Top FIVE Tournament Favourites: Canada +180, Russia +200, Sweden +550, USA +700 and jointly Finland and Czech Republic at +1300.
Tournament format: The preliminary round serves up group action with teams within each group facing off against one another. The top four teams from the preliminary round advance into the quarterfinals while the remaining eight teams will play a sudden-death playoff for the other four spots in the quarterfinals.
Group B Overview: The second section of the highly anticipated Olympic hockey betting extravaganza is spearheaded by defending Gold medallists and top favourites Canada. Can the Canadians successfully defend Gold at the expense of Russia and a host nation’s expectations?
Falling into a relatively straightforward group – the easiest of the three groups on paper with two of the competitions long shots in Austria and Norway – certainly helps their chances. That being said they can’t take anything for granted as Finland, the only other credible threat to win Group B, loom strong and dangerous.
Here’s how Group B could potentially stack up after the preliminary round, complete with both hockey odds to win outright and to win Group B.
Canada +180, -667 to win Group B
Returning to the Olympics as the defending champions brings with it pressure that could prove to be a hindrance rather than an advantage. Undoubtedly, they are the team to beat and, if hockey betting trends were any indication, it would appear that opinion is growing in strength as Canada’s odds to win outright have come down from +200 to +180 at Bet365 in a matter of days. What’s more, their odds to win Group B have swelled to -667, leaps and bounds ahead of their biggest rivals Finland.
In spite of overwhelming sportsbook confidence, Canada will have all to do to come through on these hockey odds. They have to overcome the international-sized ice rink, not to mention a formidable Finnish team. What’s more, the atmosphere is going to be entirely different this time around. In Vancouver, they were the home favourites, the darlings of the competition. In Russia, they venture into renowned hostile hockey territory where they won’t be feeling the love as much.
Austria +150000, +49900 to win Group B
Austria are deemed one of the tournament’s overarching underdogs at whopping +150000 to win outright and the group’s long shots at +49900 to finish in top spot. Few would disagree with that score. In principle, Austria will be hard pressed to go far in the tournament. That being said, they reached the Olympics against the odds so don’t write them off entirely. This doesn’t mean they’ll win this tournament but they do have a much better team than the betting market odds would indicate and if (read: BIG IF) they get a favourable matchup in the sudden-death knockouts, potentially they could go as far as the quarterfinals.
Finland +1300, +350 to win Group B
While sportsbooks list Finland as the second favourites in Group B to win outright at +350, many sports betting fans disagree. Not only do the Fins boast depth and quality, they have an enviable line-up of goalies headed to the Olympics. Moreover, they have ‘big-ice’ advantage over Canada, which could prove the deciding factor when the two teams collide on game day 2.
Norway +20000, +5900 to win Group B
Norway barely strike an audible chord at +5900 at Bet365 to win Group B let alone to win the competition proper. Norway participated in the Vancouver Olympics where they finished with a point in Group action following an overtime defeat to Switzerland. Canada and USA, the other two nations in their section, beat them by a combined score of 14-1. That being said, Norway accounted impressively against Slovakia in a narrow 4-3 defeat in the sudden-death round. After falling 3-1 in the first period, Norway stormed back with two unanswered goals in the second period to draw level. However, Satan’s third period goal lifted Slovakia to victory and brought Norway’s journey to an end within a whisper of the quarterfinals.
Group B Betting Predictions: Canada are the hot favourites to win the group at -667 hockey odds but they’ll have all to do to finish top of Group B, make no mistake. Besides, at -667 they hold very little appeal in terms of return on investment. Speaking of which, do they even warrant such fancied odds given the challenging conditions facing them? Finland, on the other hand, practically leap off the page as the value hockey pick at +300 at Bet365. In fact, they seem rather large all things being considered. So for those looking to bank on a small upset in the pecking order taking Finland to win Group B could prove savvy.
Group B Picks: 1. Finland, 2. Canada, 3. Austria, 4. Norway