Our hockey analyst provides us with a betting preview on Tuesday’s World Cup of Hockey preliminary round game between Finland and Sweden. Go inside to read this compelling and insightful article which concludes with a free hockey pick.
The preliminary round of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey is underway, and there's an under the radar fierce rivalry game taking place on Tuesday, and no it's not Team Canada taking on Team USA. I'm going to discuss the Finland and Sweden contest. The opening faceoff at the Air Canada Center in Toronto is slated for 3:00 PM ET.
2016 World Cup Betting Odds
Current (9/19) betting odds at Bovada indicates that Sweden is a mammoth -250 money line favorite, and the total is 5.0. Speaking of Bovada, they're presently offering generous cash bonuses, including matching 100% of any deposit up to $250.
Finland vs. Sweden 3:00 PM ET
These two Scandinavian countries are heated rivals, and there certainly won't be any love when they collide on Tuesday afternoon. The game will be especially vital for Finland, considering they could be eliminated from a chance of reaching the semifinal round with a loss.
Finland was dominated 4-1 by Team North America during their preliminary game opener. The team of 23-year-old and under players overwhelmed Finland with their combination of speed and skill. Quite frankly, it wasn't nearly as close as the final score indicated. The youngsters held sizable 43-25 shots on goal advantage over Finland. The Fins were able to avoid being a shutout when 32-year old Valtteri Filppula (Detroit Red Wings) scored with 4:07 to play. Although Finnish goaltender Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators) looked shaky at times, he did turn in a 39-save performance and saved his team from further embarrassment.
Sweden was impressive during Sunday's 2-1 win over Russia. Although the victory didn't come without some late-game anxious moments. Down 2-0, Russia pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker with a little over a minute to play. Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) scored for Russia with 33 seconds left and narrowed the deficit to 2-1. Ovechkin then appeared to score a game-tying goal with 8.2 seconds left, but thanks to replay, it was waved off for batting it in with his hand.
The win ended a 12-year drought for Sweden against Russia during major international tournaments. Jacob Markstrom (Vancouver Canucks) started in goal for Sweden in place of an ill Henrik Lundquist and was superb while stopping 27 of 28 shots on goal.
Final Take and Pick
These teams have historically played tight checking low scoring games. Part of is due to familiarity with one another and the rest pertains to each team's style of play. Sweden doesn't have the overall team speed in which Team North America possesses, and it's more conducive to Finland's conservative style. Nevertheless, Sweden's group of defensemen may be collectively the best in this 2016 World Cup of Hockey. All you have to do is look at how they stymied an offensively gifted Russian team. Goals will be at a premium in this game, and one of my Tuesday hockey picks will be indicative of such.
Free World Cup of Hockey Pick: Under 5.0 (+100)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada