March 19th, 2013 8:00 EST TV: MLB Network, ESPN Deportes
The World Baseball Classic Championship is finally upon us. Two familiar foes from the Caribbean will battle it out for the WBC title. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are no strangers to competition against each other as these nations have regularly battled it out in the Caribbean World Series.
One thing is for certain, emotions are running high for both countries with their fans back home desperately yearning for a World Baseball Classic Championship. The game at San Francisco’s AT&T Park on Tuesday will be viewable both on television and online to over 200 countries across the world.
The odds offered below can be found at BetOnline.ag, one of the top online sportsbook today and a preferred betting partner of Sports Betting Online.
Puerto Rico (+245) at Dominican Republic (-270) Total: OverUnder 8
Run Line: Puerto Rico +1.5 (-+130) at Dominican Republic -1.5 (-144)0
The Dominicans roll into the WBC Final with an undefeated 7-0 record. If they prevail in the final tomorrow, they would become the first team to win the WBC while not losing a single game.
The Dominicans are loaded with Major League talent and have been powered by their strong offense and lights out bullpen. Robinson Cano was named the MVP on the first two rounds of the tournament and will likely be named tournament MVP if the DR can pull out the victory.
However, the Dominican Republic has had its fair share of close calls. Rallying twice against Italy in Round 2 and again against the Dutch in the semifinals, the DR has shown their toughness and ability to get clutch hits under pressure.
The DR will bring Samuel Deduno, a 29 year old righty from the Twins organization to face Puerto Rico in the final. He has been impressive in this year’s WBC, striking out 7 batters in four innings, keying in a 3-1 win over the US.
Puerto Rico heads to San Francisco after defeating two time WBC champion Japan 3-1 on Sunday. Going 5-3 in the tournament, Puerto Rico has had some crushing losses but some impressive victories, as well.
Powered by a core of MLB regulars that include Angel Pagan, Alex Rios and Carlos Beltran, the Puerto Ricans are not short on talent either. The team is peaking at the right time after defeating the Americans and Japanese to advance to the championship.
Puerto Rico will start right-hander Giancarlo Alvarado against the Dominican offense. A seasoned Minor League veteran, Alvarado spent the past three seasons playing baseball in Japan. He never did get the call to the Majors and spent 2009 in AAA as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
Alvarado started the first game of the Classic for Puerto Rico and has been impressive in this year’s tournament, giving up just two earned runs in 8 innings of work.
Our Play: Both of these teams are extremely talented offensively – leaving this matchup up to the pitchers.
While Deduno and Alvarado are both seemingly journeyman starters, Alvarado resume isn’t especially strong despite his outstanding numbers so far in the tournament. Alvarado began the tournament with a win over Spain, which was widely considered one of the worst teams in the tournament. His second start against Italy was more impressive – but again – it’s tough to draw many conclusions from an Italian lineup that featured just a few Major Leaguers and 11 Italian Baseball League position players.
This is by far Alvarado’s toughest test and one that could lead to an early exit for the veteran righty. The Dominican Republic leads the tournament in batting average and debatably has the best lineup. If the DR can get to Alvarado early, this game could be over in just a few innings – especially the way the Dominicans have locked down late game leads. DR Closer Fernando Rodney is 6 for 6 in save opportunities in this year’s Classic.
We like the Dominican Republic to run away with this one and become World Baseball Classic Champions for the first time. Bettors can make their own judgments on whether to take the Dominicans on the moneyline (-270) or the runline -1.5 (-144). In our opinion, both offerings are solid wagers.
The Play: Dominican Republic at www.betonline.ag