Dutch Pitching Duel on Tap in Hokkaido


Nippon-Ham Fighters pitcher Drew VerHagen

Former Detroit Tiger Drew VerHagen gave up just three hits in his NPB debut for the Nippon-Ham Fighters. Photo by Keith Allison (Wiki Commons).

  • After seven straight defeats, the Orix Buffaloes finally win one, shutting down the Seibu Lions 6-0
  • Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles have won four of five to pull into a tie atop Central Division
  • See odds and best bets for all the Nippon Professional Baseball action taking place on Thursday, July 2nd

After seven straight defeats, all it took for the Orix Buffaloes to pull back into the win column was a fresh page on the calendar. Though the team is still just 2-9 on the season, former Baltimore Oriole Adam Jones and the rest of the Buffaloes are unbeaten this month. After four consecutive one-run defeats in the four previous game, the team was certainly due a change in its fortunes.

Without further ado, here’s a look at the odds for Thursday’s lineup of games in Nippon Professional Baseball.

NPB Odds: July 2nd

TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Chiba Lotte Marines+1.5 (-180)+115O 8.5 (-120)5 a.m.
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles-1.5 (+135)-155U 8.5 (-110)
TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks-1.5 (+125)-155O 7.5 (-110)5 a.m.
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters+1.5 (-160)+115U 7.5 (-120)
TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Hanshin Tigers+1.5 (-225)-105O 7.5 (-110)5 a.m.
Chunichi Dragons-1.5 (+170)-125U 7.5 (-120)
TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Hiroshima Toyo Carp-1.5 (+105)-170O 9.5 (-105)5 a.m.
Tokyo Yakult Swallows+1.5 (-135)+125U 9.5 (-125)
TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Orix Buffaloes+1.5 (-125)+165O 8.5 (-145)5 a.m.
Saitama Seibu Lions-1.5 (-110)-220U 8.5 (+110)
TeamRunlineWinOver/Under Run TotalGame Time (Eastern)
Yokohama DeNa BayStars+1.5 (-200)+105O 8.5 (-115)5 a.m.
Yomiuri Giants-1.5 (+150)-140U 8.5 (-115)

Odds as of July 1st

The Battle for Pacific Supremacy

When the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and Chiba Lotte Marines lock horns for the third game of their six-game series on Wednesday, both sides know that the winner will take the outright lead in the division. Chiba brought an eight-game winning streak into the series, but has suffered consecutive defeats by 15-4 and then 5-3 scorelines.

While Tuesday’s game was a blowout, Wednesday’s contest got away from the Marines in the first inning when starter Kazuya Ojima gave up four of his five earned runs. The onus will be on Daiki Iwashita (1-0) to pitch Chiba deep into the game to give the Marines a chance at victory.

Though just 23 years old, the right-hander has shown steady improvement year after year. He went 5-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 21 games last season and started this year by giving up just four hits over 5.2 innings in a 5-0 win over Orix last week.

Eagles Are Soaring

The Golden Eagles have been one of the in-form teams of late, and have the best offense (74 runs) and second-best defense (34 runs conceded) in the NPB. However, Tohoku has followed a very distinct pattern of winning two and losing one all season, and after winning the first two of the series against Chiba, surely it is due to lose a game on Thursday?

The Eagles send experience to the mound in the shape of Takahiro Shiomi, who has a 42-49 career NPB record with a 3.70 ERA. His season got off to a very slow start last week in an 8-5 loss to the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, where he gave up five earned runs and was chased after just 4.2 innings.

Pick: Marines (+115); O 8.5 (-120)

2020 World Series Odds Tracker

Can Hawks Take Flight?

The three-time defending NPB champions Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks have struggled so far this season, sporting a 4-6-1 record and sitting in the lower half of the Pacific Division.

But a six-game series against the Fighters might be just what they need to get back on track, already earning a tie and a 4-0 win in the first two games.

Fukuoka sends veteran Rick van den Hurk to the mound on Thursday, after he pitched a masterful two-hit game over 7.2 innings in leading the Hawks to a 4-2 win over the Seibu Lions in the his season debut. Now in his sixth season in NPB, the right-hander has a 42-17 career record with a respectable 3.48 ERA.

The Fighters, who have a -18 run differential on the season, will respond with former Detroit Tiger Drew VerHagen. The right-hander is in his first season in NPB, and had a three-hit game over six innings in his season debut, an 8-5 win over the Golden Eagles last week.

Pick: Fighters (+115); U 7.5 (-120)

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Paul Attfield

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