The World Baseball Classic is an international baseball tournament, with the winner of the tournament granted the name of “World Champion”. The WBC is basically baseball’s answer to soccer’s World Cup. However, with MLB being the premiere league for baseball, it’s rather surprising that the U.S. has never won the WBC. Maybe this will be the year that this changes. In this article we’ll examine how to bet on the WBC.
WBC Betting vs. World Cup Betting
Although the WBC and World Cup have similar formats, in terms of intensity, the WBC comes no where near the intensity level of the World Cup. Generally, baseball players have been wary of competing in the WBC due to its close proximity to spring training. Additionally, playing in the WBC places a tremendous strain on players, pitchers in particular. The outlook is that playing for one’s home country does not come with as much pride and prestige as playing for one’s home country in the World Cup. As a result, bettors should be wary when betting on the WBC due to the fact that players may choose to opt out of the tournament during the latter stages, with nothing really set in stone.
Format Of The WBC
Over the course of the MLB regular season, teams play 162 games, which represents a fairly large sample size. As a result, the best teams will typically place near the top of the standings, while also likely booking trips to the postseason. Furthermore, even the MLB postseason (with the exception of the Wild Card round) are played with either the best-three-of-five or best-four-of-seven formats. On the other hand, the first round of the WBC playoffs would have only provided each team with three games prior to this. Because of this, slumps, hot streaks, or simply dumb luck could significantly alter the outcome of games. Due to the problem of small sample sizes, upsets are much more likely to happen in the WBC. If you’re used to betting on favorites, you’d better bet on them with extra caution in the WBC as there’ll be inevitable room for error.
As of now, the U.S. is favored to win the WBC at +179, followed by the Dominican Republic at +225, and Japan at +248. Out of all three teams, I believe that the Japanese team should be taken most seriously and might even have the best chance of winning. A large part of this is due to the fact that the Japanese tend to take the WBC much more seriously compared to other countries. Additionally, Japan has a relatively easy pool, with Cuba being its primary competitors – Australia and China are relatively viewed as unthreatening nations when it comes to baseball. However, always be wary of the U.S. since this could potentially be the year when they finally win their first WBC. Anything can happen, especially with so few games being played over the course of the tournament.
Best Value Bets
In terms of best value bets, the obvious place to start is the favorites in pools A and D. Pool A favors South Korea at +1210 and the Netherlands at +3073. While neither of these two teams possess the firepower that other favorites do, their clear path to the playoffs makes their long shot odds appealing. Additionally, pool D may also be a good option, also it’s a bit more packed, with Mexico (+2325), Venezuela (+832), and Puerto Rico (+1485) fighting for the two playoff spots.