The 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship (2020 WJHC) will be held in Croatia across two cities, at the Ostravar Arena and Werk Arena.
The 44th edition of the IIHF Ice Hockey Junior Championship got underway on the 26th of December 2019 and will concluded on the 5th of January 2020.
The 2019 WJHC took place in Finland, who won it. The competition will feature 10 nations split into two groups of five teams. Once the group games are over, the competition moves to the knockout stages.
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Outright Winner - Canada U20 (1.99)
Canada have a very strong team. They have a tonne of options in forwards and defenseman, the likes of Alexis Lafreniere, Joe Valeno, Bowen Byram and Jamie Drysdale, to name a few.
They will be buoyed by the announcement of Alexis Lafreniere’s return, having missed the past two games due to an injury sustained during their 6-0 romping to Russia. Thought of to be their best player, Canada will feel themselves in this one.
Canada’s opening game will be up against last years’ finalists the USA on Boxing Day. They took the game 6-4 to get their competition off to the right start. They face off against Slovakia in the quarter finals and are odds on favourites at 1.02 to progress to the semis.
If you're going to choose a team hockey free pick, then Canada are certainly the team to go for if you're going for outright winners. The USA, the bookies second favourite, have to beat the reigning champions Finland to progress.
Take Canada to win.
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Outright Winner - USA U20 (4.17)
Team USA are led by the likes of Cole Caufield, K’Andre Miller and Spencer Knight. When the roster was officially released there was a air of confidence in the USA camp about their prospects in Croatia.
The USA team selection includes three goaltenders, in Spencer Knight, Dustin Wolf and Isaiah Saville. Between the three of them they will provide the necessary coverage and will boost the USA’s of winning the Gold.
The USA are in the quarterfinals and will face off aganist reigning gold medalists Finland in the quarterfinals, which is a daunting prospect and probably the most difficult matchup in the quarters. But they come into it off the back of a dramatic win over the Czech Republic.
Cole Caufieild and Alex Turcotte have been excellent for the USA and they'll look to them to continue to tally up the points for their country.
USA managed to make it to the finals last year and have a very strong team, so it’s understandable the hockey betting odds are so low - they’re right in there with the favourites.
Take the USA to win.
Outright Winner - Russia U20 (3.99)
The Russia Under-20’s team has been one of the most consistent performers in the history of this competition.
Since the constitutional crisis in 1993, Russian has finished without a medla just four times in the past 27 competitions. It’s a pretty impressive feat. But, they only claimed gold once since 2010.
The Russians were projected to perform as the second favourite in the bookmakers eyes. Russia has great depth in their roster and will feel they are in with a very good chance.
Russia narrowly missed out in 2019, losing 2-1 to the United States in the semifinal. Though they took home the Bronze, they’d have been disappointed and will be hungry to bring the gold home this time.
Russia defeated Switzerland 3-1 in the quarterfinals and will now progress to the semifinals.
Take Russia to win.
Seeing out the game confidently, we defeat Switzerland 3:1 in the Czech Republic, in turn advancing to the semi-finals of the 2020 World Junior Championship!— Russia Hockey (@russiahockey_en) January 2, 2020
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Outright Winner - Sweden U20 (5.65)
Sweden have had an excellent tournament so far, they are are the only team in the championship to have won all of their group games, having beaten defending gold medalists Finland (3-2 in OT), Switzerland (5-2), Kazakhstan (6-2) and Slovakia (6-2).
They boast players like Alexander Holtz, who scored twice against Slovakia, as well as Albin Eriksson, Philip Broberg, Oscar Back and Samuel Fagemo. They have really stepped up their game this tournament and they are certainly one of the more exciting teams to watch.
Sweden came into the competition having won 48 games in the preliminary rounds of the World Junior Championship, a very impressive feat and one which they have carried into the World Championships.
The odds are very favourable for a Sweden win and it's certainly worth a flutter, given how well they've played throughout the tournament.
Take Sweden to win.