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NPB Odds, Picks & Best Bets for July 17: Lions Hope Neal Can Help Ground Eagles

Seibu Lions pitcher Zach Neal.
Seibu Lions pitcher Zach Neal played in 30 games for the Oakland A's over two seasons. Photo by Jrchun (WIki Commons).
  • Former major-leaguer Zach Neal looks set to bounce back against the Tohoku Golden Eagles
  • Yakult Swallows tab rookie Daiki Yoshida to deepen gloom for Carp
  • See odds and best bets for all six Nippon Professional Baseball games on July 17

Almost a fifth of the way through the Nippon Professional Baseball season and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles continue to club their way to success at the top of the Pacific League.

With 141 runs scored and a run differential of +63 – easily putting them top in both statistical categories – they are setting a standard that all other ball clubs are hoping to match.

But with a former major-league arm on the mound Friday, the Saitama Seibu Lions will attempt to peg the Eagles back as the sides continue their six-game series. Before getting to the best bets, here are the odds for all of Friday’s games (July 17th).

NPB Odds: July 17th

Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks -1.5 (-115) -200 O 7.5 (-125) 5 a.m.
Orix Buffaloes +1.5 (-115) +160 U 7.5 (-105)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Yomiuri Giants -1.5 (+135) -120 O 9 (-115) 5 a.m.
Yokohama DeNA Baystars +1.5 (-165) -110 U 9 (-115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Chunichi Dragons +1.5 (-215) -105 O 6.5 (-120) 5 a.m.
Hanshin Tigers -1.5 (+175) -125 U 6.5 (-110)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Tokyo Yakult Swallows +1.5 (-110) +185 O 8 (-110) 5 a.m.
Hiroshima Toyo Carp -1.5 (-120) -225 U 8 (-120)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Chiba Lotte Marines +1.5 (-225) -110 O 7 (-115) 5 a.m.
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters -1.5 (+185) -120 U 7 (-115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Saitama Seibu Lions +1.5 (-125) +150 O 7.5 (-115) 5 a.m.
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles -1.5 (-105) -180 U 7.5 (-115)

Odds as of July 15th.

Neal to Inject Pride Back into Lions

There hasn’t been a whole lot of pride around the Seibu Lions of late. The defending Pacific League champions have won just three of their last 10 games and are currently sitting two games back of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks for the final playoff spot.

After consecutive losses against the Tohoku Golden Eagles, it’s Zach Neal’s turn up in the rotation. The former Oakland A and Los Angeles Dodger right-hander had an outstanding debut season in NPB last year, going 12-1 with a 2.87 earned-run average.

But Neal has regressed this year to 1-0 in four games with a 4.44 ERA. However, even though he has given up 12 earned runs in 24.1 innings, a deeper dive reveals some positive signs. Most principally is a WHIP rate of 1.068, with just two home runs surrendered and 15 strikeouts, pacing to finish almost exactly the same as he did last year.

Going for the Eagles, Takahiro Norimoto (3-0, 0.98) is having an outstanding season thus far, but much like every other pitcher on the Tohoku staff, he has benefited from outstanding run support. The Eagles are averaging 6.13 runs per game, easily tops in NPB.

Pick: Lions (+150); U 7.5 (-115)

Swallows Hope for Star Turn from Debutant

While they are happily flirting with the sharp end of the Central League, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows are set to continue their pursuit of the Yomiuri Giants by handing an NPB debut to 22-year-old right-hander Daiki Yoshida.

The Swallows being a three-game series at Hiroshima Toyo Carp on Friday, and after Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Hanshin Tigers, will be hoping that the rookie can right the ship.

Yoshida has performed admirably in the minors this season, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings, giving up just 10 runs and two walks along the way.

Hiroshima, currently last in the Central with a 8-12-1 record, has lost three straight and is a -225 favorite to bounce back with a win on Friday. The Carp are going with Daichi Ohsera, who is 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA this season. He has consistently performed well throughout his career too, with a 54-36 record and 3.35 ERA in seven NPB seasons.

Pick: Swallows (+185); +1.5 (-110)

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