Despite some lopsided scorers early in the tournament, there hasn’t been a shortage of entertainment to this point.
Just last night we saw the Czech Republic knock off the heavily favored Russians by a 2-0 score in just the latest example of the craziness this tournament delivers on an annual basis.
After three days of consistent action, the schedule slows down on Monday to just two games, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find some picks that deliver value on a day that doesn’t feature the top three favorites to win it all.
With that in mind, let’s check out this Sweden vs. Austria World Junior pick and see if we can rattle off a winner!
Sweden vs. Austria Betting Odds
- Sweden -7.5 (+105)
- Austria +7.5 (-135)
- Over 8.5 (-125)
- Under 8.5 (-105)
Sweden vs. Austria World Junior Pick Breakdown
There isn’t a moneyline offered over at Bovada as the Swedes are clearly monstrous favorites as evidenced by the 7.5 spread on the matchup.
Sweden plays just its second game in day four of the tournament, but took care of the Czechs with authority in a 7-1 win on Saturday afternoon despite allowing the game’s first goal and entering the second period tied 1-1.
Take it however you want, but it was a wildly competitive game to the midway point of the second period. Sweden didn’t make it a 2-1 game until the 9:08 mark of the second, but the flood gates opened form there as two more second-period tallies followed before they added a trio of goals to blow it open in the third period.
Philip Broberg — the 2019 Edmonton Oiler first-round pick — stood out as a monster for the Swedes, assisting on all three second-period goals while flying all around the ice in the offensive zone. Known more for his offensive ability than his play in his own end, Broberg can help a depleted Swedish forward group that was forced to keep a few key players back home.
— Ahmed Mayta (@AhmedMayta) July 11, 2020
As a result, the strength of this team is its group on the blueline, a group that also contains six other NHL-drafted players. Despite boasting the likes of 2020 first-rounders Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz up front, this Swedish defense is likely to decide how they fare in this tournament.
In goal, Hugo Alnefelt was sharp for Sweden, making some saves earlier in the game to keep his team in it and allowing them time to find their legs against a Czech team that was seemingly ready to pounce on rusty Swedish club.
Alnefelt — a 2019 Tampa Bay Lightning third-round pick — will also be a key factor the Swedes as a compliment to their sturdy back end. If he can play throughout this tournament as he did in the team’s opener, his club will be an upset threat despite the losses to the forward group along with a large turnover from last year’s club.
One of the lopsided outcomes of the second day of the tournament involved Austria who were shelled 11-0 by a high-octane United States offense. Not only was the score far from competitive, but the 73-10 advantage in shots for the U.S. is a good indication of how this one went despite Austrian netminder Sebastian Wraneschitz making a whopping 59 saves in just 50 minutes before departing the game midway through the third due to injury.
That said, likes the Swedes against the Czechs, it did take a while for the U.S. to break through as the scoring wasn’t opened until a little more than four minutes to go in the first period.
That said, the U.S. did outshoot the Austrians 22-3 in the first as Wraneschitz made several big stops along with a handful of goalposts rattled by the U.S. attack.
The headliner on this Austrian club is forward Marco Rossi, the ninth overall pick of the Minnesota Wild in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Rossi led the Ontario Hockey League in scoring last season, tallying a whopping 120 points in just 56 games.
— Ahmed Mayta (@AhmedMayta) July 11, 2020
However, his game was largely non-existent in the team’s tournament opener as the Austria’s played nearly the entire game in their own end of the ice, something that could happen again in game No. 2 for a team that hasn’t competed in this tournament since 2010.
Austria was able to storm their way into this tournament in the Division 1A qualifying tournament over the likes of Denmark, Norway, Latvia and Slovenia, but their top forward from that group was Benjamin Baumgartner who aged out from competing in the World Juniors.
While Rossi remains a name to keep an eye on, the Austria’s are in for more tough sledding against a Sweden team that is capable of dominating once again.
Sweden vs. Austria World Junior Pick
The lack of a moneyline and the 7.5-goal spread is a clear indication of how this one should shake out. Of course, there’s always some upsets in this tournament and some games are far closer than expected as evidenced by Canada’s slim 3-1 win (with an empty-netter) Sunday night against Slovakia.
When it comes to handicapping the World Juniors, we only have so much history and numbers to go with, unlike the NHL when we get to know teams after 10, 20, 30 games.
That said, I have my eye on one play I like the most and that’s the Swedes at -7.5. It’s a monster spread to be sure, but there’s some things to consider here.
One, I’m not sure the Austria’s are going to score in this one. That would seemingly put the under 8.5 at play (-105), however I’m not exactly sure they can defend Sweden, either.
The U.S. boasts a superior offense to Sweden, however we saw the Swedes hang seven on the Czechs and six in the final 30 minutes of the game. That’s a Czech team that just shutout Russia.
Also, with Wraneschitz questionable after leaving with cramps (although I believe he’ll play), the Swedes could catch a break and face backup Jakob Brandner in this one.
Usually, such high spreads can lead to some risky propositions in this tournament, but given the first games of the tournament from each of these clubs, I’ll have the Swedes pounding Austria in game No. 2.