WBC schedule begins March 7 and ends March 21 with championship game
The fifth World Baseball Classic begins on Tuesday Mar. 7 and is a two-week tournament that will culminate in the championship game at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday March 21. The four previous versions saw 16 teams, but this year’s version will have 20, as the United States looks to repeat as champions after beating Puerto Rico 8-0 in the last WBC back in 2017.
Odds are posted for Group Play and also the overall tournament winner at DraftKings Sportsbook, so let’s look at those and also some info on the teams.
2023 World Baseball Classic Odds
Dominican Republic +200
United States +275
Puerto Rico +1000
Korea Republic +1200
Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) +5000
Great Britain +20000
Czech Republic +50000
The teams from Australia on down are missing a couple of zeroes, as only a handful of the 20 teams really have a strong shot to win. Getting through pool play is the first step and then teams advance to the second round, followed by the quarterfinals, semifinals and then championship and third-place games.
The Dominican Republic and Team USA have the most name recognition in the tournament and the Dominican team probably has the best lineup ever assembled with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Manny Machado, Rafael Devers, Wander Franco, Jeremy Pena, Julio Rodriguez, Eloy Jimenez, Juan Soto and Teoscar Hernandez, and that’s not even the entire group of position players.
Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Kyle Schwarber, Paul Goldschmidt, Pete Alonso, Nolan Arenado, Trea Turner and J.T. Realmuto are among those in the lineup for the reigning champion United States.
For Japan, the pitching is the big story with a three-headed monster of Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish and Roki Sasaki, a name you may not know, but sure as hell will after this tournament. Sasaki threw a perfect game with 19 strikeouts last season in the NPB and followed it up with eight perfect innings in his next start. Oh, and he’s 21 years old throwing triple digits with a disgusting arsenal of breaking balls.
Venezuela and Puerto Rico are in the same pool (D) as the Dominican Republic, so one of those three won’t make it past pool play.
2023 World Baseball Classic Predictions
You can read more detailed analysis of the teams in the pool breakdowns linked above, but here are a few futures bets to consider.
Japan (+300): Japan would draw the runner-up of Pool A in the quarterfinals, which likely means Cuba or Netherlands. Japan would be a large favorite in that game and would have either Ohtani or Darvish on full rest for that game and then also the semifinals game against either the Pool C winner (likely U.S.) or Pool D runner-up (likely Venezuela). With the format of this event, Japan can throw Ohtani, Darvish and Sasaki twice each on full rest if they make it all the way to the finals.
Korea Republic (+1200): I really like the Korean team. It is essentially a KBO All-Star team with a little bit of MLB flavor mixed in. The Koreans were runners-up in 2009, but have had a couple of poor showings the last two WBCs. What I like about them is that I think this is the best team they’ve had since 2009 and also that they’re almost assuredly going to get through Pool B.
Japan is an overwhelming favorite to win the pool, but Korea is vastly superior to Australia, China and Czech Republic. They should make it out of the group stage and the Pool B runner-up draws the winner of Pool A in the quarterfinals, which is the weakest of the pools in my opinion. I would consider Korea very live against Cuba or Netherlands before running into the Dominican Republic.
A rolling moneyline for Korea is going to yield more than +1200, though. They’ll be favored against Cuba/Netherlands, but a big underdog to the Dominicans and an underdog to Japan or the United States in the championship game if they got that far. That is a course of action I’d look to initiate once they got out of pool play. Bracket-style tournaments almost always yield more in a rolling moneyline, where you start with your preferred bet amount and then “rollover” the your bet amount plus your winnings into the next wager and so on.
How to Watch the World Baseball Classic
All games streamed on Fox Sports App. All games will be televised on either Fox, FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes or Tubi.