Venezuela is known for two things; beautiful women and ball players – and the latter make it a baseball betting favorite in Pool D of the World Baseball Classic. Fans who bet on baseball also favor Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico +2050
The Venezuela national baseball team is currently ranked sixth in the world by the International Baseball Federation. Venezuela finished 7th in the first WBC and won the bronze medal in the 2009 edition, but was eliminated in the first round in 2013 by Pool D mates Puerto Rico. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Felix Hernandez was absent the last time around but is back in the fold this year. Martin Perez of the Texas Rangers, Francisco Rodríguez and Bruce Rondon of the Detroit Tigers, Jeanmar Gómez of the Phillies, and Yusmeiro Petit of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim minors complete the rotation.
The Puerto Rico national baseball team is currently ranked 11th in the world and has advanced to the second round of the WBC in all of its three appearances, becoming the first team to score mercy rule wins over Cuba and the US. In the 2013 edition of the tournament, Puerto Rico became the second team from Western Hemisphere to reaching the final, knocking off two-time defending world champion Japan in the semis before finishing in second place. The 2013 team was a baseball betting dark horse and while the surprise element may be gone, Puerto Rico remains a force to be reckoned with considering the additions of Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros, Francisco Lindor of the Indians, and Javier Báez of the Cubs.
The Mexico national baseball team is currently ranked 7th in the world. Mexico made it to the second round in 2006 and 2009, but was eliminated early in 2013. Like in 2009, Mexico will host its pool – games will be held at the Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Guadalajara. Home field advantage might be enough to sway more than a few fans who bet on baseball, at least as far as the first round is concerned. The Gonzalez brothers – Edgar and Adrian – are the team anchors both off and on the field. Manager Edgar is a former professional infielder who played for the San Diego Padres in the MLB and the Yomiuri Giants in Nippon Professional Baseball. Adrian is a first baseman in the LA Dodgers.
According to WBC bylaws, a player is eligible to participate on a World Baseball Classic team if he, among other things, is qualified for citizenship or to hold a passport under the laws of a country represented by a team but has not been granted citizenship or been issued a passport, was born in the nation or territory the team represents, has one parent who is or was a citizen of the country the team represents, or has one parent who was born in the country or territory the team represents. As a result, at least 23 players on the Italian roster were born in the United States. Then again, most of those are minor leaguers, so it hardly constitutes a baseball betting advantage, as reflected by Italy’s odds to win the WBC.