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WJC semifinals: Does Sweden Have the Edge as the Underdog?

The hopefully sold-out Bell Centre in Montreal will host the semifinal clash between Canada and Sweden tonight and despite their body of work that has proved they are a better team than the Canucks, the Swedes have been pegged as the underdog. The Canadians have underwhelmed on most fronts at this tournament but what could lead to their untimely demise tonight is their shaky goaltending.

  • Sweden and Canada have not played in the medal round at the WJC since 2009.
  • Canada’s goalies have combined for a .874 SV % and 2.21 GAA this tournament.
  • Sweden has generated 186 shots at the WJC, the most of any team this year.

This is the worst possible matchup for the Canadians, who have struggled significantly at the defensive end of the ice. Sweden has had the best puck movement of any team in the tournament and has been arguably the most consistent squad. They have the WJC's leading scorer in Alexander Nylander and have the top six players on the plus-minus leaderboard. One area they have been exposed, however, is on the penalty kill. Sweden has been short-handed 18 times and has given up five goals. With nine power-play goals, Canada has been the most efficient team with the man advantage.

With that said, the Canadians have been a horribly boring team to watch five-on-five and could be caught off guard by the speed and talent of these Swedes. The +110 value being offered at online shop Bovada is hard to ignore for Team Sweden tonight. With a team save percentage of .926, Filip Gustavsson and Felix Sandstrom have been two of the most solid tendies in the tournament and as we’ve seen, Canada has struggled to beat quality goaltending.

The total tonight is locked in at six and you can probably go ahead and put a good-sized bet on the OVER. Sweden and Canada have combined to score 52 goals through their five respective games and it seems like every weakness each team has will be exposed by the other team's strengths.

If you are thinking about taking Canada, you may want to take them on the -1.5 puckline as one-goal victories have been somewhat of a rarity at this tournament.

World Junior Hockey: Canada vs Sweden Odds
Sweden+1.5 (-265)+1106 (-130) OVER
Canada-1.5 (+185)-1406 (EVEN) UNDER

Odds as of January 4, 2017 at Bovada