The World Baseball Classic Championship will be held on Tuesday, March 21. Team USA will face Team Japan at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. ET with the game airing on FS1. The U.S. will serve as the away team and will send Arizona Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly to the mound. Team Japan will start southpaw Shota Imanaga.
2023 World Baseball Classic odds: Championship
Team USA advanced to the championship with a dominant 14-2 victory over Cuba in the semifinals. The lineup came alive as Trea Turner and Paul Goldschmidt continue to destroy baseballs. After a rocky start to the game, the US’s bullpen shut the door on Mexico and cruised to the championship. Kelly last pitched against Colombia in Team USA’s final Pool round game. He pitched three innings and gave up four hits with two earned runs while striking out one.
Japan played in a classic against Mexico in their semifinal matchup. The game came down to the wire, and Japan was down a run heading into the bottom of the ninth. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Shohei Ohtani led off the inning with a double. Boston Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida walked, bringing to the plate NPB slugger Munetaka Murakami. He lined a ball off the outfield wall, plating two runs and earning the walk-off win. Imanaga has pitched twice in the WBC, but both have been relief appearances. He last pitched in the quarterfinal against Italy, striking out two batters in his lone inning.
Run Line: USA -1.5
Moneyline: USA -125, Japan +105
Team USA has the best odds of winning the championship at DraftKings Sportsbook. They have -125 moneyline odds, while Team Japan is the narrow +105 underdog. The run total for the game is set at 10, which is low with how these teams have been swinging the bat. Japan entered the WBC as the team with the best odds to win the championship, but the pendulum has swung the other way with how dominantly the US handled Cuba.
Team Japan Total Runs: Over 4.5 (-125)
Team USA Total Runs: Over 5.5 (+100)
Japan has scored at least six runs in each WBC game they have played. They put up six runs to win against Mexico but have the power in the lineup to put up double digits. Team USA’s pitching hasn’t been consistent, so this should be a high-scoring game for both sides.
The United States has scored at least nine runs in back-to-back games. They are coming off a 14-run outing against Cuba. Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner is on fire in this tournament and knocked two more home runs in the semifinal victory. In total, Team USA hit four home runs in the semifinals and capitalized when opposing pitchers made mistakes.
Total 1st 5 Innings: Over 5.5 (+100)
This should be a great baseball matchup. Imanaga has been tough to hit this tournament and is scheduled to be followed by San Diego Padres starter Yu Darvish and then Ohtani. They will have to be at their best with how red-hot the U.S. lineup has been. Team USA scored at least one run in each of the first six innings and led 9-2 after five innings.
Japan didn’t have the same success early against Mexico, but don’t let that deter you from taking this bet. Kelly gave up two runs in just three innings in his last start. If he isn’t his best out of the gate, Team Japan’s top-heavy batting order could feast early. Either way, we should plenty of runs early, meaning the over on this bet should hit.