What to Know About Korea Baseball Organization: Teams, Rules, Odds

The Chinese Professional Baseball League led things off with a successful start to its season, and now, after its preseason, Korea Baseball Organization is stepping up to the plate.

KBO’s Opening Day is slated for Tuesday, May 5, as 10 teams will kick off their 144-game season.

The Doosan Bears (2019 record: 88-55-1) are the reigning champions, having captured their third Korean Series title in the past five years in 2019.

Other teams include the SK Wyverns (88-55-1), Kiwoom Heroes (86-57-1), LG Twins (79-64-1), NC Dinos (73-69-2), KT Wiz (71-71-2), Kia Tigers (62-80-2), Samsung Lions (60-83-1), Hanwha Eagles (58-86-0) and Lotte Giants (48-93-3).

The Kia Tigers have accumulated the most championships (11) in KBO history, followed by the Samsung Lions (8) and Doosan Bears (6).

Former MLB players Dan Straily, Aaron Altherr and Adrian Sampson signed with KBO teams this past offseason, joining fellow ex-big leaguers such as Preston Tucker and Casey Kelly.

Some key rules include universal designated hitter and ties after the 12th inning in the regular season (and 15th for postseason). And yes, this league permits some of the craziest bat flips you’ll ever see.   

Regular-season record is weighted heavily in KBO’s playoff setup. The top-five teams qualify for the postseason, with the top team getting an automatic spot in the best-of-seven Korean Series. The No. 5 seed faces the No. 4 seed in the best-of-three first round, with the No. 4 seed gifted a 1-0 series advantage to start.

The first-round winner faces the No. 3 seed in a best-of-five series, and the winner of that series goes on to face the No. 2 seed in a best-of-five showdown with the other spot in the Korean Series on the line.

Every regular-season game matters as these teams fight for these major advantages in the playoffs. All of the action will be available at William Hill in Nevada and New Jersey. You can watch six games per week on ESPN, starting with NC Dinos vs. Samsung Lions at 1 a.m. EST on May 5.

Check out William Hill’s odds for the first day of KBO games below.

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