When the IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off on Thursday, two Group B teams will enter the tournament with the best odds to win gold — Canada and the United States.
Canada has the edge over its southern rival with Russia rounding out the top three. The Czech Republic, which hosts this year's tournament, slots in at sixth out of a possible 10. Canada's roster is filled with NHL-level talent in the form of previously-drafted players and ones knocking on the door of the 2020 NHL draft. Highlighted by projected first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere, Canada's biggest test will be within its own group when they square off with the U.S. on Thursday.
While the top three most-favorable teams are all packed in Group B, Sweden and Finland — fourth and fifth-most favorable — are in Group A. Teams in Group A include Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovakia and Kazakhstan while Group B consists of the United States, Russia, Canada, the Czech Republic and Germany.
Just as two teams sit at the top, two teams are forced to the bottom in the form of Germany and Kazakhstan, which share an identical betting line for taking home the gold at +10000.
World Juniors primer: A team-by-team guide to the 2020 under-20 championship
2020 IIHF World Junior Championship Odds
Czech Republic +1800
Betting odds courtesy of Odds Shark as of Dec. 26.