World Baseball Classic strategy and impressions so far

My strategy in wagering these games is first to recognize that 3 teams are vastly better than everyone else. They are Japan, the USA, and the Dominican Republic. When it comes to lines, they will be very large favorites until they play each other. Korea, a solid team, is expected to move on from their pool and were -500 opening favorites against Australia. At close, Korea was -660! Japan played their 1st game against Chinese Taipei and was such a large favorite there wasn’t even a line for the side! Interestingly, Australia beat Korea as one of the largest-ever upsets for the WBC. This brings into play the question of just how good are the teams that are not named Japan, USA, or DR.?

The Netherlands already won as a +180 underdog against Cuba, then Italy did the same thing as +125 dogs against Cuba. The bookmakers are going to have a difficult time setting these odds. Remember the format, starting pitching only goes 65 pitches, then has to sit for 4 games this round, expanding to 80 pitches in the next round. It means that relief pitching is critical. Yes, the best teams have that covered, but no one else does. Japan drew 15 walks! I expect the underdog will have value in most games because this tournament round is about the offense.

These teams are not great defenders, so we will see some interesting play on the field. We have already seen the command issues pitchers. There have already been 58 walks issues in 6 games! The opportunities to score will be there. There have been 60 runs scored, with 50 runs scored in 4 of the games! Low-scoring games should not be the norm. The pitchers, as we have been discussing, are not elite, so we should see balls in play. Pitchers putting batters on base combined with balls in play should mean runs. So far, Team Netherlands has played very good defense, as their infield comprises MLB players. They have played the two games where the runs have been lower, which could be one reason why.

In terms of strategy, look at totals and think about the over first. When the best teams play the weakest ones, the scores should resemble a beer league softball game, like 11-1. The weaker teams will not score much. Panama came into this year’s event, having not scored a single run in their last 30 innings! The good teams will put up numbers. It was interesting to see the total in the Japan/Chinese Taipei game at 12.5. The game stayed under but easily could have gone over if Japan capitalized more on those 15 walks! The WBC DOES have mercy rules too. It means if one team is far enough ahead, they will call the game.

Second, look to the underdogs. The WBC brings out the “playing for their country” component, and often the underdog will fight hard! This does not apply where the underdog has no talent to compete, but this should only happen versus the elite teams. Thus, compare how good the starting pitcher is for the underdog with the idea that if he can keep them in the game, they have a chance. Only the elite teams have the best bullpens, so if the starter can keep the game close, the underdog can win in the end!

I am currently 1-1 on WBC wagers. I lost a total Over in the Netherlands/Cuba game, then won with underdog Italy vs. Cuba. I am only a little ahead right now. More to come. If you would like to follow my wagers to wager yourself, you can sign up for my service for only $49.99.

World Baseball Classic 1st game tomorrow!

This tournament starts tomorrow (March 7th)! Team Cuba plays Team Netherlands at 11 pm est on FS1! It will be the start of doubleheaders in meaningful games for the next two weeks! They start overseas in Taiwan and Tokoyo, then in the US starting March 11th. These will be lined games, and I already have a futures ticket for the championship winner.

I expect to be regularly wagering on these games. This could be the event of the year for 2023. I am going to attend the semi-final game in Miami. I am all in! Let’s go! Get access to my actual wagers for this event, plus the entire month of April for MLB games and props, for only $49.99!


I have released a couple of wagers so far. I have placed a WBC and MLB season wins bets. My service has taken on several new clients over the past few days. MLB is a few weeks away, and WBC is approaching. Now is a great time to get involved and follow my wagers.

I am including all of my WBC wagers in the first month of MLB! This means you can see all my wagers through April for only $49.99! You will be put into a Telegram network where you get additional advice, exclusive data, and Webbie Odds! Just use the link to get set up here: You can email me at with any questions!

You can go month to month. A season-long package is available too.

Wagering and Timing

With spring training games being played, MLB futures available, and WBC approaching, this is a good time to think through wagering and, specifically, when to place your bets. An MLB future wager will not payout for months. We are in March, and the season ends in October or early November, 8-9 months away. We can look at this as money in the bank. However, we can also make a wager today; then next week, learn that two of the teams’ best pitchers have had injuries that will cause them to miss the entire season. We would not have made it if we had known this before our wager. The timing of wagering is sometimes lucky or unlucky, but we as bettors need to examine the best time for the eager.

