Russia vs. Austria World Junior Pick – December 29, 2020

Russia Vs Austria IIHF

It was a 1-1 night with last night’s World Junior picks, and we notched a small profit in the process. However, the hockey gods were not on our side in this one.

We had Sweden on the puckline -7.5 at +100, and given the final shot count of 65-6, I would have hammered that pick with authority. The United States posted a similar count a couple days earlier and won that one 11-0. However, Austrian netminder Sebastian Wraneschitz stood on his head and made 61 saves on those 65 shots (.938 Sv%) and the 4-0 final in favor of Sweden ended up falling well short.

Also of note was the last-second announcement that Sweden captain Philip Broberg would miss the game due to a minor injury. A heads up there would have been nice, but Wraneschitz still robbed us of that pick.

Nonetheless, we hit Germany as +115 underdogs against Slovakia. Despite reports of Germany getting bodies back on top of No. 1 goaltender Florian Bugl falling through, it was a wildly entertaining game. The teams traded goals throughout, and eventually the game was forced into overtime with the score at 3-3.

The Slovaks were whistled for hooking in the extra frame and the Germans scored on the ensuing man advantage, capping the upset in the process. Despite just 14 bodies available, it was an unbelievable effort from the likes of Tim Stutzle, J.J. Peterka and Bugl as Germany continues to fight major adversity in this tournament.

Add it up and we notched a small 0.15-unit profit as we move on to tonight’s three-game schedule!

Now it’s time to check out this Russia vs. Austria World Junior pick from the Edmonton bubble!

Russia vs. Austria Betting Odds

  • Russia -7.5 (-110)
  • Austria +7.5 (-120)
  • Over 9.0 (+105)
  • Under 9.0 (-135)

Russia vs. Austria World Junior Pick Breakdown

Russia

Russia will be looking for a bounce back in this one tonight after they were victimized by the Czech Republic in the tournament’s biggest upset to this point by a score of 2-0 on Sunday.

The upset loss came after the Russians began the tournament with a nice win over a rival USA team that boasts some serious firepower up front.

While the Czechs played a near-perfect defensive game and put on a shot-blocking clinic in the upset, the Russians would admit it wasn’t their best effort despite the suffocating defense from their opponent.

Most notably, Toronto Maple Leafs first-round pick Rodion Amirov had a rare off night. Amirov was staged for a big tournament coming off top forward honors at the Karjala Cup, a tournament in which the Russians dominated en route to winning it all. Many of the players on Russia’s World Junior roster were part of that Karjala Cup-winning team.

Amirov was demoted to the second line in the loss to the Czechs while Vasily Podkolzin, Yegor Chinakhov and Marat Khusnutdinov are players that the team also relied on for offense that were unable to break through in the contest.

Underneath those names is a general lack of firepower on this Russian offense as it’s not as deep as the Canadians and Americans in this tournament, but Russia does have a potential superstar in goal.

I’m not seeing him confirmed as tonight’s starter as such information is difficult to come by in this tournament, but Yaroslav Askarov was arguably the highest-regarded netminder heading into this tournament alongside the States’ Spencer Knight.

Askarov struggled at last year’s event, but the 2020 11th overall pick of the Nashville Predators has posted a decent 2.54 GAA and .909 Sv% through two games in this year’s event. However, you can also look to his eye-popping 0.96 GAA and .962 Sv% in seven games with St. Petersburg of the KHL as proof of his prospect hype.

That said, with a matchup against Sweden on tap tomorrow, there’s a strong chance Artur Akhtyamov gets the nod. The 2020 Maple Leafs fourth-round pick posted some excellent number this season in the Russian junior league and owns a decent 2.90 GAA and .904 Sv% in three games with AK Bars Kazan of the KHL. He’s more than capable of shutting down an Austrian offense that has yet to score in two games so far.

Austria

Indeed, it’s been a tough go on offense for an Austrian team making its first appearance in this event since 2010.

The Austrians were thumped with authority by the Americans 11-0 in their tournament opener followed by a 4-0 loss to Sweden on Monday. They have managed just 16 shots on goal between the two games and have allowed in excess of 130.

Last night’s 4-0 loss to the Swedes features a gargantuan 61-save effort from goaltender Sebastian Wraneschitz, who also made 56 saves against the United States on Sunday before having to leave the game with cramps. When you are seeing that much rubber, cramps are darn-near inevitable.

After he was forced into equally difficult duty last night, it’s unclear if Wraneschitz will be available for this one tonight. Given his effort so far, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him back in there, but the draft-eligible netminder could very well be out of gas even if he gets the nod again tonight.

It’s been unfortunate that we haven’t beeb able to see much of Minnesota Wild 2020 ninth overall pick Marco Rossi in this tournament given how much time his team has spent defending in their own end. Rossi paced the Ontario Hockey League with a whopping 120 points in just 56 games last season, but we haven’t been able to see much of the 19-year-old in this tournament and it’s unlikely that changes tonight.

Russia vs. Austria World Junior Pick

I doubt Askarov plays in this one tonight, but a Russian blowout is overwhelmingly likely in this one.

There’s little doubt the forward group will be hungry for redemption after posting a goose egg in the loss to the Czechs, and I expect the top six to go crazy in this one even if the bottom six doesn’t stack up well against other offenses in this tournament.

Amirov, Podkolzin, Chinakhov and Khusnutdinov are names to keep an eye on for the bulk of the Russian scoring this one, and I think there will be a lot of it.

To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me who gets the nod in this one for Austria. Wraneschitz could very well start, but he was absolutely peppered last night for the second straight game and playing two games in two nights after facing 65 shots the first night is not an ideal situation for a goaltender.

Unlike Sweden last night, we’ll need the Russians to capitalize on their dozens of shots in this one tonight. We’ll also need them to keep the Austrians to likely one goal or less, but I have very little choice here but to take the Russian on the big puckline spread of -7.5 at -110.

The Bet
RUSSIA -7.5
-110
Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.