Olympic Hockey Preview: Favorites vs. The Field & More

USAHockeyIt’s time for another look at Olympic Men’s Hockey! The United States, Canada and Sweden all emerged from the first round of group play undefeated, and while that seems like good news on paper, no unbeaten team from the opening round has gone on to win the gold medal since 1998. There’s good action to be found playing the field though, as you have plenty of time to bet on somebody going all the way to the podium – or more aptly the blue line – given there’s not enough room for a whole team to stand on one (and never has been). As the three unbeaten teams and Finland get an extra day’s rest on Tuesday, pore over their lines on going for the gold. Canada is the favorite right now at +190, with the rest of the field at a -230. It’s tempting play the field, given Canada’s lackluster scoring in the prelim round, and the fact it’s only going to get tougher going forward. From there the odds get progressively longer on gold vs. the field – +310/-370 for Russia, +390-490 for the U.S., +420-535 for Sweden, then really take a jump for Finland at +1290/-2125. Bookmakers have the Czech Republic as a snowball’s chance in hell: +2525 for gold and -5100 to the field. That might seem tempting, but they’ve only won a single game so far, and that was against Latvia. The oddsmakers know what they’re looking at. Since the United States and Russia just had a prelim round game go to an overtime shootout, let’s look at the action on Tuesday’s games. Slovenia vs. Austria is +325 to go overtime, and -400 for no overtime. Given neither team is a powerhouse (both are 1-2) you could easily envision a scoreless tie after three periods – it might be worth letting the juice loose. Norway vs. Russia is +2500 to go to overtime and -5000 to not. Don’t assume there’s a good chance of Russia having another overtime against a team that’s not nearly as stacked as the U.S. – in fact Norway hasn’t won a single game yet. Your action in that game is total goals scored: +115 for under 5.5 doesn’t pay big but may just pay. There’s still pride on the line and Norway isn’t just going to roll over and die for Russia. And as long as we’re talking about total goals, here’s a look at your other Tuesday games. Keep in mind a high point total would involve either poor play by BOTH goalies, or one team getting slaughtered when it comes to making stops. Latvia/Switzerland is +260 for over 5.5 and -320 under. With Jonas Hiller on goal for Switzerland, they’re not likely to let a lot of pucks into the net. Slovakia/Czech Republic is +215 over 5.5 and -255 under. Throw out their rout to the U.S. and Slovakia does have some bright spots – they held Russia to only one goal with Jan Laco at the net. Ondřej Pavelec gave up 2 goals against Latvia, but only 1 to Switzerland, so this could wind up a low scoring affair if both are on the ice. As always these previews are for entertainment purposes and if you wager please only bet what you can afford.

Written by Stevie J

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