Team USA is not favored to win the 2023 World Baseball Classic, despite being the defending champions. It’s a fact that has not been lost on the United States club heading into the start of the tournament.

Team USA manager Mark DeRosa said the players are “very aware” that it doesn’t have the best odds to repeat as World Baseball Classic champions, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. It seems to be a motivating factor for Team USA.

The Dominican Republic is the World Baseball Classic favorite with +220 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. Team USA is up next with +260 odds. Japan is tied with Team USA for the second-best odds.

Venezuela is a distant fourth with +1000 odds to win the World Baseball Classic. There are 20 teams in the entire field.

There has been plenty of turnover on the Team USA roster since the last World Baseball Classic in 2o17. The WBC was scheduled to be held in 2021. It was postponed because of the pandemic.

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Some of MLB’s best players will represent Team USA in the WBC. Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout is on the roster. The Americans are stacked at first base with Reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt and New York Mets star Pete Alonso on the team. St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado and Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner are part of a star-studded infield. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts gives Team USA another former MVP.

With all of that talent, DeRosa expects to lead Team USA to a second straight World Baseball Classic championship.

“I expect to win,” DeRosa told InsideHook. “That’s the expectations of Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado — they wouldn’t be taking the time out of their preparation for the upcoming season if they didn’t want to win this thing. I have a ton of respect for the other countries. I know it will not be easy, but my expectation when we kick off on the 11th is to snatch souls.

The pitching staff is Team USA’s biggest weakness. Perhaps it’s the reason why the Americans don’t have the best WBC odds. Chicago White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn is the best starter on the roster.

Reigning NL Cy Young Sandy Alcantara leads the Dominican Republic’s pitching staff. Houston Astros starter Cristian Javier is also in the rotation after a dominant 2022 season.

The Americans play their first WBC game Saturday when they take on Great Britain.