Any wagers made on MLB team wins must be made before the season begins. We have from today until March 30th. We can make wagers on which team will win the division or the world series and which players will win the Cy Young or be the homerun champion during the season, as this is a fluid market. So now is the time to be looking at season wins.

They have been out for a few weeks now. We must understand that a wager made today is binding even if there is bad news around the corner. The cause for concern is that our odds or win number may change, causing us to get a worse price. First, NEVER bad a number! That is a golden rule of winning bettors. You do not always have to get the best number, but do not bet on the worst number! If you are presented with that scenario, hard pass! This can be said for future bets like we are discussing, but it applies to any wager you make. So we must avoid betting the worst number, which will be our first eliminator for our list of wagers we like. That will look like this. Our team is 82 wins -110 to open and now is 83.5 wins -110. Hypothetically, you have a list of 10 wagers to bet. After looking at how the numbers have changed, we can cross off 3 of them, so now we have 7 wagers we like. Of these 7 possible wagers, we need to know if the win totals have stayed the same, yet the odds have changed. It would be like this. Our team has 82 wins with Over -135, and it was 82 -110. The market likes the over, and the book moved the odds. We are now getting the same number but worse odds. We are not getting a worse number, yet our payout is worse. This is slightly different from the previous look, but it will still be a lower outcome if we win this wager. We either need to move before the number of wins changes, or we need to ride this out and either pass or take the smaller return. A winning wager is most important. The number of wins is more valuable than the odds (most of the time). There are unique situations where the odds reflect numbers move; the bettor does not realize it. This a topic for another discussion. So we choose to back burner this one and analyze the 6 others. Of these six, think hard about how they could lose! What would have to happen for our wager to fail? If you come up with some ideas pretty quickly for one or two of them, maybe these wagers should also be moved off the list. The idea is simple, we want strong wagers that can withstand 8-9 months of scrutiny, and we need to put forth strong tests to feel convicted that our wager can survive. Let’s say get it to 5 wagers we like. Now we need to shop the numbers and see if there is a likelihood that the markets will change before the start of the season. We don’t have to bet until WE HAVE TO BET. It means that as time moves forward, we get more information.

More information allows for better wagers. Wait until you have to bet. That goes for any bet! Too many people want that CLV (Closing Line Value) buzzword. CLV is not a winning bet which is what we strive for, but optimally CLV is a good gauge for winning bets. The better our numbers, the more likely we win bets. But don’t get consumed with CLV. It is not the goal, just a tool to help pave the path. My list of season wins is currently at 8 or 9. I will likely only bet 5 or 6 of these as I have yet to make a season wins wager.

When it comes to our daily routine, MLB offers overnight lines. We can bet on this market if we create lines to compare and find a value between them. On a Tuesday at around 7 pm, the books will set the lines for the games on Wednesday; thus, they are called overnight lines. These odds will not be as sharp as the odds the next day. There will have been market adjustments based on wagering into them, thus making them sharper in the morning and the next day. It could be a good idea to wager the best odds early because there is a chance you won’t be able to wager a game you like at all. After all, the odds may have moved too far away from the opening ones. It also does not mean to make only these wagers, though. Again, for clarity, the more information you can acquire, the better your ability to evaluate your wagers. Waiting on information is not taught, but should be. It is more important than many other aspects. What if you get the news that Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Shohei Otani are not in the lineup for the Angels as the manager planned a rest day for them, yet you bet that overnight? Makes you sick to your stomach. Another such concern is the starting pitcher. Maybe he woke up with a stiff neck and will not pitch today (being pushed back until tomorrow), so get some callup guy to pitch in this spot. I like to wait but am not opposed to those who don’t. If you know what you are betting and why you are betting, based on complete information, you will make better wagers than those who just fire based on numbers!

I think there is valuable information here. Season-long wagers need to be strongly tested to survive the length of time; CLV is only a tool, and winning wagers is the goal; get complete information before making your wager; NEVER bet bad numbers! If you follow this advice, you will win more bets!

