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NPB Odds, Picks & Best Bets for July 23: Dragons Showing Some Teeth

Chunichi's Ariel Martinez
Chunichi's Ariel Martinez connected on his second homer of the season in Wednesday's win over Yomiuri. Photo by Poootaro (Wiki Commons).
  • Yomiuri Giants’ seven-game winning streak finally ended by Chunichi Dragons
  • Hokkaido Fighters will turn to former Detroit Tiger Drew Verhagen to get them back to winning ways
  • Odds and best bets below for all six Nippon Professional Baseball games on Thursday, July 23

With seven straight victories under their belts, the Yomiuri Giants were rolling. Facing a Chunichi Dragons team missing Dayan Viciedo, who has hit more than half of Chunichi’s 17 home runs this season, the Giants must have fancied their chances of making it eight in a row.

What followed was the Giants’ first shutout loss of the season, as the Dragons rolled a 5-0 victory on Wednesday, getting to Yomiuri ace Shosei Togo early and forcing him out of the game in the fourth.

Facing a Yomiuri pitcher with a losing record on Thursday, too, Chunichi will be confident of making it back-to-back victories. Before we get to that, here are the odds for all of Thursday’s matchups in Nippon Professional Baseball.

NPB Odds: July 23rd

Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Yomiuri Giants -1.5 (-110) -205 O 7.5 (-130) 1 a.m.
Chunichi Dragons +1.5 (-125) +155 U 7.5 (-105)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Chiba Lotte Marines -1.5 (+155) -110 O 9.5 (-130) 5 a.m.
Saitama Seibu Lions +1.5 (-205) -125 U 9.5 (EVEN)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Hiroshima Toyo Carp -1.5 (+150) -125 O 7.5 (-125) 5 a.m.
Hanshin Tigers -1.5 (-195) -105 U 7.5 (-110)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters +1.5 (-190) +110 O 8.5 (-115) 5 a.m.
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks -1.5 (+145) -145 U 8.5 (-115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Orix Buffaloes +1.5 (-120) +185 O 8.5 (-115) 5 a.m.
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles -1.5 (-115) -250 U 8.5 (-115)
Team Runline Win Over/Under Run Total Game Time (Eastern)
Tokyo Yakult Swallows -1.5 (+145) -120 O 8.5 (-140) 5 a.m.
Yokohama DeNA Baystars +1.5 (-195) -110 U 8.5 (+105)

Odds as of July 22nd.

Dragons Showing Some Teeth

There are no sure things in life, in baseball, or certainly in NPB. Coming into Wednesday’s game on a four-game losing streak, facing the second-most prolific offense in Japanese baseball and with Viciedo pulled from the lineup with a sore arm, Chunichi would have been a longshot to get a result.

But that’s exactly what it did, and with its confidence restored, the team will be looking to double their winning streak on Thursday.

It won’t be easy. Viciedo’s replacement in the lineup, Ariel Martinez, did his part, connecting on his second homer of the season, but it is not known if the former Chicago White Sox slugger can return to Chunichi’s lineup Thursday.

The Dragons will have 26-year-old Yuichiro Okano on the mound for the game. With a 2-1 record and 4.74 earned-run average in his rookie NPB season, the right-hander has pitched well at times, and has given up just one home run all season.

The Giants respond with Cristopher Crisostomo Mercedes, who is 1-2 this year, with a 3.80 ERA across 21.1 innings. The left-hander is 14-14 in his 39 career games with a 2.97 ERA.

Pick: Dragons (+155); U 7.5 (-105)

Former Tiger Will Put Some Steel Into Fighters

With a 1-1 record so far through four starts in NPB, to go along with a 4.57 ERA, it’s fair to say that right-hander Drew VerHagen is still finding his way in Japanese baseball.

The 29-year-old, who played parts of six season with the Detroit Tigers, got off to a great start in NPB, winning his debut after giving up just one earned run in six innings. And while he hasn’t quite hit those same heights in his previous three starts, he’s been consistent, even as that second win in NPB has proved elusive.

But playing for an 11-16-2 club isn’t easy, as Hokkaido tries to manoeuvre its way back into the playoff race in the Pacific League.

A win on Thursday would be a welcome shot in the arm however, particularly as the Fighters have split the opening two games of their six-game series with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

To try and earn a  second straight win, the Hawks are going with Shunsuke Kasaya, who is also 1-1 on the year, but with an inferior 7.04 ERA. And that mark is pretty much in keeping with left-hander’s track record, having had an ERA of 7.20 last year and 7.04 in 2018. But then he has also only pitched in 19 games at this level.

Pick: Fighters (+110); +1.5 (-190)

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