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Jul 27, 2018
Jul 27, 2018

NPB betting: How to bet on Japanese baseball

The differences between MLB and NPB

NPB and MLB run totals

Which NPB markets are available to bet on?

Get the best odds for Japanese baseball betting

NPB betting: How to bet on Japanese baseball

Betting on Japanese baseball provides a great opportunity for value bettors. What are the main differences between NPB and MLB? What should totals bettors consider? What markets are available for NPB bettors? Read on to find out.

Japan is home to the second biggest professional baseball league on the planet. The Nippon Professional Baseball league (NPB) features 12 franchises who compete for the prestigious Japan Series title.

Each NPB team plays 143 regular season games so there are plenty of opportunities for bettors to find value, especially those who take an analytical approach to betting. Large sample sizes and relatively settled rosters provide a strong opportunity for data-focused bettors.

NPB teams

There are 12 NPB teams split into two divisions:

NPB teams

Central League

Pacific League

Chunichi Dragons

Chiba Lotte Marins

Hanshin Tigers

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks            

Hiroshima Toyo Carp

Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters

Tokyo Yakult Swallows

Orix Buffaloes

Yokahama DeNA BayStars

Saitam Seibu Lions

Yomiuri Giants

Tohoku Rakuten Eagles

NPB league schedule and postseason

Each team plays 143 regular-season games. After all regular season games have been played the top three teams go on to compete with each other in a two-stage playoff.

The regular-season runners-up play the third place team in a best-of-three series. The winners of that contest then play the regular-season league champions in the Final Stage. The Final Stage is a six-game series with the regular-season champions starting with a one-game advantage.

The winners of the Climax Series from each league then play in the best-of-seven Japan Series to determine the overall champion.

Differences between MLB and NPB 

Betting on NPB is broadly similar to MLB betting, however there are a few differences bettors should be aware of:

Regular season games can end in a tie

If an NPB game is level after 12 innings then the result is a tie.

In terms of betting, in the event of a tie all wagers on the Money Line will result in a push (stake is returned to the bettor) whilst spread and totals bets will be settled as usual.

Longer shifts from starting pitchers

Since NPB teams can operate a six-man rotation, as opposed to five in MLB, NPB managers can leave their starters out for longer as they can play weekly rather than every five days. It is not uncommon to see opening pitchers racking up 100 or more pitches in a game.

This adds to the importance of knowing the starting pitchers for each matchup since longer shifts can see them have a greater impact on the game.

Totals

In general total runs per game are lower in the NPB compared to Major League Baseball. However, scoring can be variable season-to-season so trends need to be monitored.

NPB runs per game

NPB runs per game

Season

Central League

Pacific League

Average

2018

4.44

4.28

4.36

2017

4.04

4.01

4.03

2016

4.09

4.12

4.11

2015

3.42

3.98

3.7

2014

4.22

4.01

4.12

Average

4.04

4.08

4.06

MLB runs per game

MLB runs per game

Season

MLB

2018

4.44

2017

4.65

2016

4.48

2015

4.25

2014

4.07

Average

4.38

Per game run totals in NPB dropped in 2015 after the ball was changed to a less hitter-friendly one, however run totals have slowly increased as the league has adapted.

Totals bettors should be aware that average runs in NPB are marginally lower than in MLB due to a combination of factors including fresher pitchers and the change of ball.

Over the past five seasons marginally more runs have been scored in the Pacific League than in the Central League, however this difference is so small that it can probably be attributed to variance.

NPB betting: Markets available

Pinnacle offer a range of markets which will be familiar to MLB bettors:

Money Line

A bet on which team will win the fixture. This will result in a push in the event of a tie.

Run Line betting

This is a bet on the spread or handicap. For betting on the NPB a team is assigned a total number of runs to be added or taken away from their final total.

Totals

A bet on the total number of runs which will be scored in the game.

Team totals

A bet on the total number of runs to be scored by a specific team in the game.

Team to score first

A bet on which team will score the first run.

Hits+ runs+ errors

A totals wager that combines the runs, hits and errors in a game. Bettors can bet on there to be over or under a set total.

For more information about baseball betting read Pinnacle’s guide to betting on baseball.

Get the best odds for Japanese baseball betting

The Japanese league provides an exciting market to those familiar with baseball betting and newcomers to the sport alike.

Now that you know the basics behind betting on Japanese baseball make sure to take advantage of Pinnacle’s best value NPB odds.

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