Olympic Hockey Final Betting Preview

Olympic Hockey Final Betting Preview

Olympic Hockey Final Betting Preview
By Covers.com

Canada vs. Sweden (+150, 4.5)

Canada looks to repeat as Olympic champion Sunday as it faces fellow unbeaten Sweden in the gold-medal showdown in Sochi. Both teams used strong defensive efforts to reach the championship match. The Swedes fell behind early but rallied behind Erik Karlsson's game-winner to upend Finland 2-1 in the first semifinal, while Carey Price turned aside 31 shots and Jamie Benn provided all the offense the Canadians would need with a second-period goal in a thrilling 1-0 victory over the rival U.S.

Both teams are dealing with injuries to star players heading into what should be an entertaining title game. The Swedes have had to make do without Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg, who suffered a herniated disk in his back and could be forced to miss significant time once the NHL season resumes next week. The New York Islanders are in the same boat after Canadian forward John Tavares suffered two torn knee ligaments in a victory over Latvia and has already been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

LINE HISTORY: Canada was installed as an early -190 favorite, but has dipped slightly to -182 with the over/under holding steady at 4.5.

INJURY WATCH: Canada - F John Tavares (Out - knee); Sweden - F Henrik Zetterberg (Out - back).

WHAT BOOKS SAY: "We will need Sweden in this matchup, as 80 percent of the cash so far is on Canada -190." - Mike Perry, Sportsbook.ag.

WHAT SHARPS SAY: "Oddsmakers give Canada a 62 percent chance of winning this game, so they are the better team. Main concern is a possible letdown after the hard-fought 1-0 win over USA.  Normally, you would not expect any letdown in a Gold medal game, but Canada used a lot of energy against their main rival, while Sweden had a bit of an easier game versus a weaker Finland team." - Covers Experts' Steve Merril

ABOUT TEAM CANADA (5-0-0): Canadian fans have been concerned about their team's inability to convert quality scoring chances - but while Friday's victory may have been close on the scoresheet, supporters had to be happy with the way Canada controlled the play. That has been a theme of the tournament for the Canadians, who aren't blowing teams out but have been the most defensively responsible team in the tournament, having surrendered just three goals in five games. Price is expected to get the assignment against Sweden after shutting down the prolific Americans in the semis.

ABOUT TEAM SWEDEN (5-0-0): The Swedes rolled through Group C action without much resistance, then trounced Slovenia 5-0 in the quarterfinals before getting all they could handle from an energetic Finnish side missing three key players. Sweden eventually wore Finland down - carrying the play over the final two periods and getting the eventual game-winner from Karlsson, who may very well be the best player in the tournament to date. The Swedish power play has been the most potent in the competition and Canada will need to play a disciplined game or risk getting beaten on special teams.

TRENDS:

* Karlsson has a tournament-best eight points (four goals, four assists) while Drew Doughty leads Canada with six points (four goals, two assists).
* Sweden G Henrik Lundqvist is one of only three netminders with more than one shutout in the tournament.
* The Swedes trailed for only one minute, 23 seconds in the entire competition going into their semifinal against Finland.
* Canada has surrendered just one goal in its last 144 minutes, 32 seconds of action.

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