Japanese Baseball Betting Tips

Japanese baseball betting is thriving, with baseball being Japan's top sport. The league's popularity has boosted interest in betting and looking for reliable NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball League) predictions.  

Our baseball picks and NPB odds provide Japanese Baseball betting tips, essential insights, leading teams, and other information for bettors.

Table of content

NPB Schedule

Pro Yakyu - NPB

NPB Results

Pro Yakyu - NPB

Key Considerations

  • Team History and Performance: Understanding each team's historical performance, including championship wins, playoff appearances, and regular season records, is essential. Look into recent trends, such as improvements or declines over the past few seasons.
  • Player Roster and Key Players: Knowledge about current rosters, including star players, key pitchers (for example, Roki Sasaki, Shota Imanaga, Yariel Rodriguez, and others), and emerging talents (Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Yuki Matsui, Uwasawa Naoyuki, and others), can be crucial. Injuries, trades, and roster changes throughout the season can significantly impact a team's performance.
  • Managerial Style and Tactics: The strategies employed by team managers and their impact on the game can be an essential factor. Some managers favor an aggressive offensive approach, while others prioritize solid defense.
  • Home/Away Performance: Teams often perform differently at home than away games. Understanding these nuances can provide an edge in betting.
  • Head-to-Head Matchups: Historical data on how teams perform against each other can reveal patterns or psychological edges.
  • Statistical Analysis: Advanced stats like batting averages, ERA (Earned Run Average), and WAR (Wins Above Replacement) can offer deeper insights into team and player performance.
  • Weather Conditions: Outdoor game conditions can significantly impact play, especially in baseball, where wind, rain, and temperature can alter game dynamics.
  • Team Resources: Teams with higher budgets might have better facilities, training, and the ability to attract top talent, which can influence their long-term success.
japanese-baseball-betting-tips

Japanese Baseball Betting Tips

For Japanese baseball betting, it's crucial to have a deep understanding of both the sport and the league. 

Successful Japanese baseball betting involves thorough preparation, including:

✔ League Knowledge: Familiarize yourself with the league's best teams and history, for example, Hanshin Tigers, Orix Buffaloes, Yomiuri Giants, and others.

✔ Knowing Betting Trends: Learn about prevalent betting trends, such as home field advantage, pitching matchups, recent form, etc, and familiarize yourself with basic bet types (Moneyline, Over/Under, Run Line Bets, and others).

✔ Team Conditions: Consider the current form of the teams, team dynamics, and player news, for example, imagine the Orix Buffaloes losing their star pitcher, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, could give the Hanshin Tigers an advantage. Such updates, team form, and strategy are crucial to making informed bets.

✔ Bet Types: You can choose between single and accumulator bets. A single bet involves placing a wager on a single outcome like a team winning a specific game. It's straightforward and less risky. On the other hand, an accumulator bet combines multiple bets into one.

✔ Betting Options: Moneyline bets involve choosing the outright winner of a game. Futures bets are placed on events that will happen later, like league champions. Run line betting is about betting on a team to win by a certain number of runs. Prop betting focuses on specific in-game events, like a player's performance. Lastly, handicaps are used to give an advantage or disadvantage to a team to level the betting field. 

FAQ
⚾ When is Japanese baseball season?

The Japanese baseball season usually spans from late March to early October, divided into spring and autumn seasons. The Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) League consists of two circuits: the Central League and the Pacific League.

⚾ How much do Japanese baseball players make?

Japanese baseball players' salaries vary, but top Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) League players can earn multimillion-dollar contracts. The average salary for NPB players is lower than that of Major League Baseball (MLB) players, with many earning $200,000 to $800,000 annually.

⚾ Is Japanese baseball better than American?

The comparison between Japanese and American baseball is subjective, as it depends on personal preferences. Both leagues, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in Japan and Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States, have unique styles and strengths, making it challenging to declare one as definitively better.

⚾ Who is the best Japanese baseball player?

Ichiro Suzuki is one of the most widely recognized and accomplished Japanese baseball players. Ichiro had a remarkable career in Japanese and American baseball, earning a reputation for his exceptional hitting, speed, and defensive skills.

⚾ Why Japanese love baseball?

