Bet on the WJC
• Helsinki Dec. 26th
• Canada favorites 7/5
• Finland 9/2
The International Ice Hockey Federation World U20 Championship is a bit of a mouthful which is probably why everyone just calls it the World Junior Championships, and this year if you’re going to bet on the WJC you should probably give Finland a second glance because they’ve started to look very strong going into the 2016 tournament that they themselves are hosting.
Showcasing young talent is a good thing in any sport, and bringing together the 10 highest ranked nations from around the world and putting their future ice hockey stars, who are typically scattered to the winds of contracts in overseas leagues, doubly so. It gives fans and coaches a chance to look over those just drafted, and indeed those for whom that pleasure is yet to come. Players take to the ice knowing they’re both representing their country and advertising their own skills.
Officially the tournament started out back 1977 and has been a mainstay of the calendar ever since. Canada particularly has a passion for the competition with massive media coverage and huge grassroots interest that ensures you can bet on the WJC to elicit a strong showing from their players through the years. They’ve won the gold 16 times, the most any country has, and have a long standing rivalry with the other big names in the sport, Sweden, Russia and the USA.
This year those same nations are all set to lead the pack as they take to the ice in Helsinki, with the Canadians still firm favorites but none of the top five teams outside the running. That fifth team in the mix, the hosts, know that all eyes will be on them this tournament and they’ve been calling in players from around the world to make this a team that if you like to bet on sports in Finland you’ll almost certainly want to back if you bet on the WJC.
Will You Bet On The WJC?
Of course national pride, sporting spotlight and possible commercial benefits to players that the tournament has absorbed over the years has always been tempered for those that bet on the WJC by authorities attempting to sell it as a youth event, somehow more innocent than the major league finals or senior championships. It is not an effort, however, that has always succeed with the competition descending to fisticuffs in the dark on at least one notable occasion.
The now infamous “Punch-up in Piestany” took place in 1987 in Czechoslovakia (as was at the time) during a match between Canada and the then Soviet Union. Nominally it was Pavel Kostichkin who initiated events with a somewhat brutal slash to Theoren Fleury, but the arrival of Evgeny Davydov from the bench provoked many other players to join him on the ice, emptying both benches and forcing the officials to abandon the ice and turn the lights off in an effort to get them to stop fighting.
Both teams were ejected from the tournament that year with Canada refusing to go to the end of competition dinner and the Soviet Union actually banned from it. Whilst full scale combat is very rare there are still always encounters between players in ice hockey, and you can always bet on the WJC to be fueled by overly aggressive competitive spirit. This means with Finnish gambling laws as they are you can enjoy a wager at
ComeOn! Sportsbook on any team knowing they’ll be doing their very best.
World Junior Championships 2015 – Helsinki
Whilst focused on team achievement the IIHF do also announce and give an award to the player they see as having been the top goalie of the competition, the best Forward and the most effective Defenceman, awards that are highly prized by players hoping to make a career in the sport and for those that bet on the WJC in the frozen north this year there will be a number of Finns that will be battling for them alongside the Swedes, Russians, Canadians and Americans.
Kasperi Kapanen has been released by Toronto to play and will be joined by Avalanche player Mikko Rantanen. This is good news for Finland as Rantanen lead their scoring last year with four goals in five games and he’ll be looking to do a lot better this time round, indeed Finland as a whole are looking stronger and stronger going into the competition and could well surprise some of the big name teams, something they’d particularly enjoy doing to the Swedes.
Last year in Canada it was the hosts that took gold with Russia getting the silver and Slovakia putting on a strong show to come in third, this year the odds are stacking up on the familiar teams but I’m gambling news of Finland’s preparation will shorten the 9/2 they’re getting before play starts in Helsinki on December 26th. Canada is top at around 7/5, the Swedes get 4/1, the US hovers around 17/4 and Russia are at 5/1. So sure, Finland are fifth favorite, they might be a good bet on the WJC this year.