With the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships (WJHC) 2020 just over two weeks away, we look to the first games of the competition to see who will take the points in the Boxing Day games.
The game between the bookmakers favourite Canada and the USA will be the one to watch. There’s also reigning champions Finland up against their Scandanavian neighbours Sweden.
So without further ado, let’s get into it. Visit our dedicated page if you are looking for a whole list of the IIHF U20 World Championships betting odds.
Looking forward to the 2020 #WorldJuniors and celebrating #NewYears in the #CzechRepublic. Information and free priority list registration at https://t.co/QMwwHPQVlb#Canada #WJHC #WJC #NewYearsDay pic.twitter.com/Ig6SEc2Q1H— Paul Almeida (@AzorcanGlobal) January 1, 2018
Canada (1.81) vs USA (3.35)
Two North American teams will compete at the Ostravar Arena, 19:00 (EST) on Boxing Day, as they look to get ahead in Group B.
Canada will be encouraged by the announcement of Joe Valeno’s return to the squad. He is currently playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins and has managed to get 3 goals and 6 assists for the season.
Though the USA aren’t short of talent, they have players with real quality in Cole Caufield, K’Andre Miller and Spencer Knight. Plus this is a team that managed to make it to the finals last year, only narrowly missing out 3-2 to Finland.
Canada are the better team on paper, but as we all know with hockey anything can happen on the day. We expect Canada to come out firing and take control of the game early on.
Canada has the most favourable hockey betting odds with the bookies to win the competition this year.
Take Canada to win.
#WorldJuniors UPDATE | @DetroitRedWings prospect Joe Veleno will join Canada’s National Junior Team in the Czech Republic for preparation camp ahead of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 9, 2019
More on 2020 @HC_WJC ⤑ https://t.co/4q0ellkzA4 pic.twitter.com/8eBMzT20bM
Czech Republic (4.28) vs Russia (1.58)
Russia aren’t the bookies favourite to win it this year, but they are consistently good year-on-year. This will be an excellent game against a strong Czech Republic side.
The Czech Republic will look to Arizona Coyotes young prospect Jan Jenik on Boxing Day. He’s been on fire this season, including a 25-game points streak at the start of the season - he went on to collect 54 points.
For the Russians, they’ll have a fluid front three of Denisenko, Morozov and Dorofeyev to put up the points. It will be integral to the host nation’s chances to disrupt and slow the Russian offense.
Another problem for the Czech Republic is the presence of Yaroslav Askarov between the pipes. He’s been absolutely outstanding for his country and will make it very hard for Jenik and the rest of the Czech team.
Expect Russia to put in a domineering performance.
The preliminary under 20 Russian national team roster for preparation for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship has been named.— Russia Hockey (@russiahockey_en) December 3, 2019
Read more: https://t.co/kAFCYAWbuC #TeamRussia pic.twitter.com/er89gwISkt
Sweden (2.44) vs Finland (2.41)
Incredibly Sweden is on a consecutive winning streak of 48 games in the preliminary rounds of the World Junior Championship. The record stretches all the way back to 2006.
That’s all very well and good, but Finland won the competition earlier this year, so they won’t be too phased by the record. Rasmus Kupari will enter the tournament for the third year in a row and lead the line for the Finns.
Kupari will be joined by one of Finland’s best forwards in Joonas Oden. This promising star will be one to watch in this one.
It’s also important to remember, that the Swedes lost all three of their games at the Four Nations Tournament in August, albeit with some core members out. But you’re only as good as your last competition, which doesn’t bode well for Sweden.
Given that we’ve got two teams almost evenly matched in the bookmakers eyes, we figured we would call this as the one to watch among the ice hockey picks for today.
Take Finland to beat Sweden.