2023 World Baseball Classic Betting Preview: Pool Favorites, More

Who will take it all this year?


March 5

The World Baseball Classic is back for a fifth time.

Making its return for the first time since 2017 — delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic — the preseason tournament allows big leaguers to represent their native lands. The last time the WBC was held, Team USA defeated Team Puerto Rico in the championship game. Japan enters winners of two titles (2006, 2009), the most of any team. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico will seek a third consecutive appearance in the championship round, but still seeks its first-ever title.

The tournament this year has also expanded from 16 teams to 20 teams, splitting everyone into four pools.

Here’s the pre-tournament outlook and betting favorite for each pool, according to DraftKings Sportsbook:

Pool A
Favorite — Cuba: +110
Runner-up — Netherlands: +250

Pool B
Favorite — Japan: -650
Runner-up — South Korea: +400

Pool C
Favorite — USA: -450
Runner-up — Mexico: +400

Pool D
Favorite — Dominican Republic: -250
Runner-up — Venezuela: +330

Three out of the four pool favorites already have experienced winning a World Baseball Classic with Cuba being the only exception. However, the Netherlands, led by Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Schoop and Chadwick Tromp, will present quite the challenge to Cuba. Pool A has the tightest race entering the tournament, and don’t be surprised if the odds don’t fall through in Cuba’s favor.

The Dominican Republic enters action with a high bar set before even taking the field. General manager Nelson Cruz constructed a star-studded lineup featuring the likes of Rafael Devers, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Juan Soto to name a few, making them the runaway favorite to win the entire tournament.

Here’s a top-six list of the teams with the best odds to be crowned World Baseball Classic champions:

Dominican Republic: +210
USA: +250
Japan: +275
Venezuela: +1000
Korea Republic: +1200
Puerto Rico: +1200

The 2023 World Baseball Classic begins Tuesday when Cuba and the Netherlands face off. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images

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