First full day of Spring games complete

Yesterday, the 2023 Spring Training season began for Major League Baseball. Optimism, excitement, and baseball are happening in all the camps. As with many players getting their chances, the runs scored in the games ranged from 5 to 17! There was the excitement of seeing the new rules in action. We saw prospects like NYM Brett Baty, and NYY Jasson Dominguez hit HRs! Twins pitcher Jhoan Duran already eclipse the 100mph mark! Yes, sir, indeed, baseball is back!

The Oakland A’s, Colorado Rockies, and Washington Nationals all won games! These are expected to be the teams that will lose the most games this season. With that, I must remind bettors that there are plenty of opportunities to wager on baseball games and the surrounding props. Do not get carried away with these “games.” There may be very few situations where there is great enough value to wager until the season starts. It MUST be a very special spot.

The “games” are nothing more than organized practices! It is important to realize how managers and players view them. It is good to win anything, but they don’t count toward anything! It is a much better practice to see the improvements players have made if there were any declines, how they have returned from injury, or if a player is still injured, and how the manager might utilize lineups. A key metric to track is pitcher velocity compared to last season. Is it more or less, and by how much? The easiest way for us to tell if the pitcher should be expected to improve, maintain, or decline in performance is to monitor his velocity variance. Here is a small little reminder of velocity effects on batting averages.

As you can see, the more velocity, the less the batting average. This means that we want to see pitchers that have a reduction in velocity, especially those speeds where batters succeed (94-92 or below). When we see this, we MUST make note of it. The importance early on is vital. We can get a jump on the sportsbook lines if we identify properly a pitcher who is less effective than once was. The sportsbook line will catch up, so we want to capitalize before they can.

Baseball today also sees pitchers improve their velocity and movement of pitches. They go to specific off-season academies or training centers to better know spin rates and “action: on the ball. It wasn’t too long ago that this was never happening, so now we should also be able to capitalize on the pitchers who should have improved from one season to the next.

I will have listings for these pitchers. I charted every starting pitcher last season. The list and information on using it will be for the premium services clients.

It will an interesting season to look at the hitters. I have noticed an unusual amount of them following the lead of the pitchers, going to these off-season training camps. DriveLine Academy has hosted many hitters this season, for example. This is an area that I will now follow but haven’t done so much in the past. The specific reason is that a hitter can only impact the game as one of nine hitters, whereas the pitcher has the ball for every pitch of the game; thus, his impact is much greater on the outcome.

The elimination of the shift should also benefit hitters, so seeing just how much of an impact that has might be another area to develop. It might have two outcomes. First, a better-developed hitter, and second, more runs scored. This is a common assumption, so I expect the sportsbook to heighten its totals to capitalize on that market. We might want to study more of the opposite effect to see if we can win on the under the total side of games. Sports wagering is a better opportunity for those who do not follow the masses.

On with Jeff Dawson ECSI

This show has rule changes, bullpens, star players, Angels talk, Twins talk, value bet for a divisional winner, and more! It was a great show!

Follow me on Twitter to catch more of these shows! Twitter @Webbie20MLB Jeff is @ECSprtsinvest

2023 MLB Crystal Ball

Several things stand out in trying to get a good look at the 2023 MLB crystal ball. The disparity between teams, especially at the top and the bottom, is a vast gap. Here is a list of the teams that made the playoffs in 2022. In the AL, these teams made it; HOU, NYY, CLE, TOR, SEA, and TB. These teams made it LAD, ATL, STL, NYM, PHI, and SD in the NL. The projection models don’t provide much hope of the standings allowing new blood. I might make a case for a couple of teams, but by and large, there will not be much variance. This does not mean we won’t have an exciting season; it just means wagering futures, such as division winners, becomes a wager requiring deep thought to find value.

I broke the teams into 8 tiers regarding their offense. There are 3 elite teams (HOU, TOR, and SD), with 5 well above average teams. There are 4 teams above average and 6 teams at average. There are only 2 teams just below average and 5 teams below average. There are 4 more teams well below average and 1 team that is just awful. Here is the chart. The separate colors are the tiers. The total represents how good the players are for the team, creating an offensive value. The 3>9.9 column is the number of players a team has with offensive values in double digits. The 100 Scale column represents how much better than average or worse than average a team is, and it is shown as a percentage for some teams.

