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Punters' six best NPB teams to bet on in 2022
Feb 3, 2022, 5:22:00 AM

Punters' six best NPB teams to bet on in 2022

The baseball world is mostly centred on North America’s Major League Baseball. If you’re looking for a viable league to bet on outside of the MLB, the Nippon Professional Baseball should be the choice. Let’s talk about the best teams you can bet on in the NPB.

Most sports fans know that baseball is one of the biggest sports in the United States. However, they might not know that the MLB is not the be-all and end-all in baseball. There are a lot of leagues around the world with leagues in the Dominican Republic, Canada, and the minor leagues in the US.

You might be unaware that Japan is one of the most passionate countries when it comes to baseball. They have produced some awesome players over the years with Ichiro Suzuki and Shohei Ohtani serving as the best examples of the bunch.

For the rest of the piece, we will be talking about the best NPB baseball picks as you get accustomed to its betting scene. If you’re pondering ‘how many teams are in the NPB?’, you should know that the league has 12 teams.

Betting on the NPB has become overlooked because they don’t have many fans in the Western world but the league is filled with talented players and teams who can appeal themselves to that audience. Here are some of the best choices you can make to succeed in betting.

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Yomiuri Giants

Over the history of the NPB, the Yomiuri Giants have proven to be the most successful team with 22 titles to their name. However, they have experienced some mediocre seasons over the past decade which has left them lost from the number one spot that they usually held in the past.

Since they are such a big-name team, you can expect them to make some big signings and trades when available. They are also seen as Japan’s team because they always step up to the plate when they are needed.

In recent years, the Giants have been a weak team but some positive signs are pointing towards a return to the upper echelon of the NPB standings. This makes them a prime betting option for you since they are ready to become a strong team again after years of toiling away in mediocrity. You can expect that this team’s performance will trend upwards because of the roster they’ve built.

There have been some awesome players within the squad with multiple batters that can be considered aces for the team. In the 2021 season, many stars popped up as reliable options for the team. Players like Kazuma Okamoto, Hayato Sakamoto, and Yoshihiro Maru served as the top batters with 30+ home runs each.

In terms of the Central League, they are stronger than most teams but in the NPB context, they haven’t won since 2012. If you want to bet on them, you should look at their roster because they can keep their lineup from 2021 but they can also sign some big-name players to the squad.

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

In 2020 and 2021, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks did not have the best performances but they have the potential to explode into becoming a contender in the NPB. You can expect them to be a good bet because they are a strong team that isn’t considered a true title hopeful. However, if they can get the momentum, you can expect that the Hawks will be one of your best betting choices.

This kind of surprise factor is a strong reason why you should see them as a good choice when you’re trying to bet on baseball.

In terms of their roster, you can expect only a few names to pop up when you’re talking about the top performers. In batting, you should always watch Ryoya Kurihara who had an awesome 2021 season with 21 home runs to lead the team. This team struggled on the offensive end but if they get solid momentum, you can expect Kurihara or Nobuhiro Matsuda as the top choices. In terms of pitching, Shinya Kayama and Sho Iwasaki are good choices if you are looking for the top performers on this team.

It is challenging to deal with betting on the underdog because of the odds not being in your favour but the Hawks have proven that they deserve a shot. They have performed well as of late and they are promising enough to become a reliable betting option for you even if the odds haven’t panned out for them in the past.

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Hanshin Tigers

As one of the oldest baseball clubs in Japan, you should expect that Hanshin Tigers will be one of the most competitive teams in the NPB. Of course, they will not be expected to be one of the best because they have been mediocre over the past few years in NPB baseball betting.

This team also doesn’t have the winning history to look back on like the Giants which means they are a risky bet to make for the casual bettors. However, if you look back at the past few seasons from the Giants, you can see that they have performed better than most teams in a certain time frame. 

In the late 2010s and the early 2020s, the Tigers have turned themselves into a solid playoff team. Of course, that hasn’t translated into a trophy for the Tigers but this is a good sign especially when they want to keep this kind of momentum heading into the 2022 season. 

They can become a surprising contender but the realistic prediction is that they are not a favourite to win the title. However, they can be the most surprising team that can pounce on that chance to win because they have the lineup to compete with any other team in the NPB without any trouble. 

In terms of the odds, the Tigers do not have the best chances of winning the title but you should expect them to do their best to battle for the top spot. They have proven in the past few years that they can compete at a high level but it’s up to them to showcase what they’ve worked for as well.

