For hockey fans, Boxing Day is like Christmas 2.0. The holidays can at times make us weary, like when you end up spending your entire paycheck on gifts and then listening to your family complain about how they didn’t like their present (I thought you liked candles, Mom!) . So, when December 26 rolls around, hockey fans know it’s time to proceed from the gift-giving and get a gift they’ll really enjoy with the yearly IIHF world junior hockey championship. Here are the four teams that bettors should have in their radar to acquire this tournament’s 42nd edition.
UNITED STATES (+125)
The champion and preferred on BetOnline, the United States is a decent choice to take home the gold . They’ll be returning goaltender Joseph Woll, that was on the squad this past year and was excellent in the 2 games he played. The main plus for this season’s edition of the U.S. roster is they’re coming seven players from this past year. At forward, Buffalo Sabres draft pick Casey Mittelstadt, who will get to skate in front of his home fans that were future’ll leads them. Bettors should know, however, that no team has won back-to-back gold since 2009.
Normally, I’d be all over this pick but the recent history of choking in the big moment deters me from backing my brethren. The Canadian team fell to the U.S. squad last year at a shootout after holding two separate two-goal leads. Where the Canadians will probably be stacked is about the blue line as all their defensemen were drafted in the top 15 in recent NHL drafts. While the Canucks have won this tourney 16 times, they have not won it since 2015 and in this value, the juice probably isn’t worth the squeeze.
A value pick, Finland has won gold in two of the last four tournaments and may be a sneaky choice for bettors trying to profit on the”each year” trend. The Finns will probably be put to make it from the group stage and are placed in Group A with the Americans. Their anticipated starting goaltender, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, is a Sabres draft selection and the Buffalo audience may wish to get a peek at Robin Lehner’s potential replacement. Miro Heiskanen, the third overall pick in the 2017 draft, will also be back to the blue line for the Finns and their forwards thickness should carry them well with five returning forwards from last year’s squad.
The last time the world junior championship was at Buffaloback in 2011, the Russians took the gold and dominated. But this year’s squad doesn’t possess the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko, Evgeni Kuznetsov and Artemi Panarin out there commanding. Although this year’s version has lots of skilled forward, it could be too much of an uphill struggle to observe the Russians repeat that accomplishment when they do not have generational talent hitting the ice. An NHL team has drafted one of their defensemen and nearly all of their rearguards will come in the KHL. In +650, you would be better served to spend your Christmas money on Bitcoin.