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 tired of betting on the Dominican Republic to win the World Baseball Classic, hopefully you haven’t tried to make it up to investing in Puerto Rico. That part of the bracket was almost as shocking as any other time in WBC history.

Sure, Mexico has star power like Randy Arozarena and Julio Urías, but if Joey Meneses and Rowdy Tellez become the stars of the WBC, it might be appropriate to call them the “Team of Destiny.”

However, their toughest test will come in Monday night’s quarterfinals against current favorites Japan in Miami. No team has a higher OPS (0.996) or lower ERA (1.80).

So how should we bet? Odds are provided courtesy of FOX Bet.

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

Point distribution: No line available
money line: Japan -213 favorite to win (bet $10 to win $14.69 total); Mexico +160 Win underdogs (bet $10 to win $26 total)
Total score over/under: No line available

Due to pitch counts and MLB commitments, managers may have to consider more factors than usual when selecting starters. For example, we probably saw Shohei Ohtani’s last on the hill in the WBC. Since he’s slated to be a starter for Los Angeles Angels Opening Day on March 30, picking him in the semifinals or finals would be too close to that game. Therefore, the expectation was always to make Ohtani the starter in the quarterfinals.

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Instead, 21-year-old Roki Sasaki will start for Team Japan. To put his previous WBC start in perspective, out of 66 pitches, 21 were clocked at over 100 mph! When someone so young can throw so hard, maybe stamina is the last thing to worry about.

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

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

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

Mexico haven’t faced this type of flamethrower too often in the WBC, except in the opening game against Colombia. Guillermo Zuniga was able to hit 102 mph, run two strong innings, batted four and conceded just one hit. It was the only game Mexico has lost in this tournament so far (5-4).

Mexico’s pitching starts with Patrick Sandoval, an Angels left-hander who relies on a sinker who ranked in the top 20 by run stat last season (-8), and he’s also a magician whose spin on his curveball was last seen in the MLB’s 87th percentile ended the season. He’s second in the Angels rotation behind Ohtani for a reason (this duel in this game is going to be sensational).

Even if Sandoval can get through three or four innings unscathed, Japan seems to have an answer for everything. Masataka Yoshida had some hard-hit balls against Italy, Kensuke Kondoh found ways to be productive with extra base hits and walks, and of course Ohtani was his usual elite self with a .625 OBP. The mix of MLB talent and young stars from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League have blended so well that they can afford to be patient until they can pounce on an unlucky helper.

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If you’re looking for another reason to support the favorites, Yu Darvish, one of the world’s most renowned pitchers on her team, came out of the bullpen in the quarterfinals. Japan wanted to make sure there was no way Italy could stage a serious comeback. You know a pitching staff is deep when one of the most dangerous hurlers in MLB this season has been the setup man. As might be expected, Darvish was effective, allowing for a deserved run in two innings of work.

Mexico has been a fantastic story and has progressed as far as this WBC has ever been. However, my top tier picks to win this tournament have given me no reason to shy away from them now, especially when the payout is cheap. I don’t mind world travel. The encounter with a “Team of Destiny” doesn’t deter me either.

I bet on Japan on the money line.

CHOOSE: Japan (-213 moneyline at FOX Bet) wins straight

Edward Egros is a sports analysis broadcaster/writer, sports betting analyst, data scientist and Associate Professor of Statistics at Pepperdine University. These passions drove him to become a cold brew fan. Edward previously worked for local television, most notably at Fox’s Dallas affiliate, covering Rangers, Cowboys and high school football. Keep following him TTwitter @EdWithSports.

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