World Baseball Classic Odds: USA vs. Japan Finals Preview

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Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
World Baseball Classic

The WBC has reached its conclusion, and it’s one few fans will be surprised to see. Team USA faces off with Samurai Japan on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, with the Americans entering as slight early favorites in World Baseball Classic odds.

We’ll take a look at the World Baseball Classic odds for the final, as well as which pitchers will be available for each side and how the teams have performed thus far.

USA Vs. Japan Odds For World Baseball Classic

The final is a rematch of the last final in an international baseball showcase. In the 2021 Olympics, the home Japanese prevailed 2-0 for gold. However, keep in mind that contest came during MLB season. Therefore, top American pros didn’t participate. Instead, fringe major leaguers and prospects made up the U.S. team.

Japan paused its domestic season and so had most of its top players out there. Still, they do bring a stronger team as well due to the fact that MLB stars like Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish have joined their gold-winning comrades.

Japan had the more impressive group stage performance. Albeit against softer competition, they swept their group with a dominating +30 run differential. The Americans actually failed to earn the top seed in theirs after losing to Mexico. However, Japan had its own sweaty encounter with the Mexicans, squeaking out a 6-5 win on a walk-off hit in the semifinals. Mexico had been up 5-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

The U.S. also had a close shave in the knockout rounds. While they destroyed Cuba in the semis, they needed a clutch Trea Turner grand slam to take a late lead and hold off Venezuela the game prior.

Who Has The Edge?

The Americans undoubtedly bring the more impressive lineup to bear here. Peter Alonso, Tim Anderson and Trea Turner made up the bottom of the order in the 14-run rout of Cuba on Sunday. Mookie Betts, Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt anchor things at the top.

Japan doesn’t have anywhere near that sort of firepower; although, they do have major leaguers Lars Nootbaar and Masataka Yoshida, as well as Ohtani at the top of the order. Munetaka Murakami ranks as the highest prospect on FanGraphs’ international player list, and one writer there called him “easily the best hitter on the planet” not playing in MLB.

Pitching-wise, Lance Lynn, Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright each threw four innings over the weekend and probably won’t be available for the U.S. They’ll start Merrill Kelly, who has been a bit shaky so far. He threw three innings and gave up two runs in the key 3-2 win over Colombia that advanced the team from the group stage. Expect a short outing to give way to a deep corps of relievers.

Japan may have the edge in arms. They did use two of their four best arms on Monday in young stars Roki Sasaki (4 IP) and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (3.1 IP). However, that leaves Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish, who are both expected to chip in out of the pen following 29-year-old lefty Shota Imanaga.

That means the American’s best chances to score will likely come early. Live bet accordingly. An under may be particularly enticing if there’s early scoring off either team’s weaker starting pitching.