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USA Enters WBC Finals As Slight Fave Over Puerto Rico

Of the 16 teams that started the World Baseball Classic with hopes of proving they are the best in the world, only two remain. The USA and Puerto Rico will meet at Dodger Stadium tonight with both nations hoping to win their first ever WBC crown.

USA is a slight -130 on the moneyline with Puerto Rico coming back at +110. The Americans have had a much more difficult path to the finals, as they have gone 5-2 overall with three of those victories coming by two runs or less. Puerto Rico has done nothing but dominate throughout the tournament, as the blond-haired bunch have gone a perfect 7-0 and are looking to become the second team to go undefeated in the WBC (Dominican Republic, 2013).

These two squads met just five days ago in a game that saw a ninth-inning rally from the USA fall just short. Puerto Rico came out on fire in that game with each of their first six batters singling en route to an early 4-0 lead.

The two teams will start the same pitchers that met in the Group F round-robin game last Friday, as the USA will send Toronto Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman out to take on New York Mets pitcher Seth Lugo, who takes the bump for Puerto Rico. Stroman has been rather underwhelming through the tourney with the 25-year old posting a 3.86 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in two starts. Lugo has been slightly better, as the Puerto Rican pitcher has a 2.45 ERA and a 0.64 WHIP in his two starts.

Eric Hosmer has been excellent at the plate, as the Kansas City Royals first baseman is slashing .375/.444/.625 with five RBIs and five runs scored. Youngster Carlos Correa has been the star attraction for a surprisingly deep Puerto Rican team with the Houston Astros shortstop second in the WBC in home runs and RBIs.

2017 World Baseball Classic Finals Odds
TeamMoneylineRunlineTotal
USA-130-1.5 (+125)OVER 7.5 (-115)
Puerto Rico+110+1.5 (-115)UNDER 7.5 (-115)

Archived Article

The best baseball nations in the world will once again come together to battle it out for supremacy in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. This fourth iteration of the event will take place over the course of 16 days from March 6 to 22. Of the 16 teams in the event, 14 will be making their fourth appearance while Colombia and Israel will be making their WBC debut.

Odds are tight near the top, with USA and the Dominican Republic +250 co-favorites to be the last squad standing.

America, which has never finished higher than fourth in the event, is stacked with MLB talent from top to bottom. Infield depth may be Team USA’s biggest strength, as the likes of Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Daniel Murphy will be suiting up for the club. Jim Leyland has some real first-world problems when it comes to deciding the batting order, but it's hard to see how he could go wrong. 

The Dominican Republic is the defending champion thanks to an all-star roster and a winner's mentality. Some nations field teams that are content to just get their reps in during this tournament, but the Dominican players are incredibly motivated to repeat. The lineup will feature sluggers like Manny Machado, Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano. The pitching staff isn't exactly the best in the world, but is still filled with MLB-caliber arms.

One team to keep an eye on is Venezuela (+1000). Two teams from each pool advance to the next round and Venezuela is in a relatively weak pool featuring Mexico, Italy and Puerto Rico. Venezuela should easily make it out of the first round but will have a tough task, as they will be competing against the top teams in Pool C (likely USA and Dominican Republic). However, Venezuela has a chance to win any time they send Felix Hernandez to the mound. 

2017 World Baseball Classic Odds
TeamOdds
USA+250
Dominican Republic+250
Japan+300
Venezuela+1000
Puerto Rico+1200
South Korea+1200
Cuba+1800
Mexico+1800
Netherlands+2800
Canada+5000
Chinese Taipei+10000
Colombia+15000
Italy+15000
Australia+15000
China+15000
Israel+20000

Odds as of February 27 at Bovada

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