IIHF World Junior Championship Futures: United States Is Home Favorite

For baseball fans, Boxing Day is like Christmas 2.0. The holidays can at times make us weary, like when you wind up spending your entire paycheck on presents and then listening to your family complain about how they did not like their present (I thought you liked candles, Mom!) . So, when December 26 rolls round, hockey fans know it is time to proceed from the gift-giving and get a gift they will actually enjoy with the yearly IIHF world junior hockey tournament. Here are the four teams that bettors should have in their radar to acquire the 42nd edition of the tournament.
UNITED STATES (+125)
The reigning champion and favorite on BetOnline, the usa is a decent choice to take home the gold again. They’ll be returning goaltender Joseph Woll, who had been on the squad last year and was exceptional in the 2 games he played. The main plus for this year’s edition of the U.S. roster is they’re coming seven players from last year. At forward, Buffalo Sabres draft pick Casey Mittelstadt, who will get to skate in front of his home lovers that were future’ll leads them. Bettors should be aware, though, that no team has won gold because 2009.
CANADA (+160)
Normally, I’d be all over this pick from backing my brethren, but I am deterred by the history of choking in the big moment. The Canadian team dropped to the U.S. squad last year at a shootout after holding two separate two-goal leads. Where the Canadians will be piled 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 have not won it all since 2015 and at this respect, the juice likely is not worth the squeeze.
FINLAND (+650)
A value pick, Finland has won gold in two of the previous four tournaments and could be a sneaky choice for bettors looking to profit on the”every other year” trend. The Finns will be put to make it and are put in Group A with the Americans, Slovakians and Canadians. Their expected starting goaltender, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, is a Sabres draft pick along with the Buffalo audience may wish to get a look at Robin Lehner’s potential replacement. Miro Heiskanen, the third overall pick in the 2017 draft, will also be back on the blue line for the Finns and their forward depth should carry them nicely with five returning forward from last year’s squad.
RUSSIA (+650)
The last time the world junior championship was in Buffalo, back in 2011, the Russians dominated and took the gold. However, this year’s squad doesn’t have the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko, Evgeni Kuznetsov and Artemi Panarin out there dominating. Although this season’s version has plenty of skilled forward, it may be too much of an uphill struggle to observe the Russians replicate that feat when they do not have generational talent hitting the ice. An NHL team has drafted one of their defensemen and nearly all of the rearguards will come in the KHL. At +650, you’d be better served to spend your Christmas money.

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