Team USA vs. Canada Hockey Juniors: Betting Advice, Analysis

Team USA vs. Canada Hockey Juniors: Betting Advice, Analysis
© USA Today

Hello, Canadian and American hockey fans! It’s that time! The IIHF World Junior Semifinal is tonight. 

The semifinal comes live to you from Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. Nova Scotia, Canada. 

Below is a table with some numbers from BetMGM and DraftKings

Moneyline Table Time

Team DraftKings BetMGM
Canada -200 -210
USA +160 +160

How the U.S. and Canada Look Going into Semis

The round-robin stage showed us how vulnerable Canada and the USA were in this tournament. 

Again, the shocker may have been how Canada had to survive against a remarkably game Slovakia squad. A late penalty gave a power play to the Canadians, who took full advantage. Connor Bedard, the number one 2023 NHL draft prospect, showed his mettle by scoring the game-winner to advance Canada to the semifinal.

Canada feels like the favorite based on history and home-ice advantage. This is the third time in a row that the tournament has been hosted in Canada. It would surprise no one if Canada ultimately went on to win the gold medal. However, Canada needed help to defeat Finland, and everyone knows what happened in Edmonton in 2021.

The thought process leans on a Canadian team full of physical might and determination. However, this is a more even tournament than some believe. Look at how Team USA struggled and how tough Czechia was to play. Canada and the Americans lost in the group stage, which is almost unheard of. The world is catching up, even if the oddsmakers do not think so.

Do the Canadians Have the Advantage?

Shane Wright and Connor Bedard headline this team. Bedard has been the scene stealer, and rightfully so. Few players can even contain the all-world talent at this level. That number may be even less than a few. 

In Canada’s 4-3 overtime win versus Slovakia, Canada fired 57 shots on goal and had nearly 40 scoring chances. Their volume makes a case for scoring in bunches. 

Thomas Milic will start for Canada. Canada has this love-hate relationship with goaltending in these tournaments. Milic took the starter’s job and ran with it in this tournament. His 1.69 goals-against average is solid, but there were a couple of moments in that Slovakia game. Again, this is a game of emotions and keeping composed. This will be Milic and Canada’s biggest test. 

This tournament always seems to boil down to transitional offense, special teams, and goaltending. Canada has an advantage in two of those three phases. The question mark is always that third. The moneyline has jumped out as high as -210 and the idea of Canada winning by more than a goal is uncertain at best.

The Americans And Where To Place Our Money

As always, we will have some picks, primarily via Twitter. The idea at the start was to toss one unit on Canada with a half-unit hedge on Finland and a quarter unit on the Americans. Now, the Americans were always the wildcard. The irony lies in the fact that Finland was the country that lost in the quarterfinals to Sweden. 

Rand Pecknold, coach of Team USA, felt the team had to play close to his college coaching style to win. He may not be far off. The Americans can play physically enough to combat the Canadians. If they can strike early, do they introduce that seed of doubt in Canada? No lead will be safe based on history, either. Keep that in mind. 

Trey Augustine has played well for Team USA in goal and will be tested often in this game. For as good as Red Savage, Luke Hughes, and Logan Cooley are, Canada comes in waves, and their offensive depth ranks as the best this tournament offers. This game will not just start. It will erupt! 

Expect a wild game tonight between the countries that meet at the 49th parallel. Here are a few picks to consider. 

  • Canada moneyline at - 200 (½ unit)
  • USA Moneyline at +160 (½ unit)
  • USA and Canada to combine Over 6.5 goals (-115) via BetMGM
  • Connor Bedard anytime goal (check number)
  • USA to win by 1 at +875 (¼ unit)
  • Canada to win by 1 at +625 (¼ unit)

Again, good luck everyone and yes there is still the Final to be played tomorrow night after this!

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