Canada enters World Juniors as tournament betting favourite

Canada finished outside the medals at the World Junior Hockey Championship last year and will have several notable names missing from its lineup for this year’s edition of the holiday tournament. Nevertheless, the Canadians will still enter the event as the betting favourites at sportsbooks monitored by

Canada is listed as the +100 favourite on the World Junior odds at the sportsbooks heading into the tournament, which takes place on home soil in Toronto and Montreal this year. Canada won World Junior gold two years ago when the tournament was held in those same two cities, finally ending its streak of five consecutive years off the top of the event podium.

However, the Canadians lost to eventual tournament champion Finland in the quarter-finals of last year’s tournament, and overall have just four medals at the event in the past seven years – silver in both 2010 and 2011, bronze in 2012, and the gold in 2015. Prior to that stretch of disappointing results the Canadians won the gold five straight years from 2005 through 2009.

And Canada won’t be at full strength at the event this year, with Connor McDavid dominating with the Edmonton Oilers and fellow tournament eligibles Mitch Marner, Travis Konecny, Jakob Chychrun, Lawson Crouse, and Anthony Beauvillier all sticking with their NHL clubs. As well, top 2017 prospect Nolan Patrick is injured and is not available to play in the tournament.

Sweden, Russia, and the United States are all then tied for second at +400 on the odds to win the tournament, with the Americans missing a notable name as well with Auston Matthews not getting released to play by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The United States also won’t have NHL defencemen Noah Hanifin nor Zach Werenski as they try to win their fourth-ever gold medal at the event. The Americans were third last year, falling to the Russians in the semifinal round.

Russia then lost 4-3 in last year’s championship game to Finland, who sit back at +600 on the odds to win the World Junior tournament this time around. Finland will be missing three star forwards at the event, with Patrik Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Sebastian Aho not available.

The Czech Republic are then at +4,000 on the tournament odds, with Switzerland at +10,000, Denmark at +15,000, Slovakia at +25,000, and Latvia rounding out the betting lines at +50,000.

The tournament gets underway on Boxing Day, as Canada takes on Russia at the Air Canada Centre. The Canadians then face Slovakia on Dec. 27 and Latvia on Dec. 29 before battling the rival Americans on New Year’s Eve. Those four games will all take place at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The championship game will be on Jan. 5 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Article Written by Oddsshark Staff of Sportsnet