Hockey World Cup Betting 2016 Part 2 Predictions
We preview the eight teams that will compete in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey yesterday, and at the end of our preview, we promised our futures pick on the team that we believe will win the tournament. So, without further ado, here is our forecast.
Sweden is a 6/1 favorite to win the 2016 World Cup of Hockey
Sweden, in our opinion, is the only team that enters the 2016 World Cup of Hockey with no major doubts. They were drawn in a favorable Group Stage with Finland (no top goalie), North America (no veterans as the team is made up of players aged 23 and under), and Russia (who never seems to show up in international play).
And, despite the presence of the United States and Canada in Group A, those teams are not without problems. The US has gone back and forth on their starting goalie; Canada’s blue line isn’t as deep as it usually is; the Czech roster has been ravaged by injuries; and Team Europe is a collection of players playing without a country.
That leaves the Swedes, who we believe have the best overall team in the tournament. They have Henrik Lundqvist in goal, and their defense is by far the best in the tournament. Erik Karlsson is the team’s leader and captain, and he will be manning the back end with guys like Oliver Ekman-Larrson, who will be a future Norris Trophy winner, and Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, who led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals.
Niklas Hjalmarsson, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks, and Mattias Ekholm and Hampus Lindholm, two of the best puck-moving defensemen in the NHL, will round out the blue line.
The team may not be as loaded up front as the American, Canadian, Russian, or North American squads, but there is talent. Sweden consistently performs well in these international tournaments, and a large part of that is due to their ability to quickly gel as a team once these rosters are put together.
Teams don’t usually have a lot of time to bond in practice, but many of these guys have been playing together since they were six or seven years old in Sweden before coming over to play in juniors or the NHL. The Sedin twins, Nicklas Backstrom, Loui Eriksson, Filip Forsberg, and Patric Hornqvist are still big names up front. And, while Backstrom was the only forward to finish in the Top 20 in NHL scoring, they have the depth to compete.
Add to that the fact that the team has guys (Lundqvist, Sedin twins) who were on the team that won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2006, guys who won the World Championships in 2013 (Sedin twins, Loui Eriksson, and backup goalie Jacob Markstrom), and guys who finished second to Canada at the World Juniors in 2009 (Hedman, Karlsson, and Mikael Backlund), and we think they have the perfect balance of young talent, veteran leadership
Alan Harris is one of the country’s top hockey handicappers, having won three of the last four years, and he will be releasing plays throughout the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Those plays will be listed in the “Other Sports” category on his page beginning Saturday, September 17, 2016, when the tournament begins.
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