2014 Olympics Hockey Betting Preview: Will Canada win as the Favorite?

2014 Olympics Hockey Betting Preview: Will Canada win as the Favorite?

2014 Olympics Hockey Betting Preview: Will Canada win as the Favorite?
By Carlos Salazar

SOCHI, RUSSIA (The Spread) - Personally, I know bettors that like the NHL but love the playoffs. I feel the same about Olympic hockey.

Get Carlos Salazar’s Expert Picks

There's nothing like hockey in the Olympics and you can't really compare the drama to the NHL regular season.

This is pure hockey at its best with every goal, assist and check meaning something. There is contact but this is more of a finesse game, which is why so many of the European countries prosper.

The 12-nation tournament begins on Wednesday, Feb. 12  and ends on the final day of the game on Feb. 23.

The Canadian Team is the favorite (2-1 from Bovada) and they are the clear favorite at -650 to win Group B over Finland (+350), Norway (+5000) and Austria (+10000), with Sweden at -200 to win Group C over the Czech Republic (+175), Switzerland (+800), and Latvia (+10000).

Since 1988, Canada won the gold medal twice along with Russia and Sweden. The Czech Republic won it when Dominik Hasek dominated everybody. Finland and the United States are sleepers, who usually do well at the games.

The United States have 6-1 odds to win the gold, which puts them behind Canada, the home host Russia (12/5) and Sweden 9/2). Finland is fifth at 11/1 odds with the Czech Republic at 12/1.

The main issue for Finland right now heading into the Olympics is injuries as Mikko Koivu from Minnesota and Valtteri Filppula from Tampa Bay are both out.

The long shots consist of  Switzerland at 25/1, Slovakia at 33/1, while Norway, Latvia, Austria, and Slovenia would be major upsets just to medal.

The United State is in a very tough group as they are with Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia, while the Russians are favored at -200 over the United State (+175).

What makes Russia so good? Start with Alexander Ovechkin, the best goal scorer in the world, who already has 40 goals for Washington and will be joined by former Washington teammate Alexander Semin and Pittsburgh star Evgeni Malkin. The only issue for Russia other than Canada, is the fact that the pressure on Ovechkin is immense and he's the face of these games.

The American team is led by center Joe Pavelski, who has 29 goals in 59 games this season. They also have excellent scorers on the wing in Patrick Kane and Zach Parise. The key will be the play in net of goaltenders Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick. No starter has been named but that starter better be prepared against the top talent in the world.

The Canadians are led by Sidney Crosby, who stole the show in the last Olympics in Vancouver. He brought along Pittsburgh lineman Chris Kunitz. The goaltending might be the issue with Carey Price and Roberto Luongo, though Luongo has the Olympic experience.

When it comes to wagering on the Olympics, hockey is the most popular sport and there are many options when it comes to odds, totals, money lines, futures, and props in most sportsbooks. Finding value is key and if you're an NHL fan that follows the game throughout the year, you should have a handle on most of the teams. If you don't follow the NHL, tread very carefully and read up thoroughly on every team before placing a wager.


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