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NPB Odds, Picks & Best Bets for July 12: Giants On Verge Of Losing Four Straight

Giants right-hander Toshiki Sakurai
Giants right-hander Toshiki Sakurai has a 1-0 mark and a 1.93 ERA through 14 innings in 2020. Photo by Baylexs (Wiki Commons).
  • Yomiuri Giants would fall out of first place with a third straight loss
  • Defending champions Fukuoka Hawks will aim to bring high-flying Tohoku Golden Eagles back to earth
  • See odds and best bets for all the Nippon Professional Baseball games on July 12

The dog days of summer may officially still be a couple of weeks away, but one look at the Nippon Professional Baseball standings shows that some top teams may already be suffering from a mid-summer swoon.

Both the Yomiuri Giants and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, first in the Central and Pacific Divisions respectively, are having their early supremacy challenged. The Giants, 22 times Japanese Series champions, have lost three straight overall despite the best defense in Japanese baseball. And the Eagles, who boast easily the most prolific offense in the NPB, have lost two straight and three of their last five.

Whether they can stem the bleeding remains a matter for debate, but first here’s a look at Sunday’s schedule and odds.

NPB Odds: July 12

Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters +1.5 (-135) +170 O 6.5 (-155) 12 a.m.
Orix Buffaloes -1.5 (+105) -225 U 6.5 (+115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Saitama Seibu Lions -1.5 (+130) -135 O 8.5 (-140) 1 a.m.
Chiba Lotte Marines +1.5 (-170) EVEN U 8.5 (+105)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Hiroshima Toyo Carp -1.5 (+155) -115 O 8.5 (+105) 1 a.m.
Chunichi Dragons +1.5 (-205) -115 U 8.5 (-135)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles -1.5 (+150) -115 O 8.5 (-130) 1 a.m.
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks +1.5 (-200) -115 U 8.5 (-105)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Tokyo Yakult Swallows +1.5 (-160) +130 O 8.5 (-135) 5 a.m.
Yomiuri Giants -1.5 (+125) -170 U 8.5 (EVEN)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Yokohama DeNa BayStars -1.5 (+120) -165 O 6.5 (-145) 5 a.m.
Hanshin Tigers +1.5 (-155) +125 U 6.5 (+110)

Odds as of July 11th

Can Winning Ways Continue For Hawks?

The six-game series against the free-scoring Tohoku Golden Eagles could turn out to be a season-altering experience for the two-time defending champions. The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks have won three of the five games so far, and they’ve done it by winning squeakers (2-1, 4-3) as well as by comfortable victories (Saturday’s 8-4 win).

As a result, the 9-10-1 Hawks are almost back to .500 and keeping the first-place 13-7 Eagles in check.

To wrap up the series, Fukuoka turns to Shuta Ishikawa and his 1-2 record and 6.43 earned-run average in 2020. It’s still early, so the Hawks will be hoping the former reliever can trend down towards his career ERA of 3.51 as well as improve his career record of 22-9.

The Eagles are going with Ryota Ishibashi to stop the slide. Much like Ishikawa, the Tohoku right-hander hasn’t enjoyed a memorable 2020 so far, with a 1-2 record and 6.43 ERA, but has a career ERA of 4.42.

Pick: Hawks (-115); O 8.5 (-130)

Another Giant Step For Swallows

The most successful franchise in Japanese baseball is encountering something of an early-season blip following three straight losses. However, those have been sandwiched around rainouts, with the team only playing three games in the last week. As a result, Yomiuri hasn’t tasted victory since last Saturday’s 7-3 win over Chunichi.

Since then they’ve suffered losses to the two bottom teams in the Central Division as well as Saturday’s 9-4 defeat against the Yokyo Yakult Swallows. At 10-7-1, the Swallows are only behind the Giants on winning percentage having played one game more. A win Sunday will see them replace Yomiuri at the Central summit.

The Swallows will be relying on the talents of Hirotoshi Takanashi to help them get there.

The right-hander is still awaiting his first win of the season, going 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA through 12 innings. But he has a 27-25 career record, to go along with a 4.00 ERA, so the breakthrough win is surely not far away.

Yomiuri is going with Toshiki Sakurai. While the 26-year-old right-hander is enjoying the early returns on 2020, with a 1-0 mark and a 1.93 ERA through 14 innings, how long until he regresses towards his career mark of 4.45?

Pick: Swallows (+130); +1.5 (-160)

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