NHL Betting Tips – Olympic Hockey
- Updated: February 11, 2014
There’s nothing quite like Olympic hockey and according to some reports, this could be the final year that the NHL allows its players to participate, at least as long as they are getting no monetary compensation out of the deal.
Team Canada is a slight favorite to repeat as gold medalists, although that is never easy. Despite having the best talent on paper in each of the previous four Olympics that allowed the NHL players to compete, twice Canada has left the games empty handed, failing to medal in 1998 and 2006. Both times the games were played on the larger ice surface, such as will be used at Sochi.
Russia comes next and you can find the host team at +230 at Bookmaker. Russia can match the Canadians up front and in net, but aren’t quite as strong defensively. If the Russian goalkeepers play up to their ability they can overcome their skill on the blue line.
Sweden is the third choice and its odds are in the neighborhood of +450, depending on which book you bet at. The loss of Henrik Sedin will hurt a bit, but you can never count out Sweden as long as Henrik Lundqvist is playing. After a slow start, Lundqvist has resembled himself the past 15 games and he can keep Sweden in games.
Bettors in the United States have been backing their country and the Americans have received the highest percentage of wagers at Bookmaker, although they are still at +695. Ryan Miller was the hero of the 2010 Olympics, helping the Americans win the silver medal.
The Czech Republic and Finland are the other two teams that are given a slight chance, with the other countries all rated as extreme long shots.
When looking which country to wager on, it’s hard to discount the differences between the smaller ice surfaces, such as are used in North America, and the larger surfaces that are used throughout the rest of the world. Both times the Canadians won gold medals it did so by defeating the United States, which also benefited from familiarity with the smaller surfaces. Think of it as an NFL team suddenly forced to play games on a Canadian Football League field.
Russia has been a bit low-key regarding its desire to win gold in front of its home fans, but don’t buy it for a second. Russia desperately wants to win and have an excellent chance at doing so. If history repeats itself, Russia’s toughest competition could very come from Sweden, as its players are used to the size of the rink. A 2-unit play on Russia and a half-unit play on Sweden might be the best course of action to take. If Russia wins, you’ll come out 4.1 units and will show a tiny profit if the Swedes pull off a mild upset.