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World Baseball Classic Championship Odds
2017 brings us the fourth World Baseball Classic and possibly the last. The tournament has been fun, but it is tough logistically with the season right around the corner and hasn’t proven to be as successful commercially as MLB would like it to be. That said, it is happening this year and it always seems to be taken seriously by the teams involved. It is a fun event and worthy of your attention. We plan to have more WBC content going forward, but for today we’re going to take a look at the championship odds at 5Dimes.
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Japan is the big one with two gold medals and one bronze in the three years of this tournament’s existence. They are likely to be low on major league talent as the Rangers are likely to keep Yu Darvish out of the tournament and the biggest name will probably be Nori Aoki who is nothing to get too excited about. That said, Japan takes this tournament very seriously with their manager recently being quoted saying “It is a matter of concern and interest to the citizens of this country. It is the ideal medium to express baseball’s appeal. I think it’s a tournament that will allow Japanese baseball to gain currency in the world.”
So, yeah, they take this thing pretty seriously. Japan +300 is in my opinion the best bet to take this tournament. The NPB is the closest to MLB out there and they play a style that works well in a short tournament like this. They will be led be Shohei Otani who is the most exciting young player in the world right now. He won the MVP in Japan this season with a 1.004 OPS and 22 homeruns while also going 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA. Two way play like that doesn’t happen anywhere and he should be one of the big stories of this tournament.
The favorite on paper is the Dominican Republic +260. They won last time out and have some of the best major leaguers coming from their country. The players that are expected to play from the majors are some of the best we have. Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz of the Mariners, superstar third baseman Manny Machado of the Orioles, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco of the Pirates, Adrian Beltre of the Rangers and Dellin Betances of the Yankees. That is a frightening lineup and they deserve to be considered one of the better teams out there. They do skew a bit older, but they are all so good defensively and offensively that they belong at the top.
America is +300, but they honestly don’t deserve that placement. Their best finish is fourth and they have let down in every year. Their team is filled with name talent: Max Scherzer of the Nationals, Andrew Miller of the Indians, Chris Archer of the Rays, Buster Posey of the Giants, Nolan Arenado of the Rockies, Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks and Daniel Murphy of the Nationals. There are some big name All-Stars on this team and on paper they have probably the best pitching out there. That said, they always let down. Whether it’s because the American players don’t find this tournament important or they want to win the World Series more or they simply aren’t their best selves at this point of the year; they just seem to always let down and I find it hard to believe that this is the year.
An interesting team is South Korea +1000. They medaled in the first two iterations of this tournament, but then struggled in 2013. Since then though the national team has done much better as they won the 2014 Asian Games and then won the WSBC Premier 12 tournament in 2015. Much like Japan, they take this tournament seriously and they will be out to win.
Venezuela +1500, Puerto Rico +2000 and Cuba +2000 are all lumped together here as they have a lot of great talent, but not as much as the US or the Dominican Republic. I wouldn’t necessarily lump them all together though as Puerto Rico has some of the best talent in this tournament.
Beloved Cub Javier Baez, Indians superstar (and maybe the best shortstop on the planet) Francisco Lindor, Astros star Carlos Correa and veteran star Carlos Beltran make a pretty scary lineup and the first three should make a really scary infield. The pitching isn’t as tough as some other teams, but 2016 breakouts Edwin Diaz and Seth Lugo are on the roster. They will be able to close out games. I have PR as my sleeper in this one.
One last team I’ll mention is the Netherlands +2500. They are the deep sleeper in this one as they finished fourth in 2013 and should be good once again. They have a surprisingly high amount of major league talent led by Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox, Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers and Jonathan Schoop of the Orioles. While they will definitely need some luck to get there, they have enough upside and intriguing young players to make a mark in this tournament.
The 2016 World Baseball Classic starts March 6, 2017 with Israel vs South Korea and games will be available on MLB Network. Complete odds are below and you can bet the World Baseball Classic at http://www.5Dimes.com
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