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Betting Preview and Prediction for the 2022 KBO League

| March 24, 2022 8:33 am PDT
KBO logo, baseball betting background, KT Wiz and Samsung Lions logo

Welcome back to another great season of the Korean Baseball Organization. The KBO is coming off an outstanding 2021 campaign and will be looking for another successful one in 2022. With that being said, let’s break down this season with our 2022 KBO betting guide.

There are a lot of great players and teams throughout the KBO, which could make the race for the championship an interesting one. If you are new to the KBO, let’s get you acclimated right away so we can place our bets for this year.

Let’s get right into our 2022 KBO season preview without further ado.

Who Won the KBO Championship Last Year?

As I said, the 2021 KBO season was a great success, and we saw a lot of great games. One team rose above the other ten, none other than the KT Wiz. The KT Wiz were the winners of the Korean Series and will be looking to repeat this year.

How the KT Wiz Won the 2021 Korean Series

They were tied with the Samsung Lions for the best record in the KBO at 76-59 for the year. For those of you new to the KBO and its rules, the KBO’s regular-season winner gets a ticket to the Korean Series instead of having to play through the playoffs.

Since the Lions and Wiz were tied at 76-59 on the year, they had to play a tiebreaker game to see who would punch their ticket to the Korean Series. It was an incredibly tight game, but the Wiz could pull through with a 1-0 victory over the Lions.

William Cuevas
In that game, William Cuevas led the charge, pitching seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts and only allowing four baserunners (1 hit, 3 walks). The game was decided by an unearned run, which was the game-winner in the pitching duel.

From there, the Wiz awaited the winner of the playoffs in the Korean Series. That turned out to be the Doosan Bears after making a great run starting in the Wild Card.

They defeated the Kiwoom Heroes in the Wild Card, the LG Twins in the Semi-Playoff, and Samsung Lions in the Playoff. They ran out of their magic when they ran into the Wiz, who swept them in 4 games.

That crowned the KT Wiz as the champions of the 2021 KBO season.

Past 10 KBO Title Winners

Year Champion Runner-Up Most Valuable Player
2021 KT Wiz Doosan Bears Park Kyung-su
2020 NC Dinos Doosan Bears Yang Eui-ji
2019 Doosan Bears Kiwoom Heros Oh Jae-il
2018 SK Wyverns Doosan Bears Han Dong-min
2017 Kia Tigers Doosan Bears Yang Hyeon-jong
2016 Doosan Bears NC Dinos Yang Eui-ji
2015 Doosan Bears Samsung Lions Jung Soo-bin
2014 Samsung Lions Nexen Heroes Yamaico Navarro
2013 Samsung Lions Doosan Bears Park Han-yi
2012 Samsung Lions SK Wyverns Lee Seung-yeop

Looking at the past ten years of the Korean Series, the Doosan Bears have made the most appearances by far. They were able to make 8 of the past 10 Korean Series but have only been able to win 3 of them.

They have been incredible over the past decade, but they’re winning rate in the Korean Series hasn’t been what they had hoped for. The Bears will be in for another great season and will be looking to make another Korean Series appearance and try and seal the deal again.

The KT Wiz was founded in 2015 and endured a brutal start to their franchise. They placed last in their first three seasons (2015 through 2017) and 9th in 2018. They have only gotten better, placing 6th in 2019 and 3rd in 2020 before winning the championship in 2021.

The Samsung Lions are tied for the most Korean Series wins in the past ten years with the Doosan Lions. They have won 3 in the past 10, but they also won another one in 2011 and were runner-ups in 2010.

The Wiz will be looking to defend their crown in the 2022 season, but they will have stiff competition with the Lions and Bears being so good over the past ten years as well.

Can Anyone Beat the KT Wiz in 2022?

Baek-ho Kang

The KT Wiz will be looking to defend its crown in 2022. Now the question becomes, who is worthy enough of taking them down?

If it wasn’t for an unearned run in the tiebreaker game to decide the regular-season champion, the KT Wiz might not have even been in the Korean Series. Now we can’t just say a bunch of “what ifs” for every scenario, as they earned their championship win last year at the end of the day.

With that being said, the KT Wiz won’t have an easy task for repeating. As I said in the above section, the Doosan Bears and Samsung Lions have had some serious experience in the Korean Series.

The KT Wiz still has a strong enough roster to pull it off. They have some great pitchers and hitters who can give them run support. Baek-ho Kang was one of the best hitters in the league last year, slashing .346/.448/.519 with an OPS of .968.

He was second in the KBO in RBI with 103, was 7th in singles (123), 3rd in doubles (40), and chipped in 16 home runs. Not to mention he showed great plate discipline and walked more than he struck out (103 walks, 86 strikeouts).

Kang will lead the charge on offense, while their pitching staff was the best in the business. Last season they allowed the 2nd best ERA, had the 2nd most strikeouts, fewest walks, and most quality starts.

The KT Wiz should be a force for this season and could be tough to take down.

