Sweden take on the USA at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Saturday 29 December, in what will be the third group game of four for both teams in the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships 2018-19.
Group B is certainly the tougher of the two groups on paper, with Finland also in the mix for top spot alongside Sweden and the USA (with Slovakia and Kazakhstan likely to be somewhat out of their depth at this level).
It means that the games between the big three teams in Group B will be crucial as to who eventually tops it and benefits in the subsequent draw for the knockout stage thereafter.
These teams met almost exactly a year ago at the semi-final stage of the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships 2017-18, which were held in the USA. Despite the USA having the home-ice advantage, it was the Swedes who prevailed 4-2 at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, although they went on to lose 3-1 to Canada in the final.
The Swedes warmed up for the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships 2018-19 in the week or so before the finals with a 4-2 win over the Russians and a 3-1 victory against Denmark.
In preparation for the finals, the USA played Russia and the Czech Republic in friendly games in the week prior to the event. They beat Russia 3-2, then had a more convincing 6-2 win over the Czechs a couple of days later.
All the aforementioned preparation games for both teams were held on neutral territory.
The World Junior Ice Hockey betting in this game will only marginally favour the USA and predictions and tips as to the outcome are far from easy. It’s certainly likely to be tight, but the Swedes will already have faced Finland in their opening group game, so might just be better prepared than a USA team who should make light work of their opening games against Slovakia and Kazakhstan.
We’ll take the Money Line odds on Sweden to win.
Pick: Money Line – Sweden