IIHF World Championships Betting Preview
Bodog bettors’ eyes might have been firmly trained on the NHL playoffs, but that’s not the only big hockey tournament to set our sights on this month.
Featuring virtually every hockey-playing country with a national team (that’s 16 all up – noting the exclusion of the Russian and Belarusian teams), the World Championships is an international competition that differs from other major tournaments in several ways. Firstly, it’s held every year, unlike the Hockey World Cup and the Winter Olympics. It’s also held across several countries, rather than by one hosting in one place.
The 2022 tournament divisions have been underway for several months, with the Division IV tournament taking place in early March in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and the Division I competition freshly finished up on May 8th in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Despite all the quality games leading up to it, it’s really the Championship that gets all the attention. As the top tier of the World Championships, it showcases the world’s very best hockey nations, including Canada, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and the United States.
This year, the Championship is being shared between Tampere and Helsinki in Finland and will run between May 13-29, 2022.
After winning its 27th gold medal last year, Canada will be hoping to cement its position at the top of the overall medal rankings even further with a record 28th victory this time out. The country has a habit of winning back-to-back golds at the World Championships, having done it most recently in 2003 and 2004 and then again in 2015 and 2016.
But can Canada do it again? Ahead of this year’s competition, we’ve been taking a look at the IIHF World Championship betting odds to see how they stack up.
Finland are currently the favourites to win the tournament this year. In March 2022, the Nordic nation overtook Canada for the top spot in the IIHF World Rankings, thanks in part to the fact that Finland came out ahead when they played together in the Winter Olympic quarter-final in February.
They’re a team with few weaknesses, and they’ve proven this several times in recent matches. With legendary players like Sakari Manninen, Valtteri Filppula, and Teemu Hartikainen, it’s easy to see why.
Finland wasn’t always the hockey powerhouse that it is today, but it has risen up the ranks sharply in recent years. Its current odds of +225 reflect the fact that they’re the best but could still be beaten by other strong teams.
Close behind is Canada with odds of +325. As the 2021 winners, we know they have what it takes to go all the way.
Canada was missing a few NHL players back in February, and had to make up the numbers with some second-preferences. This included Eric Staal as captain, his first international appearance in nine years.
The team for this year’s World Championships features several key players responsible for the success last time out in Latvia. This includes young talent like Braden Schneider and Jaret Anderson-Dolan, and more experienced hands like Adam Henrique.
With the dearth of missing players corrected, Canada could have what it takes to go for gold again in 2022.
Breathing down the necks of the Canadians is Sweden, a nation that’s hosted and taken part in more World Championships than any other country. The Swedes haven’t won a gold medal in the World Championship since 2018 and have slid down the IIHF rankings since then.
The team is on the rebound, however, climbing two places to fifth in March, in recognition of its fourth-place finish at the Olympics. There, only Finland, Russia, and Slovakia ranked higher, but Russia isn’t taking part in the World Championship now and Slovakia were punching above their weight.
Henrik Tömmernes was a key part of the Swedish Olympic team and he’ll be looking to improve on fourth when he captains the squad again this month.
Czech Republic (+600)
The Czech Republic is currently ranked 7th in the IIHF World Rankings having slid down one spot after they finished 9th in the Olympics. The Czechs still have better odds than the USA and Switzerland, two teams that are ranked higher.
Led by Jan Kovář, a player with nine years of senior international experience, the team has a solid leader. They have, however, been unable to win a medal during his tenure as captain though that problem started before he was added to the roster.
The roster for the Czech World Championship team has yet to be released, but we can expect talented players like David Krejčí and Michael Frolík to be included.
The Czechs are never far away despite it all, having made it to the quarter-finals last year. If luck is on their side and they can dig deep, there’s a chance the Czech Republic could end their decade-long medal drought.
Given that the NHL is dominated by American players, you’d expect the US national team to clean up at international tournaments. They’re often up there in the battle for gold, but they’ve mostly landed silvers and bronzes.
At the World Championship, the USA hasn’t picked up a gold since 1960 or a silver since 1956. In fact, its last gold medal was won at the first World Cup of Hockey in 1996, a tournament with only eight teams.
Like Canada, the USA was short on quality players at the Winter Olympics back in February after NHL players were not permitted to take part. That also meant that a new coach had to be found as Mike Sullivan couldn’t be released from his duties at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
That problem won’t exist for the World Championships. In Finland, the American team will feature veteran players like Nate Schmidt and Seth Jones, as well as some promising young talent like Luke Hughes and Ben Meyers.
They’ll be hoping that’s enough to get them further than a quarter-final defeat this time around.
There’s plenty going on in the hockey world this month, but the IIHF World Championship is the highlight you won’t want to miss. With several teams in close competition for topdog status, you can expect a nail-biting tournament with plenty of great betting opportunities at Bodog.
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