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NPB Japanese Baseball Predictions and Picks For Second Half

Seibu Lions Batter Hits Ball

Japanese Baseball Betting Preview and Projections For NPB

WagerTalk Japanese Baseball analyst Tokyo Brandon offers picks, predictions and projections for the second half of the season as the Pacific League defeated the Central League 3-2 in the NPB All-Star Series. SoftBank currently leads the Pacific League with Yakult leading the Central League.

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Hanshin Tigers Fever

The Tigers were 17 games out of first place in the Central League and have scratched and clawed their way above .500 to be currently in 3rd place.

The top three teams in each league qualify for the playoffs, and the Tiger could be the first team in the last decade to even finish .500 after being so far behind, let alone make the playoffs.

The Tigers have done this with steady batting, but they can attribute the meteoric rise mainly to the bullpen. The Tigers bullpen is #2 in my rankings of both leagues (12 teams total.). I do expect the Tigers to hold on to at worst 3rd place and make the playoffs.

Hiroshima Carp Power

The Hiroshima Carp are currently in 2nd place in the Central League behind defending Japan champ Yakult Swallows.

The Carp welcomed Shogo Akiyama from MLB in July and he has sparked the lineup to a power surge. After losing Seiya Suzuki to the Chicago Cubs last year, I expected this slap-hit lineup to fizzle.

I was wrong. They have tho players ranked in the top 10 for RBIs and three hitters who rank in the top ten for batting average.

The rotation and bullpen are both extremely suspect so this power will have to carry them. So far it is. They should finish second or third in the division and make the playoffs.

Seibu Lions Bullpen Issues

Last year the Lions had the worst-ranked bullpen in the country, and this year the pen shot all the way up to #1. They have the best ERA and best WHIP collectively of any relief bunch out of all 12 teams.

Unfortunately, they started to come back to earth the last week before the break. The bullpen blew three saves and shot their collective WHIP up almost an entire run with dreadful performance one after another.

This bunch needs to pitch like they did in June because the inconsistent rotation and aging lineup can not hold it together.

Pacific League Race

As for the Pacific League, it seems the old reliable champs are not as reliable as we thought. The SoftBank Hawks are no longer the invincible force of the Pacific League they once were.

Aging and unreliable pitching along with a bullpen that no longer dominates has dropped this team down to mediocrity.

They are still a playoff team due mainly to the heavy hitting but the days of having the best rotation backed by the best bullpen are long gone. They are in 1st place at the moment but I see Rakuten and that great rotation making a move on the Pacific League championship.

Either way, whomever comes out on top in this league will probably be dominated by the Yakult Swallows in the end.

Yakult Doing Yakult Things

The defending all-Japan champion Yakult Swallows started the season slow. The pop seemed to be gone from the bats and they suffered several injuries and outbreaks that held their production down.

Last month Yakult went on a tear to shoot back to number one in the division by a gigantic margin, and they even have a magic number this early in the season (55 but hey, it is a number).

With several starters missing for various reasons, Yakult was able to bring many young minor-leaguers up and give them experience against top-level competition and has even made their team better. I expect this team to repeat as champions when all is said and done.

Tokyo Brandon Profile

Asian Baseball Today | NPB Betting Preview

Join Tokyo Brandon and Adam Trigger as they run through betting advice for the upcoming KBO and NPB games for this week. Catch them every Monday and Thursday as they preview the biggest upcoming games in both leagues at 5:30pm ET/2:30pm PT

Asian Baseball Picks, Odds and Series Previews | KBO and NPB | Asian Baseball Today | July 26-28

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WagerTalk’s Live Odds Screen features up-to-the-minute lines from a variety of offshore and domestic sports books. Track the KBO/NPB moneylines, run lines and betting percentages for all games.

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Meet the Author

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Brandon previously scouted Japanese baseball for the Pacific Rim Scouting Department of a Major League Baseball team for ten years. He now uses his mathematical probabilities and betting models to handicap Japanese baseball and an array of international basketball leagues. He also caps college hoops. In 2021 Brandon won 265% profit to become Wager Talk’s #1 all sports profit capper that year. Most of the leagues that Brandon handicaps are smaller markets that are less sharp and thus provide more line value than more popular markets.

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