We have those stand-out 3 teams at the top! They are at least twice as good as the average offense! Including the next-tier teams, 8 teams are 73% better than an average team! and 12 teams are worse than average! There is NO WAY the bottom-tier teams can compete for playoff spots with others; thus, we have this vast gap. We can eliminate CIN, WAS, COL, OAK, DET, PIT, KC, CHIC, ARI, and MIA. We can not exclude MIL or TEX only because they will appear elsewhere in better light later. Of the teams in the blueish colors, only two were not included in the playoffs for 2022 (LAA and MIN). These should be a good starting point for value leading into 2023. CLE was the worst team getting into the playoffs, but they were also in the easiest division. The offense is not everything but a good differentiator because many teams can pitch.

Regarding starting pitching, we will see similar teams near the top. However, TEX and their off-season additions have put themselves there. Once we see how teams start games with pitching and how plentiful their offense is, we can get a feel for how good they are. Some teams will score more easily than others; thus, if those who struggle to score do not have elite pitching, they are behind the others. In the case of NYY, it works exactly the opposite of that. NYY is in the above-average offense category but is #1 in starting pitching. It means their offense does not have to work quite as hard, yet they will still win games. NYY solidified its pitching with the Rodon signing. TEX finds themselves here as well. The additions of DeGrom, Eovaldi, and Heaney have propelled them to #2! Anyway, here is that list.

We can see that 7 of the top 10 are playoff teams from 2022. TEX, MIL, and LAA are now in the top 10 that did not make the playoffs a season ago. This will again lead to the right paths for values. We should be looking at those 3 teams. It is no coincidence that LAA is now showing up on offense and pitching. The addition of Tyler Anderson, a return to health for Carlos Rendon, a new addition of Hunter Renfroe, plus further development for Taylor Ward has this team ready to make a run.

The bullpen is an area that seems to go unnoticed until the playoffs start. Once that happens, whenever the bullpen gate opens, a reliever enters the game and throws a triple-digit fastball that no one can hit! These are where wins stay wins or wins become losses. It is important to have a deep bullpen and a strong backend. Here is the list of bullpens for 2023. These are ranked by FIP, accentuating the value of limited contact.

Before looking too deeply, we see LAA near the bottom; this concerns how far we expect them to rise. Again, the top teams are familiar with ATL, NYM leading the NL, and SEA, CLE leading the AL. I want to show a couple of these pens so you see what a hitter must face.


It is amazing to me! It is just impossible for batters to win these matchups regularly. The pitching is too dominant!

So after reviewing these situations, I have a short list of teams that could surprise me in the standings for 2023. Leading the list is Los Angeles Angels. They appear in the top 2 tiers of offense and the top 10 of starting pitching. I don’t believe they will win the AL West over HOU. However, they can compete with SEA for a possible Wild Card spot. MIN is on the list. They need to beat the most average of all the division winners in CLE. MIN appears on the above-average offense list and in the middle of the pack in starting pitching. They are in the top 10 regarding the bullpen. Here is that starting rotation.

The acquisition of Pablo Lopez and the return of a healthy Kenta Maeda are promising. Tyler Mahle spent his offseason at DriveLine pitching school! joe Ryan and Sonny Gray are no slouches! I expect a better return for MIN out of this starting staff. They signed Carlos Correa, and have a healthy Byron Buxton! I think this is a team who can win the division. They are +280 to do that. TEX will need a lot to go their way, yet they are much improved in the starting pitching area. They are below average offensively and in their bullpen. I do not believe this team is moving past SEA or LAA, let alone catching HOU at the top. MIL in the NL is possible because their starting staff is so good. However, they are well below offensively and have lost their keen edge in the bullpen. STL is no slouch as the division winner, either. I have made a case for four teams. I truly believe that only MIN is wager worthy!

Should I hire a Wagering Professional Service?

