then $800, $1,600, $3,200, $6,400, $12,800, and $25,600 through the first eight losses alone. Some recreational bettors would be tapped out already. Only whales would have the millions of dollars needed to chase in the third week (and, good luck trying to bet millions on a KBO game). Martingale strategies are bad for table games. They’re even more dangerous because of potential extremes in the complex world of sports betting.
NC DINOS STILL ON RAMPAGE
Unsurprisingly, the NC Dinos continued their domination of KBO opponents with a 2-1 series win over defending league champion Doosan. The visiting Bears did win the middle challenge of the three-game set by a score of 9-1. But, the Dinos opened and closed the series with victories of 12-8 and 7-5.
Only a slight profit for NC backers though, as the Dinos were -180 in Wednesday’s home loss. Doosan dough took a hit because plus 140 in that win didn’t cover the other losses.
NC won the series without ace pitcher Chang-mo Koo in action. His place in the rotation comes again Friday morning. For now, “The Blue and Gold Machine” is in a class by itself.
KBO Standings: NC Dinos 25-7, Doosan Bears 20-12 (but 2-4 vs. the Dinos), LG Twins 20-12, Kiwoom Heroes 18-15, Lotte Giants 17-15, Kia Tigers 17-16, Samsung Lions 15-18, KT Wiz 12-20, SK Wyverns 11-21, Hanwha Eagles 7-26.
We need to update our look at home field advantage in the KBO. Hosts went 6-0 Wednesday! That includes a double-header sweep by LG over SK. Heading into weekend sets, hosts are 89-70 this season (throwing out three-neutral site games). That’s a winning percentage of .560, which equates to -127 as a no-vig money line.
Many observers are shocked that hosts are performing so well in front of empty stadiums. If two dead-even teams squared off in a hypothetical series, these early results suggest the home team should be laying -142 in the standard 30-cent lines used for the KBO, with the visitor returning plus 112.
WILL KIWOOM BE HEROES IN THE POSTSEASON?
The next challenge for NC will be at home against the Kiwoom Heroes Friday through Sunday. You may know that Kiwoom plays its home games in the league’s only dome…the Gocheok Skydome in Seoul. Because the delayed KBO postseason will last well into chilly November, it’s already been announced that the championship series will be played there.
NC has the inside track early to clinch a spot in that series by earning a #1 seed. If Kiwoom can survive the stepladder structure of the playoffs, it could have home field advantage in the finals despite sporting an inferior seed. Something to ponder as you enjoy the playoff chase. Let’s see how Kiwoom matches up this weekend with NC in Changwon.
Other matchups on tap: Lotte at LG, Kia at SK, KT at Samsung, and Doosan at Hanwha.
ESPN needs to spread the wealth of corporate promotion after devoting three straight telecasts to NC and Doosan. Here’s the upcoming TV schedule…
ESPN’s card (all starting times Eastern)….
Friday: KT at Samsung…5:30 a.m. (ESPN), 2 p.m. replay (ESPN2)
Saturday: Kia at SK…4 a.m. (ESPN)
Sunday: KT at Samsung…4 a.m. (ESPN)
Have a great weekend! VSiN returns Monday with more KBO coverage from a market perspective.