- Russian and Finland faceoff in the Bronze Medal Game at the 2021 World Juniors on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021
- The Russians are listed as the favorite despite getting blown out by Canada in the semifinals
- Read below for the odds, spread, and betting preview
Russia and Finland will do battle for the bronze medal at the 2021 World Juniors on Tuesday, January 5th. Puck drop is set for 5:30 PM EST at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta. The game can be viewed on the NHL Network.
The Russians were blown out by Canada in the semifinals, while the Finns almost upset the Americans. Both teams will be hungry to salvage their tournament by bringing home a medal.
Russia is being listed as -124 favorites in the game. Which team is the best bet?
Russia vs Finland Bronze Medal Odds
|Russia||-124||-1.5 (+220)||O 5.5 (+104)|
|Finland||+102||+1.5 (-286)||U 5.5 (-127)|
Odds taken Jan 5th at DraftKings
Russians Dominated by Canada
Russia was no match for a stacked Canadian team in the semifinals of the World Juniors. The Russians were shutout 5-0 in a game in which they failed to generate many high-danger scoring chances. They started very poorly and came out of the first period already trailing 3-0.
Knees not weak, arms not heavy, it’s COLE PERFETTI #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/tKJbNrs1aa
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 4, 2021
While Russia couldn’t find the back of the net, one of the bigger concerns was the play of goaltender Yaroslav Askarov. The Nashville Predators’ draft pick looked shaky in the crease and lost his stick on multiple plays that led to goals. Betting on the Russians means betting on the talented goaltender bouncing back in a big way.
Russia is led on offense by Vancouver Canucks’ prospect Vasili Podkolzin, who has been limited to just two goals and four points through six games. Maple Leafs’ draft pick Rodion Amirov is the only Russian player who is averaging at least a point per game this tournament (2G, 4A, 6 PTS).
Finns Fall Short Against USA
Finland will be competing in the Bronze Medal game after losing a close 4-3 game to the Americans in the semifinals. The game was tied 3-3 late in the third period before USA forward Arthur Kaliyev broke the deadlock with a perfect shot.
The Finns showed great resilience in the game, rallying from a 3-1 deficit and holding a talented American squad to just 26 shots on goal. Los Angeles Kings’ prospect Kasper Simontaival scored twice for the Finns, while Leafs’ prospect Roni Hirvonen had the other goal.
??? @leijonat answers right back on the #powerplay with a little tic-tac-goal by Kasper Simontaival. #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/5MuUveg9Fg
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) January 5, 2021
Finland’s power play has been one of their biggest strengths at the tournament. They struck twice with the man advantage against the Americans and have now scored eight power-play goals in six games. It will be tough to keep that momentum going against a Russian penalty kill that leads the tournament in efficiency (90%).
What’s The Best Bet?
It’s very rare for the Russians to go home without a medal. They’ve medalled in nine of the last 10 World Juniors and are sure to play with an edge after getting embarrassed by Canada. Finland is known for going on incredible gold medal runs at his tournament, but they’ve actually only medalled in three of the last 14 World Juniors.
Askarov should rebound against Finland, but the Finns have the defense to keep Russia’s offense in check. Finland has only given up 14 goals this tournament and boasts a blueline with several talented NHL prospects. Topi Niemelä (TOR), Santeri Hatakka (SJS), and Ville Heinola (WPG) are all playing key roles on this Finnish defense.
These two teams haven’t played each other at this tournament since 2016 when Finland defeated Russia 4-3 in the gold-medal game. The Russians have only scored twice in their last two games, and the Finns have the defense to make sure those struggles continue. Bet on Askarov bouncing back and the two teams playing a tight-checking, low-scoring affair.
Pick: Under 5.5 goals (-127)