Canada’s Dylan Cozens celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the U20 Ice Hockey Worlds gold medal match between Canada and Russia in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
- Team Canada faces Team Slovakia in World Junior action on Sunday, December 27th
- The Canadians are listed as heavy favorites after dominating Germany in their first game
- Read below for the game preview and betting odds
Team Canada is being listed as a -7.5 favorite over Team Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championships on Sunday, December 27th in Edmonton, Alberta. The game can be viewed on the NHL Network at 6PM EST.
The Canadians decimated the Germans in their first game of the tournament, while the Slovaks shut out the Swiss. Will the Slovaks be able to keep it competitive against a stacked Canadian squad?
Slovakia vs Canada Odds
|Slovakia||OFF||+7.5 (-135)||O 8.5 (-135)|
|Canada||OFF||-7.5 (-105)||U 8.5 (+100)|
Odds as of Dec 26th
Canadians Off To Hot Start
Canada took down Germany by a ridiculous 16-2 score in their opening game of the tournament. Dylan Cousins had a hat trick and three assists, while Alex Newhook, Dawson Mercer, Philip Tomasino and Peyton Krebs each scored a pair of goals. Goaltender Devon Levi stopped seven of eight shots before giving way to backup Dylan Garand in the third period.
Canada opens the scoring 🚨 1-0 to the boys in red! #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/cGr4aRxA5j
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 26, 2020
It only took one game for Canada to show why they are favored to win the 2021 World Juniors. The Canadians dominated in all facets against the Germans despite losing captain Kirby Dach to injury before the preliminary round even began. Canada is loaded with 19 first-round NHL draft picks on the roster.
While Canada looked unbeatable in their opening game, it’s also important to note that the Germans were undermanned and missing nine players due to COVID-19. This was still an impressive showing from Team Canada players who hadn’t played a competitive hockey game since March.
Latkoczy Stealing Show For Slovaks
Slovakia is 1-0 heading into their clash with Canada thanks in large part to the play of goaltender Simon Latkoczy. The 18-year-old netminder stopped all 28 shots he faced in Friday’s opener against Switzerland, including making a highlight-reel glove save on Swiss defenseman Inaki Baragano during a penalty kill.
Just watch and be amazed.
Simon Latkoczy, you have our attention. 👀#Slovakia #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/BigR3q9V08
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 25, 2020
While Slovakia only managed one goal in their opening game of the tournament, they’ve come a long way after getting crushed by Switzerland 7-3 in the preliminary round last year. The 2020 team has a few talented players who could give Canada trouble, including Los Angeles Kings fifth-round pick Martin Chromiak and Blue Jackets’ third-round pick Samuel Knazko.
Slovakia is still going to be in tough against a loaded Canadian squad. When these two countries last met in the quarterfinals last year, it was all Canada in a dominant 6-1 victory. The Slovaks will need another huge game from Latkoczy to make this game competitive.
What’s The Best Bet?
Slovakia is listed as a big underdog against Canada, and rightfully so when you look at tournament history. The Canadians lead all countries in gold medals at the World Juniors, while the Slovaks have finished in eighth place at seven of the last 11 tournaments.
The one advantage for the Slovaks over the Canadians in this game is rest. Canada will be playing for a second consecutive night, while Slovakia has had a full day of rest after opening the tournament against the Swiss on Friday. It might not matter too much though when you consider Canada has four scoring lines that can step up at any given time.
Latkoczy is the key to betting this game. If he isn’t on top of his game, this one could get out of hand. But Slovakia is capable of keeping this one competitive, and the extra day of rest gives them some value to stay within the large number.
Pick: Slovakia +7.5 (-135)
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. His work has been published by outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports.