Despite never having won the event, the United States is the betting favorite for next month's World Baseball Classic. Check out a full betting preview for the fourth WBC.
Baseball bettors looking for a little value on next month’s World Baseball Classic would be wise to avoid wagering on the favorite and instead take a hard look at the second and third choices to win the tournament at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
That is because former champions the Dominican Republic (+250) and Japan (+300) are both sitting behind the favored United States (+200) on the betting board.
The Dominicans topped Puerto Rico 3–0 in the 2013 final hosted in San Francisco, with second baseman Robinson Cano earning MVP honors. Starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka had led the Japanese to the 2006 and 2009 titles as the MVP each time, and he was a member of the 2007 World Series champion Boston Red Sox in between.
The United States has the most MLB talent, including catcher Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants), first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks), second baseman Daniel Murphy (Washington Nationals), third baseman Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies) and pitchers Chris Archer (Tampa Bay Rays) and Andrew Miller (Cleveland Indians).
But that has usually been the case for the Americans, and still their best finish was fourth place in 2009 behind Venezuela (third), South Korea (second) and Japan.
In fact, the Japanese are the only team to place in each of the first three tournaments, finishing third in 2013 ahead of the Netherlands to go along with their two titles. The South Koreans (+1000) were runners-up in 2009 (falling 5–3 to Japan in 10 innings in the final) and also placed third ahead of the Dominicans back in 2006.
Like South Korea, the Dominican Republic is one of two countries to place in two of the three tournaments. However, the South Koreans own two medals compared to one for the Dominicans.
Cuba (+1800) is the only other country that has placed in the brief history of the WBC in addition to Venezuela (+900) and Puerto Rico (+1000). The Cubans lost the inaugural final to Japan 10–6 in 2006, but they face a tough task this time around in trying to advance from Pool B where Japan is the favorite.
The United States must beat out the Dominican Republic in Pool C, while Puerto Rico and Venezuela lead Pool D.