The boys of summer are back.
For now, it’s all happening in Asia, most notably with the Korea Baseball Organization playing games in empty stadiums and in early morning broadcasts on ESPN. But momentum is building for baseball in America as well.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported this week that Major League Baseball will be sending a return-to-play proposal to the baseball player’s union within the next few days. Spring training is reportedly planned for mid-June. Games could begin in July.
There are many logistics to settle and obstacles to clear (locations, schedule, salary, health risks, etc.) but the formulation of a proposal is an encouraging sign. And with both players and owners reaping the financial benefits of a return, it’s likely the MLB will begin its season at some point this summer, probably without fans in attendance.
In the meantime, here’s a crash course in the KBO, which is featured in daily fantasy contests at DraftKings and FanDuel, and also has futures odds available at several PA online betting apps.
Doosan Bears are the betting favorite for the KBO Championship
Before you place a bet on the KBO, it would be wise to do a little research first. This ESPN article is a good place to start. DraftKings’ MLB Playbook page is also loaded with KBO info and is updated frequently with daily fantasy advice.
The KBO is a 10-team league that has a handful of Americans on their rosters, so you’ll find some recognizable names. Currently, the Doosan Bears are favored to win the 2020 World Series, with a price of +350 at BetRivers Sportsbook.
The SK Wyverns, who are led by third baseman Jeong Choi and his 335 career home runs, are next at +450. Following them are the Kiwoom Heroes (+500), NC Dinos (+600), and the LG Twins (+750), whose pitching staff features former MLB first-round pick Casey Kelly.
Behind them are the KIA Tigers (+1500), perhaps the most popular team in the KBO. The Tigers hired former MLB player and manager Matt Williams this offseason, making him the highest paid manager in the KBO. The rest of the teams and their odds at BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse are as follows:
- KT Wiz Suwon (+1500)
- Lotte Giants (+1800)
- Samsung Lions (+2000)
- Hanwha Eagles (+2200)
Bets are also available on Taiwan’s CPBL
Another Asian organization offering some betting options is the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan. That league only has four teams, but futures odds are available for them at PA sportsbooks.
BetRivers and DraftKings Sportsbook both have the Rakuten Monkeys (+100) as the clear favorites to win the 2020 title. The other teams and their odds are as follows:
- Uni-Lions (+350)
- Chinatrust Brothers (+400)
- Fubon Guardians (+450)
Futures bets are also available for those who want to stick to MLB
If you’d prefer to keep your baseball betting inside the United States, sportsbooks across the region still have plenty of futures bets posted for the upcoming season. Wagers can be made on the World Series champion, league and division winners, and the leaders in several statistical categories.
Season totals, however, have been moved toward win percentage. That shift is due to the uncertainty of how many games will appear on the 2020 schedule. FOX Bet has even boosted bets in many of its futures categories. For example, the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series is now boosted to +2500.
So while the baseball season is nowhere near normal, there’s no shortage of betting options.
The boys of summer are still out there.
You just might find them in different places.