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IIHF World Juniors Gold & Bronze Medal Game Odds and Picks

Rasmus Kupari of Finland
Rasmus Kupari recorded three points for Finland in their semifinal game against Switzerland. Photo by @Lakers_newsnow [Twitter]
  • The USA is favored to win its second IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal in three years
  • Team USA faces Finland in the final
  • The Finns won gold in 2016, but have never won on North American ice

America’s team is poised to win gold at Canada’s game on Canadian ice for the second time in a row.

Team USA is favored to defeat Finland in Saturday’s (January 5th) gold-medal game of the IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver, just as USA Hockey was also golden the last time the tournament was held in Canada in 2017.

Finland vs USA Odds

Teams Moneyline Puck Line Total at Bovada
Finland -110 +1.5 (-275) O 5.5 (+110)
USA -130 -1.5 (+210) U 5.5 (-145)

*All odds taken 1/5

Start Time: 8pm EST

The USA will win a World Junior medal for the fourth year in a row, the longest current streak of any nation in the event.

The Americans handed the Finns a 4-1 defeat in round-robin play in what they felt was their best performance of the tournament.

Team USA has won its last three gold-medal matches at the World Juniors, and haven’t lost a gold-medal game in the tourney since 1997.

Ryan Poehling (5-3-8) of the USA and Finland’s Aleksi Heponiemi (3-5-8) both own a share of the tournament scoring lead.

Finland might want to stay out of the penalty box. The USA power play is the tournament’s best at 31.82%, while the Finns are eighth (18.18 percent).

The Americans are also the top penalty killers (92.31%), allowing just one power-play goal the entire tournament.

Familiarity won’t be an issue. Finland and the USA clashed in the 2017 and 2018 world under-18 gold-medal games, with many of these players participating.

Each country won once in those games, but the Finns haven’t enjoyed much success against Team USA at the World Juniors, going 1-9 in their last 10.

All four of Finland’s World Junior gold medals were won on European ice. The Finns will make history no matter what happens Sunday, because they’ve never finished higher than third in the tournament when it’s played in Canada.

Pick: USA (-130), under 5.5 (-145)

Switzerland vs Russia Odds

Teams Moneyline Puck Line Total at Bovada
Switzerland +325 +1.5 (+120) O 6.5 (-130)
Russia -425 -1.5 (-155) U 5.5 (EVEN)

Start Time: 4pm EST
There’s a familiar pattern developing here for the Swiss.

They last reached the semifinal stage of the World Juniors in 2010 – curiously, after beating Russia in the quarterfinals – and were absolutely smacked around in both their semifinal (6-1 loss to Canada) and in the bronze-medal game (11-4 loss to Sweden).

Well, if Finland didn’t go out and beat the Swiss 6-1 in Friday’s semis, while the Russians dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 verdict to the USA, one that left captain Klim Kostin in a foul mood.

Look for the Russians to take out their frustrations big-time on the Swiss. One thing to watch for with Switzerland is whether forward Philipp Kurashev (six goals) can hang on to the tourney goal-scoring lead.

Oh, and another omen to keep in mind – the last time the Swiss played for bronze, Team USA won gold.

Pick: Russia (-425), over 6.5 (-130)

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A veteran journalist, Bob Duff has written over two-dozen books, including authorized biographies of Johnny Bower, Desmond Howard and Gordie Howe. He has covered the Super Bowl, World Series, World Cup, NBA Finals, March Madness and the Olympic Games.