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NPB Odds, Picks & Best Bets for July 18: Buffaloes Banking on Fresh Face

Buffaloes outfielder Adam Jones.
Buffaloes outfielder Adam Jones is batting .255 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 2020. Photo by Keith Allison (Wiki Commons).
  • Stuck in tough series against Fukuoka Hawks, Orix turns to Daiki Tajima to turn things around
  • Tokyo Swallows still charging after Yomiuri despite recent tailspin
  • See odds and best bets for all six Nippon Professional Baseball games on Saturday, July 18

Back in the Pacific League basement once again, the 9-14-1 Orix Buffaloes need to get the ship turned around if they are going to plot a course for the playoffs. Though the quarter-mark of the season is still five games away, the team’s inability to put together a run of wins is keeping them firmly mired in the bottom half of the six-team league, and that’s even with the power boost provided by former major-leaguer Adam Jones.

Four games into their current six-game series against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, the Buffaloes have just one win, and the run differential tells its own story. Orix has scored just eight runs, compared to  29 put up by the Hawks.

Before we look at that matchup in more detail, here’s a look at Saturday’s schedule and odds in Nippon Professional Baseball.

NPB Odds: July 18th

Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks -1.5 (+115) -165 O 7.5 (-115) 5 a.m.
Orix Buffaloes +1.5 (-150) +125 U 7.5 (-115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Yomiuri Giants -1.5 (+155) -115 O 8.5 (-115) 5 a.m.
Yokohama DeNA Baystars +1.5 (-205) -115 U 8.5 (-115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Chunichi Dragons +1.5 (-145) +155 O 7.5 (-110) 5 a.m.
Hanshin Tigers -1.5 (+110) -210 U 7.5 (-120)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Tokyo Yakult Swallows +1.5 (-215) -105 O 8.5 (-115) 5 a.m.
Hiroshima Toyo Carp -1.5 (+160) -130 U 8.5 (-115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Chiba Lotte Marines -1.5 (+115) -160 O 7.5 (-125) 1 a.m.
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters +1.5 (-155) +120 U 7.5 (-105)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Saitama Seibu Lions +1.5 (-160) +125 O 9.5 (-130) 1 a.m.
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles -1.5 (+120) -165 U 7.5 (EVEN)

Odds as of July 17th.

Fresh Face Can Change Buffaloes’ Home Woes

The current home stand against the Hawks isn’t exactly going to plan for the Buffaloes. Four games in and the team has lost three with all the defeats coming by lopsided margins, most recently Friday’s 9-1 setback.

But Saturday brings a new day, and a new starting pitcher, for the Buffaloes.

Left-hander Daiki Tajima has pitched well for Orix this season, his third year in NPB. He is 1-0 and has surrendered just six earned runs in 23.2 innings. Just as important, he has a WHIP of 0.887, so to say the 23-year-old has been in control in each of his four starts this year is something of an understatement.

Winners of six of their last seven, Fukuoka is a -165 favorite in this matchup.

But to prevail, the Hawks will need Shuta Ishikawa to come through for them. The right-hander is 2-0 on the season with a 3.78 earned-run average, a little above his 3.45 career mark in this, his fourth season in NPB.

Pick: Buffaloes (+125); O 7.5 (-115)

Swallows Stuck In Tailspin

Losers of three of their past four, the Tokyo Swallows are still very much in the mix at the top of the Central League, just two games back of the first-place Yomiuri Giants.

Making headway will require better performances than the 9-2 loss they suffered Friday at Hiroshima against the Carp, where the home side jumped out to a five-run lead after just three innings.

The hope will be that Tokyo right-hander Yasuhiro Ogawa can continue his unblemished 3-0 start to the campaign. The 30-year-old is in his eighth season with the Swallows, and while his 4.63 ERA is way north of his career mark of 3.54, it hasn’t stopped his winning ways. The start has allowed him improve to 68-51 in his career.

The Carp, who broke a three-game skid with Friday’s win, will turn to Hiroki Tokada in response. The 25-year-old has just 31 NPB games under his belt, but is 9-8 with a 3.39 ERA on his career. This current season hasn’t been so favorable to him, however.

He is 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA, with an absurdly bad 1.769 WHIP. Against a team like the Swallows, which has scored 110 runs – good for second in that category in the Central – that could spell trouble.

Pick: Swallows (-105); +1.5 (-215)

 

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