World Baseball Classic 2023 odds: How to bet Japan vs. Mexico, expert pick

By Edward Egros
FOX Sports MLB Betting Analyst

If you’re still looking forward to betting on the Dominican Republic to win the World Baseball Classic, we hope you haven’t tried to offset the investment in Puerto Rico. This part of the support has been almost as impressive as any time in WBC history.

Sure, Mexico has star power like Randy Arozarena and Julio UrĂ­as, but with Joey Meneses and Rowdy Tellez becoming the stars of the WBC, labeling them the “Team of Destiny” may be appropriate.

However, their toughest test will be on Monday night in Miami in a quarter-final against current favorites Japan. No team has a higher OPS (.996) or lower ERA (1.80).

So how should we bet on it? Odds courtesy of FOX Bet.

Mexico vs. Japan at LoanDepot Park, Miami, Monday at 7 p.m. ET, FS1 and FOX Sports app

Distribution of points: Japan -2 (Japan is favored to win by two or more runs, otherwise Mexico covers)
Moneyline: Japan -227 favorite to win (bet $10 to win $14.41 total); Mexico +175 underdogs to win (bet $10 to win $27.50 total)
Total Over/Under Score: 8 runs scored by both teams combined

Because of MLB’s pitch count and commitments, there may be more factors than usual for managers to consider when choosing starters. For example, we probably saw the last of Shohei Ohtani on the WBC mound. Since he’s slated to be the Los Angeles Angels’ Opening Day starter on March 30, having him pitch in the semis or finals would be too close to this game, so the expectation was always make Ohtani the quarterfinal starter.

Instead, 21-year-old Roki Sasaki will start for the Japan team. To put his previous WBC start into perspective: out of 66 pitches, 21 of them were clocked over 100 mph! When someone so young can throw so hard, stamina may be the last thing to worry about.

Shohei Ohtani and Japan vs. Mexico World Baseball Classic Semifinals Preview

Shohei Ohtani and Japan vs. Mexico World Baseball Classic Semifinals Preview

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry bring you everything you need to know about the Team Japan vs Team Mexico semifinal matchup. Roki Sasaki will be on the mound for Team Japan.

Mexico hasn’t faced these kind of flamethrowers too often at the WBC, except in their first game against Colombia. Guillermo Zuniga was able to hit 102 mph, pitched two strong innings, struck out four and allowed just one hit. It was the only game that Mexico has lost so far in this tournament (5-4).

Mexico’s pitching will start with Patrick Sandoval, an Angels left-hander who builds on a plate that ranked in the top 20 in career value last season (-8), and is also a wizard whose swing at his curveball ranked in the 87th percentile in MLB last season. He’s second in the Angels rotation for a reason, behind Ohtani (this matchup in this game will be sensational).

Even if Sandoval can get through three or four innings unscathed, Japan seems to have an answer for anything. Masataka Yoshida had a couple of hard-hit balls against Italy, Kensuke Kondoh has been finding ways to be productive with hits and extra-base balls, and of course Ohtani has been his usual elite self with a .625 OBP. The mix of MLB talent and young stars in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League has meshed so well that they can afford to be patient until they can pounce on a hapless reliever.

If you want another reason to root for the favorites, Yu Darvish, one of the most globally recognized pitchers on their roster, came out of the bullpen in the quarterfinals. Japan wanted to make sure there was no way Italy could mount a serious comeback. You know the pitching staff is deep when one of the most dangerous pitchers in the MLB this season was the setup man. As expected, Darvish was effective, allowing one earned run in two innings of work.

Mexico has been a fantastic story, going as far as they’ve ever had this WBC. However, my top pick to win this tournament has given me no reason to avoid them now, especially if the payout is favorable. Traveling all over the world doesn’t bother me. Facing a “Team of Destiny” doesn’t faze me either.

I’m betting Japan on the money line.

COLLECT: Japan (-213 money at FOX Bet at time of selection, bet $10 to win $14.69 total) to win outright

Edward Egros is a sports analytics broadcaster/writer, sports betting analyst, data scientist, and assistant professor of statistics at Pepperdine University. These passions have led him to become an aficionado of cold beer. Edward previously worked in local television, most notably at the Fox affiliate in Dallas, covering the Rangers, Cowboys and high school football. follow him Ttweet @EdWith Sports.

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