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Finland Favored to Win IIHF World Juniors After Defeating Canada

Finland beats Canada in 2019 World Juniors
Finland upset Canada in the Quarterfinals of the 2019 World Juniors tournament. Photo by @DarrylDyck [Twitter]
  • Bovada now favors Finland to win the IIHF World Junior Championship
  • Finland beat host Canada 2-1 in overtime in Wednesday’s quarterfinals
  • The Finns have never won the World Junior title on North American soil

Finland had never beaten Canada in Canada in the IIHF World Junior Championship.

The Finns have never won the world junior gold medal when the tournament has been held in North America. But they say there’s a first time for everything and as far as Finland is concerned, it’s one down, one to go.

When Toni Utunen scored 5:17 into overtime to give Finland a 2-1 victory over Canada in Wednesday’s quarterfinal, it was a history-making moment for the Finns.

They’d been 0-11 versus Canada on Canadian ice in World Junior competition prior to this game.

But now that the Finns have scaled that mountain, Bovada believes that Finland could ascend to the peak. The sportsbook is favoring the Finns to win the World Junior title.

Odds to Win IIHF U20 World Junior Championship

Team Odds to Win IIHF World Junior Championship at Bovada
Finland +175
USA +185
Russia +240
Switzerland +1200

*Odds taken Jan 3

A Test Of Their Medals

Entering Wednesday’s game, Canada was 10-1 in its last 11 quarterfinal matches at the World Juniors, outscoring opponents 65-23 in those games.

But that one loss came in 2016, a 6-5 loss to Finland. And the Finns went on to win the gold medal in that tournament.

But that was held on home ice in Finland, and every one of Finland’s four World Junior titles have been garnered in Europe – 2016 and 1998 at home, 2014 in Sweden, and 1987 in Czechoslovakia.

Of the 13 medals earned by the Finns in world junior history, 10 – three silver and three bronze to go with the four gold – were won on European ice.

The Finns have captured a trio of World Junior bronze medals during tournaments held in North America, including 2006, the previous time the tournament was held in Vancouver.

Should You Wager A Fin (Or More) On The Finns?

History says no and at the beginning of the tournament, so did the sportsbooks.

Finland was Bovada’s fourth betting choice to win it all at +400. The Finns were 46 seconds away from being eliminated, but on paper, now that they’ve put Canada out, you’d think their semifinal against the Swiss would be a foregone conclusion.

But unbeaten Sweden no doubt felt the same way before they played the Swiss, and how did that work out for them?

Regardless, we think the champion is coming out of the other semifinal and history agrees. The seven world juniors held in Canada that the Canadians didn’t win saw these champions – Russia (1978, 1986, 1999, 2003), the USA (2010, 2017) and Sweden (2012).

The only blemish on the USA’s record is a 5-4 overtime loss to the Swedes. It’s time to accept two realities – Canada’s team wasn’t that great, and the real power of this tournament was in the other pool.

We liked Team USA to win it all from the start, and we’re staying with them.

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