Top KBO League Title Contenders for 2022

That brings us to our top contenders for the 2022 season. I already mentioned the KT Wiz enough, as they are a serious threat to repeat this season. Instead of diving more into the KT Wiz, I will look at other teams who could threaten their crown this year.

Doosan Bears

When you see the number of times the Doosan Bears have at least made it to the Korean Series over the past decade; they instantly become a team to look out for.

They made 80% of the Korean Series over the past ten years, winning 3 of them. Their Korean Series record is 3-5 might motivate them a bit more to win the next one.

Doosan made an incredible run through the playoffs, starting at the Wild Card and ending in the Korean Series. They didn’t let the fact that they placed 4th in the regular season standings stop them from being one of the best teams in the KBO.

I would argue that the KT Wiz had a major advantage over Doosan in the Korean Series, as they got to rest the entire time the Bears were fighting for their lives in the playoffs. The Wiz got about two weeks off, while the Bears played seven games before the Korean Series.

If the Bears can win the regular season, they might have enough energy to beat the KT Wiz or whoever makes it to the Korean Series.

Samsung Lions

David Buchanan

If it wasn’t for that unearned run in the regular season champion tiebreaker game, the Lions might have been the team to make it in the Korean Series. With that being said, the Lions had a chance to put away the Bears after grabbing the second seed in the playoffs.

They also got to rest when the Bears made their run, but they were swept by them 2-0.

The Samsung Lions were a well-rounded team in 2021. They had the 3rd best batting average in the league while pairing that with the 3rd (tied) fewest earned runs allowed.

Being a complete team is very important in baseball, and that’s a big reason they were able to have tied the KT Wiz for the best record in the KBO in 2021. If they look to repeat their success, they could be the team who gets to await their opponent in the Korean Series this year.

They have a solid overall roster, but their arguably best player is their pitcher, David Buchanan. Buchanan was incredible in 2021 with a record of 16-5. He pitched 177 innings with a 3.10 ERA and struck out 162 batters.

Buchanan re-signed with the Lions for this year, so he will look to lead the charge for them once more.

KBO Sleepers to Bet on in 2022

The Wiz, Bears, and Lions will be the top dogs for the 2022 KBO season. With that said, they aren’t all guaranteed to have great years. If they struggle a bit more than expected, that can open a window of opportunity for the rest of the KBO.

A few other teams can make a run at the Korean Series this year, thus making for great sleeper bets. These teams should have a chance to make a decent run and will be underrated for this season.

LG Twins

The Twins ranked better than any other team in pitching in 2021. That could mean they can be a valuable bet for the 2022 season. Here are some important team pitching categories and rankings for the 2021 KBO season.

Team ERA (Rank) Strikeouts WHIP HRs Allowed
3.57 (1st) 1,068 (1st) 1.31 (1st) 80 (1st)

Their pitching can afford to take a step back, but their offense has to take a major step forward. The Twins’ offense ranked poorly across the board with the 8th best batting average, 8th most runs, 9th most hits, 9th best on-base percentage, etc.

They will have to lean on their best hitter from last year a bit more, which was Chang-ki Hong. Hong is entering his prime at the age of 28 this year, so we should be seeing his best level of play.

He slashed .328/.456/.408 last year, scoring the second-most runs in the KBO with 103. The Twins were able to re-sign Hyun Soo Kim for this season, but they will need some more bats to keep the pace with their pitching.

Kiwoom Heroes

Yasiel Puig

If you are a fan of the MLB, you’ll want to check out the Kiwoom Heroes’ newest superstar in the outfielder, Yasiel Puig. Puig signed with the Heroes for this year and will be looking to give his career a jump start.

Puig has had some off-the-field issues and declining play in the last few years of his MLB career, but he has a chance to be an incredible player in the KBO. There is some serious risk here, but if Puig gets back into the swing of things, he can give the Heroes a big boost for this season.

Kiwoom was not a threatening team in either pitching or hitting, so they need to up their game if they want to make a run this year. They ranked 5th in team ERA (4.31) while having the 7th best team OPS (.723).

If Puig becomes a superstar in the KBO, the Heroes could be an interesting long-shot bet this year. For everyone who is not a fan of Puig and will be planning on betting against him and the Kiwoom Heroes, head over to our KBO betting picks page for some other recommended bets.

Prediction for Who Will Win the KBO Title in 2022

The 2022 KBO season is shaping up to be an exciting one for fans and bettors. We have some top contenders mixed with solid sleepers despite only ten teams being in the league.

Be sure to place your bets as soon as possible, as the odds could be less profitable once the season is underway. The KT Wiz will be looking to repeat as champions, but that will not be an easy task with the competition field.

As for my final prediction for who wins this season, I’ll go with the reliable Doosan Bears to get back in the Korean Series and win this season’s title.

That wraps up our 2022 KBO betting preview, so make sure you head over to the best KBO betting sites to place all your bets for this upcoming season.

Anthony Haage

Anthony is a sports writer for GamblingSites.com covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and more. He also covers other various topics such as entertainment, general sports betting tips, and more.

His favorite teams are the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Cubs, and Blackhawks. He also will be a temporary fan of any team if it means winning him bets.

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