2018 World Juniors Championship: Canada vs Sweden for Gold
Finals Preview: Canada vs Sweden
The bad news is we don't get to see a Canada vs USA rematch in the gold medal game. But the good news is, we get to see a Canada vs Sweden rematch. Sweden shocked the Americans in the semifinals and a late rally couldn't overcome four consecutive goals with two coming short-handed. Simply put, the Swedes outshone the Americans in their own backyard.
As for Canada, it was business as usual. The boys were quickly scored on by the Czechs but ultimately blew them out 7-2 just like everyone predicted. The Canadians look poised to win another gold medal game and will be facing Sweden for the sixth time and the first time since 2009. They last met in last year's semifinals, which saw Canada prevail 5-2.
When these two strikers meet, it will be a violent affair with the biggest win of their career at stake. We look at both teams and break down which of them will be wearing gold tonight.
Team Sweden Breakdown
Puckline Odds: +1.5 (-137)
Moneyline Odds: +177
The Swedes have talent arguably just as great as Canada if not better. Led by projected first overall pick in this year's draft, Rasmus Dahlin, Sweden also boasts Elias Pettersson and Alexander Nylander, first-round picks for the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres, respectively. This Swedish team showed just how deadly they can be on the open ice.
Canada can't afford to let their guard down even for a sec.
Sweden has never been short on talent. This is a country that has produced the likes of Erik Karlsson and Nicklas Backstrom but for a country that has played for a medal in the past 11 world junior championships, they only have one gold medal (with four silvers and a bronze) to show for. They lost all six gold medal games against Canada.
But there's a first time for everything and this Swedish team with its speed and determination could just pull off the upset. They'll have to do it quickly before Canada piles on the scoring.
Team Canada Breakdown
Puckline Odds: -1.5 (-101)
Moneyline Odds: -260
Despite not having any big names, this Canadian team could be just the second to bring home a gold medal since the start of the decade. When your leading goal-scorer in Drake Batherson wasn't even considered for this team, you know you have the tournament's deepest team. Even backup goaltender Colton Point has a shutout in his only game of the championships.
But when it comes to facing Sweden, Canada's defenceman will shine. While the Swedes have the more prolific skaters upfront, the Canadians blend of sturdy and mobile defencemen will prove to be the difference maker. Cale Makar, the fourth overall pick for the Colorado Avalanche, has been a difference maker on the man advantage. Not bad for a guy who was slated as the odd man out to start the tournament.
Starting goaltender Carter Hart gets a final shot to finish the job. His .917 save percentage is second only to Sweden's Filip Gustavsson. Even with the tournament's best defence protecting him, Hart will have to play his best to ensure there is no Swedish upset in the making.
Prediction: the Swedes are only +177 underdogs for good reason. They are quick and have elite skaters who can break off and score goals should Canada make mistakes. Gustavsson is a topnotch goaltender and if he stands on his head, we could have a really close game on our hands. But Canada's defencemen and overall depth will be too much on top of their returning players fighting for closure. Canada wins a close one.
Betting on the World Juniors: Odds, Trends, and Stats
All betting odds via Sports Interaction
- +160: the opening Futures line on Team Canada to win the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, second to Team USA's +125
- +550: the opening Futures line on Team Sweden to win the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, the third-best next to USA and Canada
- 5-0: Canada's record as favourites in the tournament; this includes both the moneyline and puckline odds as Canada has won by an average of 5.4 goals
- 4/2: the over/under record for Canada's six games during this tournament; the over has cashed in four straight games
Go big or go home. This doesn't just apply for both teams but for bettors looking to stake a profit here. While Sweden is dangerous, Canada's record in this tournament, and against Team Sweden, speak for themselves. Check the various online sportsbooks open to Canadians to get the best betting lines.
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