Puerto Rico vs Mexico Odds, Picks, Predictions | World Baseball Classic Quarterfinal Betting Preview

Puerto Rico vs Mexico Odds, Picks, Predictions | World Baseball Classic Quarterfinal Betting Preview article feature image

Chris Coduto/Getty Images. Pictured: Mexico’s Rowdy Tellez.

Puerto Rico vs. Mexico

Puerto Rico Odds-108
Mexico Odds-112
Over/Under7.5 (-114 / -106)
Time7 p.m. ET
TV Fox Sports 1
Odds via FanDuel.

Following round-robin pool play, the World Baseball Classic field of 20 was reduced to a single-elimination bracket of eight teams — appropriate for the start of March Madness.

In Tokyo, the Pool A winner, Cuba, and Pool B winner, Japan, won their quarterfinal matchups on Wednesday and Thursday. They will advance to Miami for the semifinals, where the Pool C and D winners and qualifiers will face off in the quarters on Friday and Saturday.

Friday's quarterfinal features two-time runner-up Puerto Rico against Pool D winner Mexico, which pulled a big upset against the United States in Phoenix.

Below, I'll provide my projections for Friday's matchup (first pitch at 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1) and utilize those projections to find an actionable betting edge for the game.

Puerto Rico's Roster and WBC Path

Puerto Rico pulled off the most dramatic win of the pool stage, defeating the Dominican Republic in a thriller on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, its closer, Edwin Diaz, was injured during the postgame celebration.

Even without Diaz, Puerto Rico still has an incredibly effective and deep bullpen led by Edwin's brother, Alexis (2.76 xERA in 2022), Duane Underwood Jr. (4.11), Jovani Moran (2.28), Jorge Lopez (3.31), and a handful of other major-league arms.

Still, having a fully rested and healthy Edwin Diaz could have essentially cut off two innings from a seven-inning game; he had yet to see a multi-inning appearance in the tournament but may have provided additional length in another elimination game.

Marcus Stroman (3.94 xERA in 2022) — the 2017 WBC MVP for Team USA — will get the start for Puerto Rico after a nice outing against Nicaragua (4 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 K) on March 11.

Stroman permitted a solo home run to tie the game on his final batter in the fifth inning, but was otherwise flawless in the outing, and he's continued to thrive on the international stage.

Puerto Rico can play strong team defense, too, with Francisco Lindor at short, Javier Baez at third, Enrique Hernandez in center and Martin Maldonado behind the dish.

The lineup isn't quite as intimidating as some of the other offenses in the WBC, but there are enough major league bats — with Christian Vazquez DHing and batting eighth — to provide run support for what should be an effective pitching staff.

Still, Puerto Rico has been incredibly fortunate on offense in the tournament, batting 18-for-40 (.450) with runners in scoring position. That type of sequencing luck is unsustainable.

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Mexico's Roster and WBC Path

Mexico won Pool D on a tiebreaker since it defeated Team USA head to head, but its tournament got off to a rocky start with a 5-4 loss (as a -600 favorite) against Colombia.

Julio Urias (2.81 xERA) started that game against Colombia (5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K) and will face Puerto Rico on Friday. I still don't think Urias gets the respect he deserves as an ace pitcher.

Mexico's bullpen isn't quite as talented as Puerto Rico's, but it does have some effective arms, including Giovanny Gallegos (2.92 xERA in 2022), Javier Assad (4.49) and Luis Cessa (4.43) to use at the back-end of games.

I certainly prefer Mexico's position player group, however, led by a red-hot Randy Arozarena. Mexico is deeper both offensively (Alex Verdugo, Joey Meneses, Rowdy Tellez, Isaac Paredes, Alek Thomas) and defensively than Puerto Rico.

I consistently bet against Mexico in the pool stage; however, it can beat anyone in the world with Urias on the bump.

The price is right, and I like the team's chances to upend Puerto Rico on Friday.

Projections, Price Targets, and Bets

I am firm on my price targets; that is the minimum price I need to place a bet.

Based on my projection, I bet Mexico (-112, 0.5u) and the Under 7.5 (-106, 0.5u) at FanDuel. You can place those bets up to -123 and down to 7 (+100), respectively.

I will update this column and post a note on Twitter if I add any additional bets before game time.

Bets: Mexico (-112, 0.5u at FanDuel) / Under 7.5 (-106, 0.5u at FanDuel) 

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