De Villiers, who will lead his side for a three-match ODI series against New Zealand, believes that the Black Caps will be better equipped to deal with the conditions during next year's tournament.
"I would not call them dark horses," ESPN quotes De Villiers as saying. "I would say one of the favourites.
"Always a very competitive ODI team. Playing on their home grounds in their country, they'll be even more competitive. We know what they are capable of, especially playing in these kinds of conditions.
"They haven't won a big tournament for a while so they must be very motivated to do well. We are expecting a very competitive series."
South Africa's ODI series against New Zealand gets underway in Auckland on October 21.