- Canada is a -210 favorite over Russia in the World Juniors on Saturday, December 28
- The Canadians have won two of their last three meetings with the Russians
- Read below for the odds and how to bet on Saturday’s matchup
Team Canada is being listed as -210 favorites over Team Russia in World Junior preliminary round action on Saturday, December 28.
The Canadians kicked off their tournament with a bang against the Americans, while the Russians stumbled against the Czechs.
These two teams have played some high-scoring games in the past, but Russian won a low-scoring battle in 2018. What is the best bet this time around?
Canada vs Russia Odds
|Canada U20||-1.5 (+125)||-210||O 6.5 (-140)|
|Russia U20||+1.5 (-165)||+155||U 6.5 (+105)|
Odds taken Dec. 27
Canada Off to Convincing Start
Team Canada kicked off their World Junior tournament with a big 6-4 victory over their arch-rivals Team USA on Day 1. The Canadians overcame a 2-0 deficit and got big performances from two of their best players. Projected 2020 first overall draft pick Alexis Lafreniere scored the game-winning goal and had four points, while captain Barrett Hayton scored twice.
Lafreniere and Hayton are two of five returnees from last year’s team that won a silver medal. Canada is listed as favorites to win the tournament due to having seven first-round NHL Drafts picks and the top two projected draft picks in the 2020 Draft in Lafreniere and defenseman Quinton Byfield.
Russia Stumbles Against Czechs
While Canada kicked off their tournament with a bang, the Russians underwhelmed in their first game against the Czech Republic. Top 2020 draft prospect and starting goaltender Yaroslav Askarov was pulled after the second period and the Russians lost 4-3.
I dug into Yaroslav Askarov's game today, and it's my contention that his issue was not glove positioning or glove quickness but rather net awareness and puck tracking.
Look here. He's still fixated on Jenik (uper left) well after the puck has already been teed up for Kubicek. pic.twitter.com/U9M67vNjye
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) December 27, 2019
Russia still has 12 NHL draft picks on their roster, including promising Canucks prospect Vasili Podkolzin. He scored on Day 1 and has some talent around him in blueliner Alexander Romanov (Habs) and Grigori Denisenko, who tied for the tournament scoring lead last year.
What’s concerning for Russia is they took eight penalties in their opening game and have a history of playing undisciplined. Canada’s power play looked lethal against the Americans, scoring three times, so Russia won’t have a have much of a chance if they don’t stay out of the penalty box.
Canada vs Russia World Junior History
While Russian won 2-1 the last time these two teams met in 2018, Canada has won two of the last three meetings overall dating back to 2015. These two teams typically play back-and-forth high-scoring games, as Russia and Canada have combined to score eight or more goals in two of their last three meetings.
With both teams allowing four goals in their respective openers, I’m expecting a healthy amount of goals scored again on Saturday. Goaltending was a question mark for Canada entering this tournament and it’s now a question mark for Russia after their first game.
Canada has the more complete team this year and proved with a big win over a very talented American squad that they are the team to beat in the tournament. Lafreniere and Hayton are two experienced stars who lead a young but immensely talented roster.
Yaroslav Askarov was supposed to be one of Russia’s top performers this year, but the 17-year-old goaltender’s confidence is likely going to be low if he gets the start again on Saturday.
The Canadian moneyline is the play here, but also consider taking the “Over”. The Russians are going to be hungry for their first win and these two teams are no strangers to high-scoring games. Canadian goaltender Nico Daws still gave up four goals in the opener and Russia has the offense to (somewhat) keep up with Canada.
Pick: Team Canada ML (-210), Over 6.5 (-140)