June 16th, 2020
This week, a quarter of the KBO regular season games will be in the books and this is the perfect time to offer up some reflection on a team that has left me completely bewildered me the entire season. The team I’m referring to is none other than the Lotte Giants. I’ve found myself betting on this team more times than not this season, even though I continuously feel snakebitten by them. The Giants do the glossy things to make you feel like they’re a really good team.
Overall, the Giants are in sixth place with an 18-17 record. They would be out of the postseason if the season were to end today. Despite being only one game above .500, the Giants are playing .700 ball at home, with a 12-5 record. We’re all familiar with the statement that good teams protect their home turf and the Giants have done just that this season. In fact, the Giants only trail the NC Dinos (14-6 at home) for the best home record in the KBO
On the road, the Giants are just 6-12. What’s interesting is that no other team in the KBO has such a disparity in their home/road splits with the number of wins above .500 and the number of wins below .500. If you think that we’ve just solved the mystery that is the Lotte Giants, then I assure you that we’re just getting warmed up.
Aside from looking at the Giants performance on the field, we’re also interested in how they perform in the betting market. For example, does the team perform to the expectation of the betting public by winning the games they’re expected to win. Of the Giants 18 games on the road, they were underdogs in 14 of them and still managed to win seven games. Overall, the Giants have been underdogs in 22 games this season and won 12 of them. If you’re like me then you’re wondering how a team could win half their games on the road as an underdog and still be seven games under .500 away from home? This further underscores why the Giants are such an enigma.
One issue for the Giants is that they’re simply not winning games on the road when they’ve been installed as a favorite by the betting markets. Lotte is 0-4 on the road as a favorite and it’s almost impossible to think that the Giants have more wins as an underdog (12) than they do as a favorite (7). This is an unusual characteristic for a team that’s playing .500 baseball and flirting with a postseason spot. A look at the KBO standings reveal that only the Samsung Lions have more wins as a dog than as a favorite but this is to be expected as the Lions underdogs in most of their games and have only been installed as favorites in two contests.
Another component to the Lotte’s success this season has been their performance as a home favorite. In nine games this season as a home favorite, the Giants have lost only twice. What we have on our hands is a team that has a flair for the extremes and it’s certainly worth noting at the betting window. We want to back the Giants when they’re at home and particularly when they’re home favorites. Conversely, we want to fade the Giants when they’re road favorites. I would also recommend backing the Giants when they’re an underdog but particularly when they’re a home underdog.
The underlying theme to Lotte’s success has been their play at home. Despite being in 6th position in the league, Lotte has the 2nd best home record. It will be interesting to see how these trends play out but at least now we understand this Giants team a bit more. Lotte’s second series this week will be an important matchup at home with the third place Doosan Bears. The Giants are likely to be an underdog in at least two of the three games this series. Knowing the team’s splits and tendencies, it gives us a much better chance to have success at the betting window.