Hockey fans and bettors can get in on the action a little earlier this year thanks to the NHL dusting off the World Cup of Hockey. And odds to win the World Cup are already out at online sportsbook Bodog.
This will be the third instance of the World Cup, which hasn’t been played since 2004. That year Canada took the gold with a win over Finland in the best-of-three final. One player actually returns from that winning roster, as veteran Joe Thornton dons the Maple Leaf once again.
Canada also played in the best-of-three final in the inaugural World Cup in 1996 when they lost to the United States.
At Bodog the oddsmakers have listed Canada as a big -105 favorite to win the tournament. With their roster and recent history in international tournaments, who can blame them. Two years ago in Sochi Canada took home the gold medal after defeating Sweden in the final.
Most of that team returns, led by Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Jamie Benn and John Tavares up front. On the blue line Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, Shea Weber and Alex Pietrangelo are all back. Some new faces that didn’t go to Sochi include Steven Stamkos, Claude Giroux, Brad Marchand, and Brent Burns. Carey Price will be in nets, if healthy, but Braden Holtby is ready if he’s needed.
After Canada on the World Cup odds list at Bodog is Russia at +400, Sweden at +500, and the United States at +600.
Russia packs plenty of firepower including Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Vladimir Tarasenko. But, as usual there are questions on defense and their goaltending always seems to be a problem in these tournaments.
Sweden’s defense is almost unfair with Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman and Oliver Ekman-Larsson leading the way. With Nicklas Backstrom, Filip Forsberg and the Sedin twins up front they can’t be taken lightly.
Meanwhile, Team USA will try to recapture their former glory from 1996, when Mike Richter led them to the gold. Patrick Kane will try to lead the Americans to another gold this fall.
The most interesting team in the tournament to watch should be the North American Under 23 squad at +1600; the roster is basically the Canada and USA squads from future World Cups. Led by Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Johnny Gaudreau and Auston Matthews the young guns will have plenty of talent and speed, but will their lack of experience matter?
Odds to win World Cup of Hockey at Bodog
North America U23 +1600
Czech Republic +2000
Team Europe +3300