As Pool 2 play in the semi-finals heats up, the matchup baseball fans have been waiting for is upon us. The Dominican Republic faces off against the United States. Debatably the best two teams in the tournament will face off against each other for the first time in this year’s World Baseball Classic.
The odds below can be found at BetOnline.ag, one of the top online sportsbooks and a preferred betting partner of Sports Betting Online.
Run Line: Dominican Republic +1.5 runs (-135) at USA -1.5 (+115)
This matchup will cast the ticket for one of these teams to the Championship Round of the tournament to face off against Japan in the semifinals on Sunday. The loser will have to play another must win game against Puerto Rico on Friday. The winner of that game will face the Netherlands on in another semifinal matchup on Sunday.
The US will start reigning NL Cy Young Winner R.A. Dickey. Dickey has one previous start in this year’s tournament, a 6-2 loss against Mexico where the right hander could not seem to get the movement he wanted on his knuckleball.
The Dominicans counter with right hander Samuel Deduno, a pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization. Deduno finished 2012 with a 4.44 ERA in 79 innings pitched.
The US is 3-1 so far in the tournament with their only loss coming at the hands of Team Mexico. David Wright, affectionately dubbed “Captain America” for his heroics in this year’s WBC has been crushing the ball as of late. He is 7 for 16 in the tournament, with 10 RBIs and a grand slam. His 10 RBIs lead all players in the tournament.
The Dominican Republic has not lost a game this tournament and have a 4-0 record. They lead the tournament in both team ERA and batting average in large part due to Robinson Cano. The Yankee second baseman is scorching WBC pitching, hitting .632 over 19 at bats with two homers, four doubles and seven RBIs.
Our Play: While it’s hard to bet against US roster that is loaded with talent, if there’s any team that can match the United States it’s the Dominican Republic.
While the US lost to Mexico and needed late inning rallies to beat lesser opponents, the Dominicans are undefeated and have faced a tougher set of opponents. In group play, they beat Venezuela, Puerto Rico and then took out Italy in Game 1 of Pool 2.
Though, the Americans have the edge in starting pitching in this game, it might not be as wide of a gap as it seems if Dickey can’t get his knuckleball going. He looked out of sorts against his first start against team Mexico and may not have his best stuff right now. Also, the DR has the best bullpen in the tournament so far, and they will not hesitate to pull Deduno if he struggles.
These teams are remarkably close in talent level, but we like the Dominican Republic’s offense and bullpen to power them to victory. The US has been inconsistent even in their wins and other than David Right, have not been able to get the big hits needed to drive in runs.
We like the Dominican Republic on the money line, +135 at BetOnline.