Six years ago the United States won the 2017 World Baseball Classic, defeating Puerto Rico 8-0 in the final game to claim victory in San Diego. The Classic has fired up again for 2023, with the USA again looking to make its way to the championship game, which will be held on home soil in Miami on March 21.
The tournament was originally scheduled to happen in 2021, but COVID put a stop to that, hence the six-year gap between tournaments. The good news? This time there is New York sports betting action available.
The United States brings a formidable lineup to the Classic with a particularly strong outfield headlined by Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Kyle Schwarber. Its infield group is also excellent, with Paul Goldschmidt and Pete Alonso leading the way.
Perhaps the only hitter not participating that could knock someone out of the starting lineup for the Americans is Yankees slugger Aaron Judge. He opted to sit out the Classic, which surely makes Yankees ownership happy after the large investment placed in him this offseason. The pitching group may not quite be as strong, but with Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright it has veteran leadership and experience to keep it level throughout the tournament.
The teams from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico look stacked as usual, as well as the usual strong squads that will come from Japan and South Korea. The Dominican Republic enters the tournament as slight favorites over the USA at odds of +210 on DraftKings NY.
The USA is available to bet at +225, and Japan is currently +300 to win. Before facing those contenders, the USA will have to compete in their five-team pool featuring Mexico, Canada, Columbia and Great Britain. The Americans are a heavy -330 favorite to emerge from that group victorious.
With the Americans the defending champions at the event, EmpireStakes.com looked at the WAR (wins above replacement) of the 2017 championship team and compared it to that of the 2023 roster to look at the difference between the teams' talent.
2023 USA Team vs. 2017 USA Team
Heavy Hitters Should Be The Difference
The 2023 squad has a slightly weaker pitching staff than the 2017 team with 36.0 WAR compared to 39.1. However, that total is more than made up for in the rest of the lineup, as the 2023 team's total WAR adds up to 99.9, slightly ahead of the 95.7 mark from 2017. Keep that in mind when perusing NY betting apps ahead of the Classic.
One main reason for this? The presence of mega-star Mike Trout on this year's roster, who sat out the 2017 Classic but will be participating this year after regretting his decision last time around. With Trout in the mix, it was harder for fellow American stars to turn down the opportunity so players such as Betts and Alonso followed in his footsteps.
The lineup is exceptionally deep and will have the advantage over every single team they play, especially during pool play. Yes, it becomes single game elimination after that and anything can happen in a win or go home scenario, but the Americans should enter each game they play as the favorite.
2017 was the first World Baseball Classic win for the USA after Japan won the first two, and the Dominican Republic went undefeated and won the third in 2013.
Those teams will once again be tough tests for this American squad, but with a stronger team than the one that won six years ago, anything other than the top spot will be seen as a disappointment.
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