Let’s start with this, a professional sports bettor earns a living from winning wagers anywhere from 55% or above. For many new to this business, that statistic seems small. Most bettors think that professionals win every game to earn their living. That is far from the truth, yet have you tried to win 55% or more against the spread? Making a living also entails something most bettors cannot master: the art of bankroll management. This article is not about bankroll management, but we need to discuss it. The opinions of professionals are not exclusive to winning wagers, but how to manage the money while wagering is almost exclusively a professional realm. It is common to see a novice bettor go on a winning streak making severe advances. However, it is more common to see that same novice out of money only several weeks later. Why does this happen?
Most bettors need to learn more about whether they are making good wagers or their odds of winning their bets. I am not speaking of the sportsbook’s odds but of the bet odds if it is made. Let’s use the Super Bowl. Circa sportsbook opened the line at KC -2.5. All the money quickly came in a made the line PHI -2.5, finally settling around PHI -1.5. A professional will respect the opening number. Once they see the line move, they will act quickly to take advantage of the best number of KC+2.5. Once the number falls back to PHI -1 or KC +1, they will pass on that wager. Instead, they will find alternative solutions like KC on the money line for plus money. That is just the tip of this, however. If you bet on PHI -2.5, how bad of a wager was that? Do you know your odds of winning that bet? Because you know the odds are -110 (laying $110 to win $100), what if your odds of winning the -2.5 wager were only 45%? Would you still lay points knowing you would only win this wager 45% of the time and have 52% odds? This is what a professional can tell you!

            This industry is so convoluted with “professionals” that most novices do not know whom to follow. The mainstream media provides flat-out unusable content. Most people use social media to find their ideas and suggestions, yet virtually all those people are just trying to use sign-up money to make a living. This is a buyer-beware business, but it doesn’t have to be!

            Look, professionals are not on social media throwing their picks; it is not in their best interest. They are competing with you to get the best numbers. Sure, they might be selling services for which you gain access to their picks. But they don’t give out anything. Their time is valuable, and they charge you for it, and so does every other business. There are two types of legitimate betting services. Type one is to follow a professional, allowing access to wagers they make for a fee. Type two is where professionals, possibly more than one, provide insight, data, and wagering ideas for you to decide how to make your wager. Virtually everything else is nothing more than a scam. Remember, if anything is FREE, reconcile how much value to attach.  No professional consultant values their time so little less enough to give anyone anything for FREE.

            Why pay anyone at all? Most bettors need to be able to win more to make money. Most bettors make mistakes that professionals do not. Most bettors need to wager more on their unit size to afford a service. Most bettors make exotic wagers expecting huge returns. Most bettors have an illusion of what sports betting is. Also, using a non-legitimate service can be another pitfall. There are many pitfalls for these bettors.
First and foremost, you will not have to deal with the pitfalls that make this endeavor tedious and a losing proposition. It would be best if you gained revenue based on your winning bets. You should also learn from a professional and understand the business better. You will save the hours of preparation time required. Sports wagering is a grind that requires hours and sacrifices. You will be able to make money. You will be able to learn the business. If you can afford a professional service fee, it is in the best interest of your wagering career that you invest. In the long term, you will come out ahead. Avoiding mistakes and allowing someone else to find good wagers is imperative to success. The most significant difference between a novice and a professional is that a professional only makes good wagers. They don’t always win, but they will be successful over time by making only good wagers.

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My Super Bowl Breakdown and Wagering Selections

The Circa Sportsbook opened this game at KC -2.5 and quickly saw the line move to PHI -2.5. It has settled at PHI -1.5 or -1. The total opened at 48.5 or 49 in most places and now is 51. By listening to pundits and anyone else who will gladly give you their opinion on this game, many common themes are being told. PHI has a great defense. PHI has a record number of sacks. PHI scores quickly as they are the highest-scoring team in the first half of the NFL. PHI has a great secondary. PHI has excellent receivers. PHI can run the ball. PHI has Nick Siriani, the Coach of the Year. The theme could include other things too. I have heard about how great they are on converting 4th downs; Jalen Hurts is 16-1 as a starter, Hurts has scored more TDs than any other QB, etc. There is heavy optimism for PHI. VSiN betting splits show that 67% of the money comes from PHI.

I don’t care who wins. But I do watch how my wagers turn out. I say that
because I do not have an agenda to rail for one side or the other. Instead, I
need to find out how to make money. So, with that said, here is my breakdown.

While many of the themes above are factual statements, they are just game
elements. From the very beginning, there is a reason Circa Sportsbook opened
the number with KC as the favorite. My friend and colleague, Jeff Dawson,
always says, “respect the opening number.” Most bettors are past that
point, as we are almost two weeks past that date, and other trends or stats are
filling their minds. If Circa believed KC was the favorite, were they wrong to
believe that? I say no.

