Upcoming Match-ups

United States vs Sweden World Juniors Odds, Picks, and How to Watch

Kevin Allen

by Kevin Allen in NHL Hockey

Dec 30, 2020 · 6:53 AM PST

Boston University's Trevor Zegras during an NCAA hockey game against Northern Michigan on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
  • USA (2-1) is a 1.5-goal favorite against Sweden at the World Junior Championships in Edmonton on Thursday at 9:30 PM EST
  • You can watch the game on NHL  Network. The NHL Network will provide daily coverage of the WJC, which features the world’s best teen-age NHL prospects
  • Here are the odds, the best bet, and information on how to watch the game

The Swedes aren’t running out of NHL talent, but they may be running out of luck at the World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Alberta.

Their much-talked-about preliminary-round winning streak reached 54 games Monday when they beat Austria 4-0. But the impressive streak will be tested by back-to-back games against Russia on Dec. 30 and New Year’s Eve against USA. Sweden is an underdog in both of those games.

The Swedes have a difficult task facing USA the day after facing Group B favorite Russia. The USA roster is overflowing with first-round picks. USA is a 1.5-goal favorite against Sweden. The Americans thus far have beaten Austria and the Czech Republic.

USA vs Sweden Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
USA -130 -1.5 (+200) Over 6.5 (-110)
Sweden +100 +1.5 (-305) Under 6.5 (-124)

Odds taken Dec. 30 from DraftKings

Zegras Still USA’s Hottest Player

Anaheim Ducks prospect Trevor Zegras is leading the tournament with five goals and five assists in three games. He generated five points in USA’s 7-0 win against the Czech Republic. Zegras has assisted on or scored on 47.6% of USA’s 21 goals in the tournament.

Thanks to the Zegras strong start, the Americans are averaging seven goals per game. That ranks second only to Canada’s 9.7 goals-per-game. USA is leading the tournament in shots on goal with 131 in three games.

Zegras posted nine assists in last year’s WJC and is tied with former NHL player Doug Weight for second on USA’s all-time WJC assists list with 14. The American record is 19 by Jordan Schroeder.

Hockey World Always Respects Sweden

The Swedes haven’t won a gold medal at the WJC since 2012, but they have been a threat every year. No opponent should take Sweden lightly at this tournament.

In addition to producing their lengthy preliminary round streak, Sweden has won five medals since 2012. USA and Canada have also only won five in that period.

The Swedes are known for a strong two-way game. Historically, they boast a skilled team that still understands the need to check and stay disciplined.

Their most intriguing player this year may be Lucas Raymond, who was the No. 4 pick in the 2020 draft by the Detroit Red Wings. He could be playing in the NHL in 2021-22.

Boldy Pulling a Load Offensively

It’s fair to say USA coaches probably anticipated more goals at this point out of Cole Caufield (one), Arthur Kaliyev (one), and Alex Turcotte (none).

But Minnesota Wild forward prospect Matthew Boldy has made up for their slower statistical start by registering four goals and an assist in the first three games. Boldy was coming off a sizzling start at Boston College where he had three goals and eight points in his first four games.

Boldy has been flashy, as well as productive, wowing fans and scouts with a between-the-legs goal against the Czechs.

Don’t Sleep on Sweden

The Swedes had Covid issues earlier in the tournament. They also didn’t or couldn’t run up the score against Austria the way USA did. They don’t seem quite as impressive as they have been in the past. But that’s when you have to worry about them the most. The Americans face a significant challenge against Sweden. USA is favored but this is a contest that could go either way.

Pick:  Sweden: Moneyline (+100)

Author Image
Discussion

Let's have fun and keep it civil.