Upcoming Match-ups

World Baseball Classic Odds – Aus. Favored to Qualify

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in News

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

The first qualification round for the 2017 World Baseball Classic [“WBC”] gets underway on February 11 in Sydney, Australia, and boy-oh-boy is it a battle of the titans.

Only one team will advance from the quartet, which features New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Africa in addition to the home side, who are the Kronos of the bunch. So make sure you tune in now or risk going another four years without seeing the South African national baseball team in action! (Perish the thought.)

Who will get the honor of being trounced by the likes of the US, Cuba, Japan, and the Dominican Republic come 2017?

The home side should earn that right. But expect a challenge from their southern neighbors and a feisty Filipino squad.

Odds to qualify for the 2017 World Baseball Classic:

  • Australia: 5/6

The Aussies were the only one of the four teams in this qualification group to play in the 2013 WBC. They didn’t win a game, going 0-3 and getting outscored 14-2, but they won’t be facing South Korea or Chinese Taipei during qualification. They’ll be facing three teams that don’t rank in the top-20 worldwide. That’s saying something, given how few countries actually have high-level domestic baseball leagues (like, four).

Unfortunately for Australia, it doesn’t look like big-leaguer Liam Hendriks will be on hand. The Blue Jay reliever would look like Sandy Koufax among this crop of baseball neophytes.

  • New Zealand: 9/2

The “Diamondblacks” (big props on the name, by the way) narrowly missed qualifying last time around. Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement. They beat the Philippines and Thailand to advance to the group final, but then they were whitewashed (9-0) by Chinese Taipei.

They have a good chance to get back to the final again this year, but topping Australia in Sydney will be a tall order.

  • Philippines6/1

The Philippines managed to get by Thailand in the 2013 qualifiers before being similarly scorched by Chinese Taipei (16-0). There’s not much reason to expect much improvement from the team, even though the country did produce a big leaguer once upon a time (what up, Bobby Chouinard).

  • South Africa: 7/1

South Africa went 1-2 in the 2013 qualifiers playing arguably even less stiff competition than they’ll face this time around. They lost to Israel (7-3) and Spain (13-3), and only managed a win over the baseball powerhouse that is France (5-2). That said, they have played in two previous WBCs (2006 and 2009) and have a decent baseball history, all things considered. Hein Robb was stellar on the mound when they upset the Netherlands at the 2000 Olympics (their only win in the tournament).

Over/under on the number of games the successful qualifier will win at the 2017 WBC: 0.5

Over/under on the number of MLB scouts in attendance at the qualifiers: 0.5

Odds the successful qualifier would beat the Little League World Series champs: 1/1


(Photo credit: Trevor Grieve on Picasa Web Albums (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)

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