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10 teams will play in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden, starting Dec. 26.

The gold medal game will be played on Jan. 5. Team Canada has won the last two gold medals and is the second-best choice to win this year.

Check out our World Junior Championship odds, best bets, and predictions at the top sports betting apps.

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World Junior Championship Odds (BetMGM)

  • USA +200
  • Canada +250
  • Sweden +275
  • Finland +550
  • Czechia +1500
  • Slovakia +5000
  • Switzerland +6600
  • Germany +10000
  • Latvia +30000
  • Norway +50000

World Junior Championship Top Teams

Team USA, Canada, and Sweden have loaded rosters, chock-full of NHL draft choices and players who have plenty of international experience.

Canada, the defending champion, will be led by Macklin Celebrini, a forward from Boston University who is expected to be the top pick in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Another name to watch is Matthew Poitras, a 19-year-old unexpectedly on loan from the Boston Bruins. Poitras has played 27 NHL games with Boston. He has five goals and eight assists.

19 players on Canada’s roster have been drafted by the NHL, so there is plenty of talent. The only question mark is in goal, where only one of the three goaltenders (Scott Ratzlaff) has been drafted. Canada is hoping someone steps up.

Every draft-eligible player on Team USA’s roster has been selected by an NHL team. That includes 10 first-rounders. Boston College is represented by seven players, including first-round picks Cutter Gauthier (Philadelphia Flyers), Ryan Leonard (Washington Capitals), Gabe Perreault (New York Rangers), and Will Smith (San Jose Sharks).

Detroit Red Wings second-round pick, goalie Trey Augustine, has been outstanding as a freshman at Michigan State (11-3-2, 2.97 goals-against average).

Team Sweden has the home-ice advantage and is coming off consecutive bronze medals. The larger international ice surface should favor the Swedes, who many experts believe have the most talented roster in the tournament.

19 Swedes have been drafted in the NHL, including eight first-rounders.

Betting on any of these three top teams would be a good selection. Team USA seems to have more talent; Canada has tradition and always seems to win; Sweden is extremely talented and will have home crowds in its corner.

In these international competitions, it’s difficult to pick against Canada, who might be the best bet of the field. Expect to see Canada and the United States in the gold-medal game with Sweden winning the bronze medal over Finland.

World Junior Championship Value Pick: Finland (+550)

The Finns finished fifth last year. Finland has an outstanding goalie in Niklas Kokko. He was a second-round draft pick (58th player selected overall) of the Seattle Kraken in the 2022 draft. Kokko has played in international competitions since 2020.

Finland plays a ferocious, conscientious checking game. If the Finns can muster up enough offense, they might be a team to keep an eye on.

How to Bet on World Junior Championship

Step One: Open an account with a sportsbook and look for the best sportsbook promos. DraftKings offers numerous by-game bets for each game in the tournament: game lines, total goals, game props, by-period team props, and team total goals.

Step Two: Make a deposit at the sportsbook, which accepts credit cards.

Step Three: Place your bet.

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How to Read World Junior Championship Odds

The Americans are the favorites at +200. That means if you bet $100 on Team USA and the Americans win the gold medal, you win $200.

Norway has the longest odds at +50000. That means a $100 bet on the Norwegians would pay $50,000 if they win the gold medal.

For individual games, the puck line is used. The puck line is a point spread. On the opening day of the tournament, Canada plays Finland. Canada is -1.5 on the puck line; Finland is +1.5. If you bet on Canada, it must win by at least two goals. If you bet on Finland, the Finns can either lose by one goal, or win the game, for you to win your bet.

World Junior Championship Format

The United States is in Group B with Czechia, Norway, Slovakia, and Switzerland. Canada is in Group A with Finland, Germany, Latvia, and Sweden.

The top four teams in each group will advance to the Jan. 2, single-elimination quarterfinals. The semifinals will be played on Jan. 4. The championship game and third-place games will be played on Jan. 5.

Russia is ineligible to participate in international sporting events due to its invasion of Ukraine.

World Junior Championship Schedule (All Times Are ET; All Games Are on NHL Network)

Dec. 26

Slovakia vs. Czechia, 6 a.m.
Finland vs. Canada, 8:30 a.m.
United States vs. Norway, 11 a.m.
Sweden vs. Latvia, 1:30 p.m.

Dec. 27

Slovakia vs. Switzerland, 6 a.m.
Finland vs. Germany, 8:30 a.m.
Norway vs. Czechia, 11 a.m.
Latvia vs. Canada, 1:30 p.m.

Dec. 28

Switzerland vs. United States, 11 a.m.
Germany vs. Sweden, 1:30 p.m.

Dec. 29

Norway vs. Slovakia, 6 a.m.
Latvia vs. Finland, 8:30 a.m.
Czechia vs. United States, 11 a.m.
Canada vs. Sweden, 1:30 p.m.

Dec. 30

Switzerland vs. Norway, 11 a.m.
Germany vs. Latvia, 1:30 pm.

Dec. 31

United States vs. Slovakia, 6 a.m.
Sweden vs. Finland, 8:30 a.m.
Czechia vs. Switzerland, 11 a.m.
Canada vs. Germany, 1:30 p.m.

Jan. 2

Quarterfinal #1, 6 a.m.
Quarterfinal #2, 8:30 a.m.
Quarterfinal #3, 11 a.m.
Quarterfinal #4, 1:30 p.m.

Jan. 4

Relegation game, 5 a.m.
Semifinal #1, 9 a.m.
Semifinal #2, 1:30 p.m.

Jan. 5

Third-place game, 9 a.m.
Championship game, 1:30 p.m.

About the Author
Chuck Bausman

Chuck Bausman

Sports Betting Writer
Chuck Bausman is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today. Bausman has worked 30+ years in journalism and is a former executive sports editor of the Philadelphia Daily News and managing editor of Philly Hockey Now. He is a journalism professor at Rider University.

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