Japan J1 League Outright Bets 2024

We’re a little over halfway through the J1 League season. Machida Zelvia leads the way, but things are tight. There’s plenty still to bet on in this J1 League season and lots of places to find value. 

Keep reading to see who our experts think will win the J1 League and other top Japan J1 League outright bets you should back.

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J1 League

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Kashima Antlers to Win the J1 League

Through 17 weeks of the 2024 J1 League season, Machida Zelvia sit on top of the table. If you’re unfamiliar, Zelvia were in the second division just last season. Them winning the league would be one of the biggest upsets in recent Japanese history.  Unfortunately for Zelvia, we don’t see it happening. 

Machida Zelvia lead the lead in goals scored and only one team has conceded fewer goals than them. We’re willing to bet this good form tails off soon though.

When you look at xG, you can see that Zelvia has been very lucky defensively. The club’s xG differential should have them closer to fifth or sixth than first. 

Our pick to win the league is Kashima Antlers. We know what you’re thinking, Antlers xG numbers are not that great either. However, we think that’s forgivable considering their recent form and star power. 


Antlers started this season slowly, but are now undefeated in nine of their last ten matches. Shintaro Nago is second in the league in assists, while Aleksandar Cavric is one of the best playmakers in the league. Cavric is in the top ten for both goals and assists this season. 

The biggest reason we’re taking Antlers is experience. Unlike Machida Zelvia, Kashima Antlers have been in a J1 League title race before. Now that they’ve shaken off the poor form from the beginning of the season, we don’t see them looking back. Check our carefully selected Asian betting sites for the best odds available.

Anderson Lopes to Win the Golden Boot

Anderson Lopes propelled Yokohama F. Marinos to a second place finish last year by scoring 22 goals. This was enough to secure him the J1 League Golden Boot. We think he can do it again this year. 

Lopes has scored 10 goals for Yokohama this season. He’s three behind Leo Ceara, who leads the Golden Boot race right now. Jubilo Iwata’s Ryo Germain is also ahead of the Brazilian right now. However, Lopes has played two fewer games. Yokohama F. Marinos also have a relatively-easy schedule down the stretch. 


If you’re looking for a safer option, either Ceara and Germain are good alternative bets on football betting sites. Any other J1 League Golden Boot bets are a bit too risky for us. Kashima Antlers’ Yuma Suzuki is fourth in the ladder. He’s only scored 8 goals this season. The gap between him and the top is just too big. 

We don’t think a three-goal gap is too big for Anderson Lopes though. He is our J1 League Golden Boot winner best bet. 


⚽ What is J1 league?

The J1 League is Japan’s top professional football league, consisting of 18 teams competing for the championship. It is known for its competitive matches and has a significant domestic and international following.

⚽ Who is the current leader of the J1 League?

As of now June 6th, Machida Zelvia is leading the J1 League. They were in the second division last season, making their current position a surprising and impressive achievement.


⚽ Who do experts think will win the J1 League?

Our experts predict that Kashima Antlers will win the J1 League. Despite a slow start to the season, they have shown recent solid form and possess experienced players who have been in title races before.

⚽ Which team is likely to qualify for the AFC Champions League?

Sanfrecce Hiroshima is a strong candidate to qualify for the AFC Champions League. They have the best xG metrics in the league but are currently in fifth place. Our experts believe they can catch up to Gamba Osaka in third place to secure qualification.

⚽ Who is at risk of relegation this season?

Shonan Bellmare is predicted to be relegated. Despite their notable past performances, their defense has been one of the weakest in the league. Sagan Tosu is another team that might face relegation, though Kawasaki Frontale and Jubilo Iwata are considered outsiders.


Sanfrecce Hiroshima to Qualify for the AFC Champions League

Sanfrecce Hiroshima have been the most dominant team in the J1 League this season. How they are not in first place now continues to confuse our experts. 

No team in the J1 League has racked up more xG than Sanfrecce. They are also at the top of the xG allowed table, meaning no team allows fewer opposition chances than the Viola. Like Antlers, a poor start to the season has really brought Sanfrecce. 

After 16 matches, Sanfrecce are in fifth place. They are 9 points behind Machida Zelvia and Kashima Antlers in first and second, respectively. The Viola have a game in hand on the league leaders, but we think 9 points is too many points to make up. 


With that being said, Sanfrecce are only five points behind Gamba Osaka in third. It will be tough, but we think they can catch up to them and finish third. Finishing third will secure Sanfrecce a place in next year’s AFC Champions League qualifiers. 

Gamba Osaka and Vissel Kobe are other good safe options here. FC Tokyo and Nagoya have the same amount of points as Sanfrecce. We don’t think they have the quality to finish third, but if we were looking to take a punt on a big outsider, those would be our picks.

Shonan Bellmare to be Relegated

Kawasaki Frontale, Sagan Tosu, Shonan Bellmare, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, and Kyoto Sanga are in the middle of a tough relegation battle. Consa and Kyoto Sanga look the most likely to go down. The question is who will join them. We think it will be Shonan Bellmare.

Shonan Bellmare are one of the most well-known teams outside of Japan thanks to their upset J.League Cup win in 2018, the year following their promotion from the J2 League. This reputation has helped keep Bellmare in the league since then. This is the year they finally go down. 

Bellmare’s defense is one of the worst in the league. Only Kyoto Sanga and Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo have given up more goals. No team has fewer clean sheets than Shonan Bellmare. They are also in the bottom five for shots conceded, xG allowed, and red cards. 

A team as poor defensively as Shonan Bellmare will not survive in the J1 League for long. 

If you’re not convinced by our pick, Sagan Tosu is another team we can see going down this season. Kawasaki Frontale and Jubilo Iwata are big outsiders. We don’t think they will go down. If you do, you could win big by betting on them to be relegated from the J1 League this season. 

Noah Strang

Sports Betting Expert

Noah Strang is a writer with more than five years of iGaming industry experience. He has held many hats inside the industry including as an editor, freelancer, and more. He’s most interested in ongoing legalization efforts as well as following the vast number of sports leagues that go on around the world. Noah has written for many of the majo ..
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