The 2016 IIHF World Championship takes place from the 6-22 May 2016, with Russia the hosts. Matches will be played in the country’s two biggest cities, Moscow and St Petersburg, with 16 teams bidding for glory. Our preview of this wonderful event takes a look at the outright winner betting and offers up our thoughts on how the 17 day festival of ice hockey will pan out. As well as betting tips and predictions, our live odds comparison offers the best odds, saving you time and ensuring you always get the best odds and the biggest value.

Hosts Russia will be desperate to claim revenge over Canada, the North Americans having defeated them in the 2015 World Championship final. That game, played in Czech Republic, was somewhat one-sided, as the star-studded Canadian side romped to a comfortable 6-1 victory. That meant they went through the entire tournament undefeated to claim a first title since 2007 – not that the Russian team stuck around to watch the awards ceremony.

Given the Russian side walked out of the medal ceremony before the winners’ anthem was played, it’s clear that this year’s hosts didn’t take losing in such fashion kindly and they will be desperate to win. Of course, their antics 12 months ago, which earned them a fine of 80,000 Swiss Francs, will have made the Canadians even more determined than ever to defend their title and a lively championship looks in store.

The fact that Russia and Canada head the outright winner betting for the 2016 event shows that little has changed in a year. It also means that we really could be in for a feisty World Championships, as there is every chance the pair could meet in the latter stages of the event once again in front of what is sure to be a hostile and patriotic home crowd.

Russia are marginal favourites in the outright winner market, priced at best betting odds of 2/1 with Sky Bet, slightly ahead of the defending champions who can be backed at odds of 5/2 with William Hill. Home advantage could prove crucial, of course, although there is also a very real chance that the extra pressure of being hosts could get to Russia. Russian pride and in particular sporting pride, is fragile at the moment and we suspect that being expected to win won’t necessarily help the home players.

Of course, to suggest this is a mere two horse race would be unfair to the other nations and the Swedes, Finns and Czechs all have a decent chance too. That trio are priced at odds of 23/4 with Unibet, 9/1 with Ladbrokes and 16/1 (again with Ladbrokes) respectively, whilst the USA cannot be written off despite being priced at massive odds of 25/1. That price for the US is also with Ladbrokes, although grab it quickly as other firms have them as short as 10s.

Beyond the “Big Six” we don’t predict anyone else having a realistic tilt at glory in Russia. Last year it was the US who finished third, ahead of the hosts the Czech Republic, who they beat 3-0 in the bronze medal game.

There are two groups of eight, with the top four progressing from each group and much may depend on who can deliver the goods in the really big games. All of the top sides have bags of experience but we predict that the defending champions, paradoxically playing without pressure, will come out on top and so Canada are our outright winner betting tip.


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