At this point, everyone knows about the soft schedule PHI played. If you
don’t, you should. It was the NFL’s most manageable schedule. It is more
important to consider that PHI played only 2 QBS in the top ten rankings for
QBR (DET J. Goff and NYG D. Jones). Here is the list. In the games where they
played a top-10 QB, they allowed an average of 21.3 points. If you move that to
inside the top 15 (Prescott gets included), the average points allowed are 26.
Also, the key to note, KC QB Patrick Mahomes is ranked #1 at QBR!

There needs to be a more critical call against PHI for how they have played, especially Jalen Hurts, since his return in week 18. In the two games he missed, week 16 and week 17, the defense allowed 40 points to DAL and 20 points to NO. Their defense allowed points to talented QBs during the season and is not one of the best. However, I expect them to be solid. But the offense has been concerning regarding the passing game. Since his return, Jalen Hurts has attempted 17 passes of more than ten yards in his three games. He has only completed 5 of them. That is a 29.4% completion rate. He did throw a TD over 10 yards, either. Below are his charts for those games. KC Patrick Mahomes has attempted 19 passes of more than 10 yards, completing 12 (63.2%) with 2 TDs.

The vaunted PHI OL is statistically different from what most people think,
especially when pass-blocking. The PHI OL ranked only 12th in pass block win
rate. This is interesting because all we hear about is how dominant PHI’s OL
and DL are, yet KC is 2nd in sacks with 55 and 3rd in adjusted sack rate. It
may turn out that KC will pressure Hurts as much or more than PHI. PHI is the
best defense with 70 sacks and #1 in adjusted sack rate, but they will line up
against the KC OL, which is #1 in pass block rate and only allowed 26 sacks on
the season, ranking 3rd best.

Football Outsiders wDVOA (weighted DVOA, which credits later played games
more than earlier ones) has KC 34.4% #2 and PHI 28.9% #5. This leads to the
question of Circa. Did they get it wrong? Not according to wDVOA. So my game
theory would be that PHI runs the ball as much as possible. It is a strength,
and try to play from the lead. I have serious doubts if they trail in this game,
which leads to the game script. I will say it this way. I am comfortable with
Mahomes and Reid playing from any game script (behind or ahead), but I am only satisfied
with Hurts and Siriani if they play in front. In 2021, Hurts had a script where
he played from ahead in 46.7% (based on 274 of 587 dropbacks when PHI had a
>40% win probability). In 2022, he had 95.1% (598 of 629). It means they
were always ahead. They capitalized on whom they played for sure. Since PHI was
not behind often, Hurts can be charted for in the 2nd of games in 2022, where
he was in an unfavorable game script (losing, WP <50%). His results are alarming.
He had a -01.83 EPA/play and a 40.8% success rate. In comparison, his results
are +0.125 EPA/Play and 48.6% success rate when in favorable game script. This
leads to believing Mahomes can come back if necessary and Hurts cannot.

I also know that KC needs to get more credit for their defense. Sure, it is
not full of Pro Bowlers like PHI, but wDVOA ranks it 12th, just
outside the top ten. I did mention their ability to rush the passer. It is
2nd/3rd best in the league, depending on which metric. However, their pass
defense has improved dramatically, and their rush defense ranks 15th. KC has
always been known as a team needing to outscore what their defense allows. This
KC defense is not exceptional, but it is better than those from the past. The
chart shows KC’s defense from weeks 1-7, then from weeks 9-21. It went from
ranking 27th vs. the pass to 9th! This also coincides with the return of rookie
CB Trent McDuffie. As much as they are improved, they can still be run on.

Lastly, KC played in a lopsided Super Bowl the last time they were here.
They had a banged-up OL, and TB had Mahomes running for his life. Reid and Mahomes
will want to take that taste out of their mouth. Reid is known for his extra
prep time success 28-4, including last week vs. JAX. He is admired for his game
plans, opponent preparation, and play calling. Siriani is more known for his analytical
prowess and listening to the progressive side for when to “go for it or
not.” This suggests that what Reid is good at outweighs what Siriani is good

I bet KC +1.5, KC ML.

