NPB playoff tips and predictions
WagerTalk Asian baseball handicapper Tokyo Brandon shares his thoughts on the upcoming Japanese NPB playoff series. The 2021 NPB playoffs begin on Saturday November 6th when the Chiba Lotte Marines face the Rakuten Eagles and the Hanshin Tigers face the Yomiuri Giants. The Yakult Swallows Orix Buffaloes have each earned a bye for the first round.
NPB playoff betting preview
The NPB’s Japanese baseball playoffs have been set. There are two leagues (Central, Pacific) and for the first time in the history of Japanese baseball, both leagues were won by two bottom-placed teams last year. Central League champion Yakult Swallows and Pacific League champion Orix Buffaloes won their respective leagues and earned a two-week break, while the teams in 2nd and 3rd place from 6th
The swallows and buffalo both have something in common beyond the last to the first story. Each team enjoyed tremendous improvements in their pitching to achieve the title of Master. Last year, Yakult and Orix were 11th and 12th in the bullpen ranks of 12 teams, while Yakult is 6th and Orix 10th this year. Both teams also have excellent and deep rotations that they didn’t have last year. Here is my take on each league and how the Japan Series (Japanese World Series) will ultimately prevail:
Central League preview
While Yalult waits, traditional rivals Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants play a series. Yomiuri are the Yankees of Japan. The most traditional and popular team, rooting all media and having all traditional and historical awards including Sadaharu Oh and Shigeo Nagashima. They represented the Central League last year but went into a tailspin this year and actually finished under 500 for the second time in 17 years. They are aging vets and pitching, especially the bullpen, is suspect. The Tigers can be compared to the Red Sox. A team with passionate fans who hate Yomiuri and have had little success since the 1980s when Randy Bass and Kakefu played for them. They have only been successful until recently and this year they are supported by two great rookies in Nakano and Sato and very productive rookies helping with rotation and bullpening. I expect the Tigers to win this series and face Yakult. Yakult has the punch and a better bullpen than Hanshin. I think the depth in the rotation is enough to include Yakult in the Japan series.
Pacific League preview
Orix is the champion and will wait while the Rakuten Eagles and Lotte Marines beat each other up. These teams are so evenly balanced that it is difficult to determine a winner. The bullpens are both excellent, while Lotte has a slight punch advantage, I like Rakuten’s starting pitchers better. It’s hard to call this, but I have to say, Rakuten seems like a fateful team to me, so I’m going to go with them on a highly competitive series. Orix gets its power from the starting rotation. They have the best pitcher in Japan (Yamamoto) but I think depth is an issue. I see Rakuten’s great pitching that she does into the series as they have the benefits of rotation and bullpen and are just good enough to make it through.
Japan series preview
Yakult vs Rakuten is how I see it developing. While Rakuten has great pitching, Yakult has deep rotation and two of the best power hitters in the league in Kurakami and Yamada. They have no deficiencies in the lineup, they have depth of rotation, and the bullpen is just good enough to hold a mediocre Rakuten lineup. I believe that this year the swallows will win the championship for the first time since 2001.
Japanese baseball betting tips
Tokyo Brandon is based in Japan and previously worked for the Pacific Rim Scouting Department of a major league baseball team in Japanese baseball for ten years. He is now using his mathematical probabilities and betting models to impede Japanese baseball. Drew Martin sits down with Tokyo Brandon to discuss the biggest differences between the Japanese Nippon Professional League and the MLB, KBO, etc.
WagerTalk Live Odds Screen
WagerTalk’s live odds screen features up-to-the-minute lines from a variety of offshore and domestic sports betting. Track the NPB playoff money lines, first five inning lines, do lies and totals from your desktop or phone.
Are you looking for more free sports tips and sports betting tips?
- Latest betting odds and public promotions: Vegas lines updated in real time, including who the public is betting on.
- Last minute handicap advice: Check out our extensive library Handicap tips and advice from professional Vegas handicappers (we also recommend taking the time to read our Video library with sports betting tips)
- Would you like an expert opinion? Check out the latest Free sports tips and Best bets from our team of experienced sports handicappers.
Make sure to bookmark all of the above!