The United States came up short in the first two editions of the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009, but with a roster loaded with MLB stars this time around the Americans are pegged as the favorites on the betting lines at Bovada to finally win the event. Can Ryan Braun, Joe Mauer, and company lead the United States to a top finish at the World Baseball Classic this year, with their pool getting underway March 7 in Phoenix, Arizona?
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Americans favored on the WBC title odds
At Bovada the United States is listed as the 9/4 favorite on the odds to win the World Baseball Classic, with first baseman Mark Teixeira, second baseman Brandon Phillips, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, third baseman David Wright, and outfielders Adam Jones and Giancarlo Stanton joining Mauer and Braun in the team's lineup. Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey joins Ryan Vogelsong, Derek Holland, and Gio Gonzalez on the team's starting staff.
The Americans, though, had stars on their roster in the first two editions of the World Baseball Classic as well, and they've never even made it to the championship game. Back in 2006 the United States advanced to the second round but lost out on a berth in the semifinals to South Korea and Japan. In 2009 the United States made it to the semifinals but fell to Japan – and then lost to Venezuela in the third-place game at the tournament.
Dominican Republic, Japan next on odds list
The Dominican Republic then sits at 13/4 on the odds to win the World Baseball Classic at Bovada, followed by Japan at 7/2. The Dominican Republic, whose roster includes Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Hanley Ramirez, and Jose Reyes, was eliminated in the first round at the World Baseball Classic in 2009, and finished in fourth place at the event in 2006. Japan is the two-time defending champion at the event, beating Cuba by a 10-6 score in the title game in 2006 and then getting past South Korea by a score of 5-3 for top spot in 2009.
Venezuela is next at 7/1 odds at Bovada to win the tournament, with South Korea at 10/1, Cuba at 16/1, and both Canada and Mexico at 22/1. Chinese Taipei and Puerto Rico are at 25/1, followed by the Netherlands at 33/1, China at 40/1, Australia at 66/1, and both Brazil and Italy at 100/1. Spain is then the 2013 World Baseball Classic longshot at 200/1 odds.
First-round WBC games starting at four venues
The United States is in Pool D of the World Baseball Classic along with Canada, Mexico, and Italy, with those games getting underway on March 7 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and Chase Field in Phoenix. Pool A of the tournament has Japan, Brazil, Cuba, and China with games played at the Japan Dome in Fukuoka, while Pool B is made up of Australia, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, and the Netherlands and is being played at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taiwan. Pool C, with games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, is made up of Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Spain, and Puerto Rico.
Second-round WBC games will be played at the Tokyo Dome in Japan and Marlins Park in Miami, with the top two teams in each of the four pools advancing to that stage. The championship round will then be hosted by AT&T Park in San Francisco, with the semifinals taking place on March 17 and March 18, and the title game being played on March 19.
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