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Team North America: More Than Just a Novelty

Team North America, once a +1400 dark horse to win the World Cup of Hockey and the team that was thought to be just a novelty, is quickly becoming one of the favorites to knock off Team Canada. The young guns will look to begin their tournament 2-0-0 with a win over the Russians, who will essentially be fighting for their tournament lives tonight.

  • Including pre-tournament, all of Russia’s games have been decided by one goal.
  • The Russians’ average age is 27, Team North America’s is 21.8.
  • Team North America has 5 first overall picks, Russia has 1 (Alex Ovechkin).

The under-23s looked phenomenal in pre-tournament play and proved their might in their first “real” game against Finland. They dispatched the Finns with a dominant 4-1 win last night in which they peppered Pekka Rinne with 43 shots. The speed advantage that pretty much everyone said NA would have coming into this tournament was largely on display Sunday night as the kids made the Finnish skaters look sluggish.

The Russians are not known for their dynamic play during international competition and that proved true in their first game against Sweden. When the one-timers weren’t happening, the offence didn’t. If that trend continues – and I see no reason why it wouldn’t – Russia may, once again, have a tough time scoring.

The Stanley Cup-winning Matt Murray was superb in net for NA as he stopped 24 of 25 Finnish shots in the Game 1 victory. Despite the Russians’ ineptitude in the tournament so far, their goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, has actually been pretty good. He made 27 saves in Russia’s loss to Sweden and should be able to keep his team within striking distance tonight.

Bovada has lines up for the contest and has NA pegged as the -130 favorite on the moneyline. This gives the Russians a little value as underdogs at EVEN money and as we’ve seen at this tournament, any team can beat any team – looking at you, America.

World Cup of Hockey: Team North America vs Team Russia 

Russia-1.5 (+230)EVEN5.5 (-150) OVER
North America+1.5 (-325)-1305.5 (+115) UNDER

Odds as of September 19 at Bovada