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NPB Odds, Picks & Best Bets for July 26: Fighters Turn To Rookie For Knockout Blow

Fukuoka Hawks right-hander Akira Niho.
Fukuoka Hawks right-hander Akira Niho is 2-2 with a 5.55 ERA in 2020. Photo by Gaffky (Wiki Commons).
  • With wins in three of first five games, last-place Fighters will look to clinch series against first-place Hawks
  • After Saturday’s walk-off win over Yomiuri, Swallows will be confident of narrowing gap to Giants
  • Find all the odds and best bets for the six Nippon Professional Baseball games on Sunday, July 26

There’s almost nothing in baseball quite like a walk-off win. What’s even better is when it comes in a cross-town rivalry game. And even better still is when said rival had tied the game in the top of the ninth and was looking to send the contest to extra innings.

While Saturday’s contest between the Yomiuri Giants and the Tokyo Yakult Swallows had all those elements, what added a little more spice still was the fact that the Giants were flying high at the top of the Central League. But the second-placed Swallows have cut into that lead with a tie and a win so far in their three-game series and will look to do so further.

Before we look into that though, here are all of Sunday’s games and odds.

NPB Odds: July 26th

Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters +1.5 (-135) +140 O 8.5 (-115) 12 a.m.
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks -1.5 (+105) -170 U 8.5 (-115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Hanshin Tigers -1.5 (+140) -125 O 7.0 (-115) 1 a.m.
Chunichi Dragons +1.5 (-170) -105 U 7.0 (-115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Orix Buffaloes -1.5 (+105) -155 O 7.5 (-120) 4 a.m.
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles +1.5 (-135) +125 U 7.5 (-110)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Yomiuri Giants -1.5 (+100) -140 O 10.0 (-110) 5 a.m.
Tokyo Yakult Swallows +1.5 (-130) +110 U 10.0 (-120)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Chiba Lotte Marines +1.5 (-160) +120 O 9.5 (-115) 5 a.m.
Saitama Seibu Lions -1.5 (+130) -150 U 9.5 (+115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Hiroshima Toyo Carp +1.5 (-140) +130 O 9.5 (-110) 5 a.m.
Yokohama DeNA Baystars -1.5 (+110) -160 U 9.5 (-120)

Odds as of July 25th.

Fighters Turn To Rookie For Knockout Blow

Rookie left-hander Ryusei Kawano has enjoyed a productive start to life in the Japanese big leagues. The 22-year-old is 1-2 in four starts so far, having given up nine earned runs over 24.1 innings for a respectable ERA of 3.33, although his WHIP is not exactly spectacular at 1.356.

With wins in three of the five games thus far at the Fukuoka Hawks, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters are turning to Kawano on Sunday to wrap up the series win, coming off of Saturday’s 9-7 victory.

While the Hawks are the -170 favorites to bounce back with a win, they will live or die on the arm of 30-year-old converted reliever Akira Niho. The right-hander hasn’t been great this season, with a 2-2 record in five starts and a 5.55 ERA, with a WHIP of 1.479.

Those stats are all below his career averages, and while his 10-7 record in 100 games as former bullpen guy is understandable, his career ERA is 4.26, although he has actually improved on his 1.512 WHIP mark this season.

It’s first (Hawks) against last (Fighters) in the Pacific League. Who will be the last team standing?

Pick: Fighters (+140); O 8.5 (-115)

Can Swallows Cut Giants Down To Size?

There’s nothing like a walk-off win to boost the morale and after Saturday’s 6-5 win in just that fashion – and against a cross-town rival too – the Tokyo Swallows will be looking to clinch the three-game series against the Giants.

In doing so, they would continue to close the gap on the first-place team in the Central League, with just three games currently separating the two sides at the top.

And Tokyo will be confident of doing just that. The Swallows have got 29-year-old Hirotoshi Takanashi headed to the mound on Sunday, with his 1-1 record in four starts and 3.52 ERA across 23 innings. The right-hander is a career 28-25 in 104 games with a 4.00 ERA.

Looking for their first win of the series, the Giants turn to 26-year-old Toshiki Sakurai, who is also 1-1 on the season in four starts, with a slightly lower 3.42 ERA in 23.2 innings. More telling is his 4.52 ERA along with his higher WHIP value (1.402 to  Takanashi’s 1.264).

It promises to be a close-run thing, but with the Giants the -140 favorite, take the underdog.

Pick: Swallows (+110); O 10.0 (-110)

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