Baseball is special in Japanese culture, being introduced to the country in the late 19th century and gaining popularity as a symbol of resilience and unity. Its emphasis on teamwork, discipline, and strategy resonates deeply with the Japanese values of harmony and collective effort, making baseball a beloved sport that transcends generations.

Japanese Baseball Betting Strategy

To increase success in Japanese baseball betting, consider these strategies and some examples given by our experts:

✔ Research Team Matchups: For example, analyze historical data between the Yomiuri Giants and the Hanshin Tigers. If the Giants have consistently outperformed the Tigers in their past few encounters, this could inform your betting choice. For instance, this trend could be significant if the Giants have won 70% of their last ten games against the Tigers.

✔ Analyze Pitcher-Batter Dynamics: Consider how, for example, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks' batters perform against a star pitcher like Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes. If Yamamoto has a record of striking out Hawks batters at a high rate, this could suggest a lower run total when these teams play.

✔ Study the Bullpen: Research the ERA and recent performance of the Chiba Lotte Marines' bullpen pitchers. If their bullpen has been particularly effective in the last few games, holding opponents to minimal runs in the later innings, this could influence the game's outcome, especially in close matches.

✔ Consider Recent Team Performance: Track the current winning or losing streaks of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. If they've been on a winning streak, winning 8 out of their last 10 games, this momentum could impact their next game's result, potentially making them a favorable pick.

Seasoned bettors should also read our other baseball-related article on how to bet on MLB with crypto.

Japan Baseball Teams

Since the 1950 season, Japan's NPB has been split into the Central League and Pacific League, each with six teams. 

Teams play 143 games annually, facing intra-league teams around 25 times and inter-league opponents six times. 

npb-betting-hanshin-tigers

The top three teams from each league enter the Climax Series play-off, leading to the Nippon Series: a best-of-seven finale between the Central and Pacific league champions, typically starting in late March.

Top Teams in the Central League: 

  • Hanshin Tigers: Strong overall performance and playoff presence.
  • Hiroshima Toyo Carp: Competitive in the league with good team dynamics.
  • Yokohama DeNA Baystars: Known for players like pitcher Shota Imanaga.
  • Yomiuri Giants: Historically successful with a solid lineup.
  • Tokyo Yakult Swallows: Recent league winners, strong contenders.
  • Chunichi Dragons: Notable presence despite recent challenges.

Top Teams in The Pacific League: 

  • Orix Buffaloes: Leading the league with a solid overall performance.
  • Chiba Lotte Marines: A competitive team making it to the Climax Series.
  • Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks: Among the top contenders in the league.
  • Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles: Showed a competitive presence in the league.
  • Saitama Seibu Lions: A critical team in the league with notable performances.
  • Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters: Demonstrated competitiveness throughout the season.

With numerous games in the league, baseball betting has many opportunities. Notable matchups, like the Yomiuri Giants vs. Hanshin Tigers or the Emperor’s Game, draw particular interest.

NPB Past Winners

Since its establishment in 1950, the NPB has completed 74 seasons. The current champions are the Orix Buffaloes, who secured their fifth title by defeating the Tokyo Yakult Swallows 4-2-1 in the Japan Series.

The Yomiuri Giants stand out as the most successful club in NPB history, boasting 22 championships, their last win in 2012. 

As of the 2023 season, the reigning champions are the Hanshin Tigers, who defeated the Orix Buffaloes in the 2023 Japan Series with a score of 4-3.

SeasonWinnerRunner-UpScore
2023Hanshin TigersOrix Buffaloes4-3
2022Orix BuffaloesTokyo Yakult Swallows4-2-1
2021Tokyo Yakult SwallowsOrix Buffaloes4-2
2020Fukuoka SoftBank HawksYomiuri Giants4-0
2019Fukuoka SoftBank HawksYomiuri Giants4-0
2018Fukuoka SoftBank HawksHiroshima Toyo Carp4-1-1
2017Fukuoka SoftBank HawksYokohama DeNA BayStars4-2
2016Hokkaido Nippon-Ham FightersHiroshima Toyo Carp4-2
2015Fukuoka SoftBank HawksTokyo Yakult Swallows4-1
2014Fukuoka SoftBank HawksHanshin Tigers4-1

10 Highest-Paid NPB Players

As of 2023, several Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) players have been highlighted for their outstanding performances.

