Team Canada’s 3-2 win over Russia in their pre-tournament finale has solidified their spot atop the odds to win the World Cup of Hockey at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Canada tallied two wins in three pre-tournament contests, but have been forced to make a number of roster changes prior to opening the event with Saturday night’s game against the Czech Republic at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Tyler Seguin is the latest member of Team Canada to go down with an injury. Seguin joins forwards Jamie Benn and Jeff Carter and rearguard Duncan Keith, each members of Canada’s 2014 Olympic gold medal team, as players scratched from the roster this summer.
Both Benn and Seguin finished last season among the NHL scoring leaders. However, O’Reilly impressed in his first season in Buffalo, netting 60 points, while Couture played some of the best hockey of his career last spring, scoring 30 playoff points for the Sharks.
Canada’s depth and past success in best-on-best tournaments has given them a win expectancy of 38.71 per cent for the 2016 World Cup according to website PredictionMachine.com.
Canada is joined in Group A of the tournament by the United States. The Americans showed a nasty side in their two pre-tournament clashes with Canada, racking up 49 total penalty minutes, and have been vocal about their desire to avenge their elimination at Canadian hands at both the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.
The Americans trail Canada on the odds to emerge as the winner of Group A, listed at +200, while Canada sits as -225 chalk. The Russians, meanwhile, are deadlocked with Sweden as +200 co-favourites to finish atop the Group B standings of the tournament.
The Russians split a pair of pre-tournament matchups with the Czech Republic before this week’s loss to Canada, and have finished no higher than fourth in the two previous editions of this event. Sweden dropped two of their three games in pre-tournament action.
Team North America is then just a step back at +225 odds to win Group B, with the highly skilled young guns scoring 13 total goals while winning two of their three pre-tournament clashes. That boosted their odds to win the tournament, which had opened at a distant +2000, subsequently improved to +1200, and have since settled in at +700 on the eve of the event.