Brendan Bottcher will look to continue his success in the Calgary bubble as he leads Team Canada in the Men’s World Curling Championship beginning on Friday.
Bottcher’s team won the Brier – the Canadian men’s national curling championship – after defeating Kevin Koe in the final.
Moulding ready to play after back injury
That victory ended a three-year streak of runner-up finishes for Bottcher, and earned him his first berth in the Men’s World Curling Championship.
Bottcher is joined by Darren Moulding, Brad Thiessen, and Karrick Martin to make up the Canadian team. In addition, the rink added Marc Kennedy as an alternate, in large part as insurance against the possibility of injuries during the event.
How the official World Rankings currently stand ahead of the BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men's Curling Championship starting tomorrow 👀
— World Curling (@worldcurling) April 1, 2021
That decision comes in response to Moulding experiencing back spasms during the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. That injury forced Moulding and partner Joanne Courtney to withdraw from the event.
Moulding has recovered since that time, and the team expects him to play starting from Friday’s first draw.
“We are still very optimistic that Darren will be ready to go for Game 1 against Scotland, but having Marc available and ready to jump in at any time during the competition will certainly be a great option for us,” Bottcher said in a statement from Curling Canada. “Considering how important this world championship is for Olympic qualifying, we decided as a team, and through talking with national coach Jeff Stoughton, that we needed to make sure that we were as prepared as possible for every eventuality.”
Online sportsbook Coolbet rates Canada as a +175 co-favorite to win the Men’s World Curling Championship. Bottcher ranks among the top teams in the world, with Ken Pomeroy – better known for his work on college basketball analytics – rating the Bottcher team as the best in the world. The one knock on the team is its relative lack of international experience, given that this is their first Brier win.
Edin seeks third world championship
Niklas Edin and Sweden are also fetching +175 odds at Coolbet. Sweden has won the past two Men’s World Curling Championships, with Edin winning four times in nine appearances. The Edin rink hasn’t posted great results over the past two seasons – albeit in limited action during the pandemic – raising questions over whether their time at the top of world curling is coming to an end.
|Men’s World Curling Championship Odds (via Coolbet)
|United States: +2000
|Russian Curling Federation: +5000
Scotland (+300), skipped by Bruce Mouat, comes in as the third choice. Mouat made the playoffs in the past two world championships, winning the bronze medals in 2018. Switzerland (+900), the United States (+2000), and Japan (+2000) also rank among the likely contenders for playoff spots.
The World Men’s Curling Championship begins with a full round-robin, after which, the top six teams will advance to a single-elimination playoff round. The top six finishers (along with China) will automatically qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics.