WBC Championship: Puerto Rica vs USA Betting Tips

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Updated: March 22, 2017

Well, we got last night wrong.

It was a great game that could have gone either way and the US managed to shut down the Japan bats just enough to scrape out the win. A 2-1 win in these circumstances is impressive and the US should be going into this one as the favorite. It hasn’t been pretty for them on this run, but they have found ways to win when it matters. The US is the road team in this one, but are still a -123 favorite to win this tournament for the first time.

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On the mound for the US will be Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays. There is a bit of controversy surrounding Stroman as in 2013 he said that he would pitching for Puerto Rico and then changed his mind. His mother was born there so he was eligible. Stroman and his mother have since gotten a lot of backlash on the internet from Puerto Rico fans. You have to wonder if this is going to be a certain motivating factor for Stroman who has pitched well in this tournament already.

Across the mound from him will be Seth Lugo of the New York Mets who is perhaps best known for having the highest spin rate on a curveball in recorded history. That’s pretty cool and all, but is he ready for this US lineup? He’s pitched 11 innings thus far and only allowed three runs. One of those starts was a win against the US where he went 5 2/3, giving up three runs and two homers. He may need to do better than that to win this thing.

The big difference to me is what these lineups come in looking like. While Brandon Crawford, Christian Yelich and Eric Hosmer have hit well for the US, others have not. Giancarlo Stanton is pretty much that one big homerun, Adam Jones did well in San Diego and Andrew McCutchen just doesn’t look all that great. Meanwhile, Paul Goldschmidt can’t buy an at-bat.

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The Puerto Rico team on the other hand has just been dominant. They’ve outscored their opponents 55-18 and are 7-0 in the tournament. There have been some close calls, but overall they have dominated. Led by veterans Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina they are stacked with young talent in Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez and Jonathan Schoop. That makes a great infield defense and a dangerous lineup. They come into this game in much better shape than the US squad and highly motivated to capture their first gold medal here.

Of course, none of that matters as it is only one game. This will come down to the bullpens and the x-factor that excites me the most is Edwin Diaz of the Mariners. He has been outstanding thus far in the tournament and is in for big, big things. If the Puerto Rico squad can get into the late innings with a lead, Diaz will keep it. This shortens the game for PR and with the better core of young talent (come at me), I think the US… territory wins this one.

Puerto Rico +108

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