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Olympic Hockey Betting News and Notes Saturday, February 15

Olympic Hockey Betting News and Notes Saturday, February 15

Saturday's Olympic Hockey Cheat Sheet

Here's a look at Saturday's Olympic men's hockey action (odds courtesy Bet365):

Slovakia vs. Slovenia (+625)

The countries may sound the same, but one is clearly favored over the other in Group A action. The Slovakians haven't exactly done much to earn such lofty odds - they were thoroughly trounced 7-1 by the United States in their tournament opener as goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Peter Budaj looked mostly dreadful while  the offense couldn't muster much of anything. But it's still a deeper and more talented team than Slovenia, which dropped a 5-2 decision to the host Russians but were outshot 35-14 as its opponent carried the play for most of the game.

United States vs. Russia (-154)

The first marquee matchup of the tournament pits a pair of teams who opened with big victories over weaker opponents. The Americans' triumph had to be more impressive considering the number of goals scored and the quality of the opponent; the U.S. broke things open with six second-period goals while outshooting the overmatched Slovakians 33-23 in the contest. But the Russians were solid in their own right and should provide a much stiffer test against a mostly inexperienced U.S. defense and have the benefit of home-ice advantage.

Switzerland vs. Czech Republic (-213)

Count on the Swiss keeping things close and low scoring; at least, if their first two games are any indication. Switzerland opened the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Latvia - a game in which it needed 59:53 to score the only goal - before dropping a 1-0 decision to Sweden on Friday. The up-and-down Czechs have also found themselves on both ends of the same result so far in the tournament - they opened with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Swedes before bouncing back nicely in a 4-2 triumph over the Latvians.

Sweden vs. Latvia (+1,300)

It may be difficult to envision a scenario in which the Latvians keep this one interesting, even with Sweden forward Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc) out for the remainder of the tournament. The defense and goaltending have been impressive to date, and with Erik Karlsson, Alexander Steen, Daniel Alfredsson and Nicklas Backstrom still in the mix, Latvia will struggle to contain the Swedish attack. That said, the Latvians have been somewhat competitive in their opening two games and could keep things close for a while.

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