Another league is ready to play ball, as Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball will begin its season this Friday.
Opening Day was supposed to take place on March 20, however it was postponed three months due to COVID-19. The 12-team organization will play an abbreviated 120-game regular season, down from the original 143. The Climax Series (playoffs) is slated to begin on Nov. 14, with the Japan Series (championship) scheduled for a Nov. 21 start date.
The 12 teams are divided into two divisions—the Central League and the Pacific League. The Central League is where the Yomiuri Giants reside, the winners of a record 22 Japan Series. However, the Pacific League is home to the defending champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
NPB is well-known for its star power, as the league has had several players jump to the MLB including Shohei Ohtani, Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui. Hawks outfielder Yuki Yanagita and Hiroshima Toyo Carp outfielder Seiya Suzuki are two of the biggest names in the league right now.
Additionally, former noteworthy MLB players such as Adam Jones, Gerardo Parra, Justin Bour and Matt Moore will all be playing in NPB this season.
William Hill has released the odds for all six NPB games taking place on Opening Day. The Hawks are the biggest favorites on the card, as they are -145 at home against the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Hawks vs. Marines is also tied for the highest total for Friday’s contests at 8.5 along with the Chunichi Dragons vs. the Tokyo Yakult Swallows and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters vs. the Saitama Seibu Lions.
Bet baseball with William Hill, America’s #1 sportsbook.