  1. Masahiro Tanaka, Pitcher, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles – ¥900 million ($6.6 million) 
  2. Yuki Yanagita, Outfielder, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – ¥620 million ($4.5 million) 
  3. Munetaka Murakami, Outfielder, Yakult Swallows – ¥440 million ($3.2 million)
  4. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Pitcher, Orix Buffaloes – ¥420 million ($3.1 million) 
  5. Tetsuto Yamada, Outfielder, Tokyo Yakult Swallows – ¥400 million ($2.9 million) 
  6. Shota Imanaga, Pitcher, Hanshin Tigers – ¥380 million ($2.8 million) 
  7. Seiya Suzuki, Outfielder, Chicago Cubs – ¥360 million ($2.6 million) 
  8. Suguru Iwamura, Outfielder, Tokyo Yomiuri Giants – ¥350 million ($2.6 million) 
  9. Shugo Nakamura, Pitcher, Hiroshima Toyo Carp – ¥320 million ($2.3 million) 
  10. Kazuma Aoyagi, Pitcher, Hanshin Tigers – ¥310 million ($2.2 million) 
Masahiro-Tanaka-Rakuten-Eagles

Reasons to Bet on Japanese Baseball

Despite Nippon Professional Baseball being less prominent than Major League Baseball, there are compelling reasons to bet on it:

  • Smaller Market Advantages: Learning Japanese baseball takes time, as it takes time to get to know the teams, players, and game style. Yet, it can pay off as oddsmakers may not focus on NPB, making finding value in less competitive markets easier.
  • More Betting Opportunities: NPB games often happen during North American mornings due to the time difference, giving baseball bettors more options.
  • Start Small, Grow Slow: Begin with small bets when betting on NPB. As you gain experience and success, you can increase your bets gradually. Using reliable betting sites, especially those recommended for NPB, boosts your chances of profitable betting.

NPB vs. Other Baseball Leagues

When analyzing Japanese Baseball betting, comparing it with other major baseball leagues like Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) in South Korea is insightful. 

Style of Play:

  • NPB is known for its focus on technical skills, bunting, and strategic plays.
  • MLB, on the other hand, often features power-hitting and fast pitches.
  • KBO is a mix emphasizing contact-hitting and in-game strategy.

Scoring Patterns:

  • NPB games generally have lower scoring due to the emphasis on pitching and defense.
  • MLB games tend to have higher scores, partly due to more minor ballparks and the prevalence of home runs.
  • KBO also often sees higher scores, influenced by the quality of pitchers and hitter-friendly ballparks.

Betting Markets:

  • NPB betting markets might offer fewer options compared to MLB due to its less global betting presence.
  • MLB offers many betting markets, including more prop bets and in-game betting options.
  • KBO, growing in popularity, especially after the 2020 season, is seeing an increase in available betting markets.

Player Dynamics:

  • NPB teams often develop players through rigorous farm systems, leading to a different player growth trajectory than MLB.
  • MLB frequently sees players from diverse international backgrounds, including many from NPB and KBO.
  • With its local talent, KBO often recruits foreign pitchers, which can affect the game dynamics.

Game Pace and Duration:

  • NPB games are generally faster-paced and shorter in duration compared to MLB games.
  • MLB games can be lengthier, partially due to commercial breaks and a different pace of play.
  • KBO games are similar in pace to NPB but vary depending on the teams playing.

Conclusion

Betting on Japanese Baseball requires thorough research, understanding of the league's structure, and knowledge of the different types of bets. 

By comparing NPB with other major leagues like MLB and KBO, bettors can adapt their strategies to this unique market. 

The key to success lies in analyzing team dynamics, player performances, and historical data while taking advantage of the NPB betting market's specific opportunities. 

Dalius Mikalauskas

Sports Betting Expert

Dalius became interested in sports betting at the age of 16, although he could not place bets at that time (bets accepted from the age of 18). However, it was not forbidden to sell betting picks, which is what the author did actively on sports betting forums. Today, he has more than 18 years of experience in sports betting. In school, the auth ..
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