USA vs. Russia: 2021 World Juniors Hockey

The 2021 World Juniors are starting off with an incredible matchup between the United States and Russia. The game will be held tonight on December 25th and will start at 9:30 PM. 

Sportsbooks have odds on the event, with neither team playing much of a favorite. 

With only hours left until the beginning of the tournament, let's recap some statistics from past years. A quick comparison between the United States and Russian achievements at the World Juniors. 

United States and Russia at the World Juniors 

United States
12Total Medals23
9Finals Appearances14
4Gold Medals4
Quarterfinals Exit2020 World Juniors ResultSecond Place

The Tougher Group Will Only Make Us Stronger

It's quite obvious that Group B is the stronger of the two, and therefore will be more competitive. Going into the tournament, the USA and Russia are the two favorites to win the group. 

You can learn more about the composition of the United States national team roster for the World Juniors 2021 tournament in Canada in the Legalbet betting center on the page of the opening  match against the Russian team.

The sportsbook odds are incredibly close, with some sportsbooks like BetMGM placing the game at a complete draw, with +140 for each team. You are not going to find any real favorite in this matchup. 

United States - A Redemption Year After 2020

The United States team was shocked in last year’s World Juniors after not even making it to the semifinals. This actually marked the only time in five years that the team did not end up in the top three and on the podium. 

Good news for our team is that the United States have had a pleasant record against the Russians as of late, winning the last six games in a row against the Kremlin. 

This is including a friendly in 2018 as well as five in a row at the World Juniors. 

Furthermore, the United States have lost just four out of 20 group stage games during the past five World Junior tournaments. Looking at these statistics puts the shock of last year’s performance more into perspective. 

The main identifiable trend in games between the United States and Russia is the goals scored by both teams. Despite the overall difficulty of the World Juniors, both teams have scored in each of the 21 games between the two. 

According to Legalbet experts:

In this particular game, it is more profitable to bet on the victory of one of the teams combined with the bet ‘both will score’ than just to win.

The United States team will be more focused on attacking play. In the past five World Juniors, our boys have not once dropped below a 4.25 goals per game average in the group stages. 

Against the Russians, the United States have scored at least two goals in each of the last five games. 

Russia - The United States is a Traditionally Dangerous Opponent

For the Russian National Team, the World Juniors will be away. A long way away with approximately a nine hour flight to Edmonton. This means the team will need to acclimate and get used to the time zone, both of which take time that the team does not have. 

Of course, the Russians would have preferred to have started the tournament matched against anyone in Group B rather than the United States. It would be a minor stretch to expect exceedingly good results from Russia in the first game. 

The United States National team at the youth level is traditionally a very unpleasant rival for the Russians. Since 2016, the Russians have not been able to defeat the US. This period of time included four losses in regular time and one loss in a shootout. 

On the positive side for the Russian team, the team’s performance at the 2020 Karjala Tournament earned it a first place finish. Russia beat every team in regulation other than the Swedish. 

The goalkeeper Yaroslav Askarov was a standout. In three games at the 2020 Karjala Tournament, he conceded only three goals and was recognized as the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Defense can be the key to the team’s success against the United States.

When evaluating the two teams, on the surface they are more or less equals. In 21 matchups between the two, the goal difference was more than two only on five occasions. 

In ten of these games, the final goal differential was only one. 

Legalbet Expert Analysis of the Upcoming Game USA vs. Russia

Russia is a balanced team that has played several games with this team, and so a strong start to the World Juniors is not completely out of the question. 

Even though the Russian team is coming off of a Karjala Cup tournament win, the statistics are relentless. The team usually starts poorly at the World Juniors. 

In addition, this is in all respects a home game for the United States, playing in their own backyard. The US team has also already beaten Finland 3-2 in a friendly before the tournament. Our team has also won five straight against Russia at the World Juniors, not exactly a fluke. 

We look forward to a great game, and have plenty of confidence in our team. The sportsbooks got it right, as neither team should be given a major advantage in this game. 

On our end though, we are backing the United States to make it six in a row against Russia.