Orix Buffaloes

Based on history, the Orix Buffaloes have not been the strongest team since the mid-1990s. However, they had a solid 2021 season which bodes well for their future in 2022. They had a 70-55 record in the 2021 season but people are still sceptical about their future. If they can perform at the same level, you can expect them to be a good bet since they are still underdogs in Japan NPB baseball.

When it comes to individual players, Yutaro Sugimoto is the number one batter on the team. With 32 home runs back in the 2021 season, you should keep an eye on him because he will be a primary reason behind Orix winning. While he can carry the team with his batting, he also needs some support which is why Takahiro Okada and Steven Moya are reliable batters as well.

They are a well-rounded team because they proved they can stay at the top of the Pacific League last season. However, they fell to other teams which is why they’re not seen as a top contender. Many fans have critiqued their 2021 performance as a fluke but they should be higher on everyone’s list because they can compete against any team when they’re on form.

There are tons of possibilities when it comes to Orix because they might return to their abysmal form from years past. However, with players like Okada and Moya leading the way, you should expect this team to battle hard for a good spot in the regular season.

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Chiba Lotte Marines

As the second-best team in the Pacific League in 2021, Chiba Lotte Marines can be one of the most surprising teams in 2022. They were a surprise team back in 2020 but they have managed to secure a good record over the past few years. They need to keep their squad strong because they’ve done well with creating a roster that has both potential and power.

In terms of their players, they have a two-headed monster with Brandon Laird and Leonys Martin who are the top hitters. They had 29 and 27 home runs respectively in the 2021 season and they will be looking to replicate that in 2022. If they manage to do so, you can expect that the Marines will have a strong performance. However, the scouting reports will all be centred on them which means the other players on the team have to step up for the Marines to get a good record.

Being the dark horse is a perfect tag for the Marines because most people do not expect them to become the champion at the end of the 2022 season. However, they can serve as spoilers for other teams. If they can build the momentum, they might have a chance to surpass the other teams which bodes well for the believers especially in the betting markets.

A team like the Marines is perfect for any bettor because they can go either way. They can be a bad team but they always have the potential to pull off upsets and they can even be a fringe contender if they play well for the entire season.

The rest of the team will have to step up apart from Laird and Martin because there are a lot of players who can step up. You can think of the likes of Koki Yamaguchi and Takashi Ogino who can step up in their time of need because the Marines have shown they can step up during tight games. You can look at any NPB baseball betting tips and you will see that a team like the Marines can be a step-up in solid quality.

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

Over the past few years, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles have had some solid playoff runs but they haven’t won a title in their short 17-year history. They are a young squad but they only have a Pacific League title and a Japan Series title in 2013. The Golden Eagles only have five playoff berths in their time as an NPB club but they have shown some signs that they can perform at the top level. 

They have missed the playoffs every other year since 2017 which is a bad sign for the Golden Eagles’ 2022. However, they have created a good roster which will be surprising to see outside of the playoffs. This is their chance to end the trend of missing the playoffs every other year because they are ready to put out a roster that can compete with any team in the NPB.

In the 2021 season, they had an above-average record at 66 wins and 62 losses. That record is not promising for most bettors because they don’t see it becoming a top record in 2022. However, you should also consider that they can raise their level. 

In terms of players to watch, you should check out Hideto Asamura and Hiroaki Shimauchi who are their top batters. They can carry this team when they have the momentum which matters since Kazuhisa Ishii is a good manager with tactics that can help them stay relevant in terms of NPB baseball predictions.

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The NPB has its fair share of teams with 12 choices but you should look at the others rather than the defending champs, Tokyo Yakult Swallows. They have been amazing over the past two years which is evidenced by their 2021 title. However, the other teams can be considered dark horses because the Swallows are not an unbeatable team. 

The Eagles are the least likely to win the league out of this list because they almost did not make the playoffs. However, you can also look at the worst teams in the NPB with teams like Seibu Lions and Nippon Ham Fighters who didn’t have the best of seasons. 

The Giants are probably the best choice since they managed to pull off some awesome performances in 2021. However, when it comes to potential profit, you should expect that Orix and Chiba are the best teams to bet on because they have the least odds of winning the title.

You can base your decisions on the 2021 records but you should always analyze the games that you will watch. Hopefully, you can win your bets because you have all of the tools at your disposal to succeed.

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Words: Cholo Martin

Image: Alamy


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