WBC: USA vs Japan Betting Tips

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Updated: March 21, 2017

We’ve seen some great games in the World Baseball Classic and now we have just two left. Tonight’s game between the USA and Japan will decide who goes to the finals against Puerto Rico and this has the potential to be a great one. Japan is well-managed and knows exactly what they want to do. The US, while lacking on the pitching side, is still filled with dangerous hitters and (as Adam Jones showed us on Saturday) excellent fielding.

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We had Puerto Rico as a sneaky play to win the whole thing at +2000 and that might still happen. Edwin Diaz has been as dominant as we imagined he would be and the Francisco Lindor/Carlos Correa tandem has been as great as we wanted it to be. Unfortunately, you aren’t getting those odds anymore as they are just +125 to win it at this moment. Those odds will likely change when their opponent is solidified, but that is still a world of difference from where this all started.

Japan and the United States came into this thing as the favorites though and now they will play to see who gets to play for the championship. The United States has never medaled in this tournament and a loss here could cost them once again. This is a big game for them, but you wouldn’t know it based on the roster.

Tanner Roark is a solid starter in the major leagues, but in a game that could decide the champion of the World Baseball Classic you would hope for someone with a little bit more pedigree. He’ll go against Tomoyuki Sugano who is one of the top pitchers in Japan. He has struggled a bit in this tournament with the long ball, but he does have 10 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. Roark has only thrown 1 1/3 innings so far in this tournament. Last season he was helped by luck as his 2.83 ERA hid a 3.79 FIP. There is a scenario in which Sugano struggles, but it’s hard to see a scenario in which Roark succeeds against this lineup.

The knock on Japan is that they have Norichika Aoki as the #3 hitter in their lineup. That is not a knock against their lineup, just against their manager, as the team has hit very well in this tournament. Tetsuto Yamada has a couple homeruns, Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh has a .364/.462/.773 slash line thus far and Sho Nakata has a monster .294/.429/.882(!) slash line. When you think of Japan you don’t always think of power, but this team has shown a lot thus far in the tournament as they have cruised to a 6-0 record.

While the US team is obviously very good, nobody has really stood out in this tournament thus far. Brandon Crawford is their leading hitter while Buster Posey, Eric Hosmer and Christian Yelich have also done some nice things. I don’t know, this team is totally stacked on paper, but it’s hard for me to get into them.

Japan is +107 tonight and I think that is a pretty solid play. They haven’t lost a game in this tournament while the US has lost two. After Roark, I don’t see anyone really putting a scare into the Japan team. Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek are fine, but not exactly what you want backing you up in one of the biggest games.

The US team has been criticized for not putting it’s best team out there and putting more of an emphasis on the regular. That is completely understandable from a Major League team’s perspective, but for this tournament? I don’t think it bodes well for them. Give me Japan +107 in this one and Japan +200 to win the whole thing.

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  1. Pingback: WBC Championship: Puerto Rica vs USA Betting Tips - Baseball Bryan

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