IIHF World Junior Championship Futures: United States Is Home Favorite

For baseball fans, Boxing Day is almost like Christmas 2.0. The holidays can at times make us tired, like once you wind up spending your entire paycheck on presents and then listening to your family complain about how they didn’t like their gift (I thought you enjoyed candles, Mother!) . So, when December 26 rolls round, hockey fans know it’s time to move on from the gift-giving and get a present they’ll actually enjoy with the yearly IIHF world junior hockey championship. Here are the four groups that bettors must have in their radar to win the tournament’s 42nd edition.
UNITED STATES (+125)
Preferred on BetOnline and the champion, the United States is a pick to take home the gold in this year’s tourney. They will be returning goaltender Joseph Woll, who had been on the squad last year and was exceptional in the two matches he played. The primary incentive for this season’s edition of the U.S. roster is they are coming seven players from last year. At forward, they will be led by Buffalo Sabres draft pick Casey Mittelstadt, who’ll get to skate in front of his home lovers that were future. Bettors should be aware, however, that no team has won back-to-back gold.
CANADA (+160)
I’d be all over this selection but the current history of choking in the moment deters me. The Canadian team fell to the U.S. squad last year in a shootout after holding two separate two-goal leads. Where the Canadians will probably be stacked is on the blue line as most of their defensemen were drafted in the top 15 in recent NHL drafts. Though the Canucks have won this tourney 16 days, they haven’t won it since 2015 and in this value, the juice probably is not worth the squeeze.
FINLAND (+650)
A value pick, Finland has won gold in two of the last four tournaments and may be a sneaky pick for bettors trying to profit on the“every other year“ trend. The Finns will be put to create it from the group point and are put in Group A with the Americans, Canadians and Slovakians. Their expected starting goaltender, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, is a Sabres draft selection along with the Buffalo crowd will want to obtain a look at Robin Lehner’s potential replacement. Miro Heiskanen, the third overall pick from the 2017 draft, are also back on the blue line for the Finns and their forwards thickness should carry them nicely with five returning forwards from last year’s squad.
RUSSIA (+650)
The last time that the world championship was in Buffalo, back in 2011, the Russians dominated and took the gold. However, this year’s group does not possess the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko, Evgeni Kuznetsov and Artemi Panarin out there commanding. While this season’s version has plenty of skilled forward, it could be too much of an uphill struggle to observe that the Russians replicate that feat when they do not have generational talent hitting the ice. One of their defensemen was drafted by an NHL team and nearly all of the rearguards will come in the KHL. At +650, you would be better served to spend your Christmas money.

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