This will also be an Under game. I suggest waiting as long as possible to
make the wager, however. It is 51 now and may trickle up as more money comes
in. Under 51.5 or better is the target. I will be wagering that I have not yet.

In terms of prop bets:

Mahomes MVP +120

Total TDs in 1st half Over 1.5 +125

WBC Rosters are Out, now what?

It is important to understand who the teams will play as they progress in the tournament. For example, we must know that the two betting favorites can not make the finals together. The chart above shows the four-team pools, the dates they play, and where the games will be played. It also shows how the pool winners advance and which pool they are paired to. From the example, the betting favorites are the Dominican Republic and the USA from pools D and C. However, those pool winners advance to the quarterfinals, where they will play each other. So only one of them can advance to the championship eliminating the other. Let’s look at the odds as of today, 02/10.

These odds are from Draft Kings. We see that the Dominican Republic is +200 and the USA is +225 as the favorites. As we explained above, only one could advance to the championship. If we are to bet on one of them, we must dig deep into the teams to differentiate which one has more value because it would not be in our best interest to wager on both. Looking at the other side of the bracket (pools A and B), we see that Japan is +280 (3rd best price), the Korea Republic is +1400, and Cuba is +1400. The odds tell us that the Dominican Republic will play Japan in the championship. However, the USA could mess that up!

I think Japan will win that side of the bracket, as their team is better than anyone they compete against. Below is their roster. It is headlined by MLB superstars Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish, with 2023 new Japanese players to MLB Masataka Yoshida (BOS) and Kodai Senga (NYM). This roster includes former MLB M Tanaka and Y Kikuchi (TOR).

If we bookmakers make odds of making the championship round, this is the best bet. Still, Japan is also a formidable opponent to the Dominican Republic or the USA, making them the best value at +280 (opened at +300). It is often said that it is not wise to wager on the favorites. The reasoning usually is based on the short return provided by the shortest prices. However, when we have teams better than the rest, winning the wager is the value, so we must get the best price when we can. Think about the University of Georgia being the NCAAF favorite and winning the championship. No matter what anyone tries to tell you, a winning wager is better than a losing one! Large returns can be had on other wagers, as I don’t think it is best to play on teams other than the Dominican Republic, the USA, or Japan.

The next question is which team should we like from the bracket side with USA and Dominican Republic? I will list their rosters as above with Japan and show my charts comparing the teams base on Steamer projections for 2023.

These are loaded with the best players in the game. Now let’s look at a breakdown to see which team is better.

Looking at the charts directly above, the position players show the USA with an OFF WAR avg of 19.4 and a wRC+ avg of 125.3, which are slightly better than the Dominican Republic. If we remove Robinson Cano metrics from DR results, we get DR 17.8 OFF-WAR and 124.6 wRC+, which makes them still behind, but not by any measure of an edge. Team USA has 5 players at 30+ OFF WAR but no one over 34.9. The DR has only three over 30+ OFF WAR but has two over 40+. They have Juan Soto (55.5) and Vladimir Guerrero (42.8) MVP-caliber ratings. This tells me team USA offensively could be deeper, but the DR could be more explosive. They are the best two offensive teams in the tournament. I was surprised by the pitching. I fully expected the USA to fall way short. However, the starters have a slightly better FIP and WAR average. They have more starters too. Team DR has the NL Cy Young winner from 2022 in Sandy Alcantara and the only starter to average 10+ in K/9 with Cristian Javier. As listed, Clayton Kershaw would be the best USA starting pitcher, and I would have him listed as a favorite over either Alcantara or Javier. The bullpen is again where I thought team USA would be worse, but they don’t show that way. They have a better K/9 and FIP than DR. However, there is a big issue here. When those bullpen doors open, the relievers for the USA do not have the octane (gas) that DR has. These games are like World Series atmospheres. The bullpen needs to shut down games, which means velocity! The DR has four guys who can come in, throwing over 97, and team USA have zero!

At this point (a month before the games), I think the Dominican Republic is the best team and a better wager than the USA. Plus, I see a value wager to make for team Japan. As the spring unfolds, injuries, issues, chemistry, and players that fall out or are added in will adjust the odds. I will wait until the pitchers throw and have limited or non-issues with their arms before making any wagers.