Olympic Hockey Picks: Canada vs. Austria

David Lawrence

Thursday, February 13, 2014 8:27 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 8:27 PM UTC

Canada didn’t look too impressive in their opening contest of the 2014 Winter Olympics against Norway as they eked out a 3-1 win. However, that was just their opener and their first taste of action. Now that they’ve got their feet wet, they should be able to pump an Austria team that was throttled in their first game.

2014 Winter Olympics Men's Group B Hockey Betting Odds

Canada Can Win Because…

Austria is a horrible defensive team. They lost 8-4 to Finland in their opening game and if Finland – a defensive-minded team – can rack up eight goals, Canada is going to have a field day.

The Austrians were completely abused in the opener as they gave up a whopping 52 shots on net and only mustered 20 themselves. They didn’t control the puck very much as Finland skated circles around them.

Canada is more talented than Finland – particularly at the offensive end. Guys like Sidney Crosby and John Tavares should find themselves with plenty of room to make plays and set up their teammates. Austria just isn’t built to compete in games like this, which means we should expect to see a one-sided affair here.

Austria Can Win Because….

They’ll tighten things up on their back end. Sure, they gave up eight goals in the opener but they also allowed 52 shots. There’s a good chance that they can be somewhat competitive if they don’t give up that many again. Their goalies didn’t play well but they need to help them out.

On the flip side, Canada barely got by Norway. Austria is a bit better than Norway, so that should give them a bit of confidence heading into this one.

NHL Picks: Olympic Men's Hockey Future Odds

Outlook & Pick

Canada had a conservative effort in their first game but this is where they open things up. They could have done more against Norway but they spent the game getting acclimated to the international settings in Sochi. Now that they’ve found their bearings, they’ll charge forward a bit harder in this game and skate away with an easy win.

Pick: Canada -4.5 -150 at Pinnacle

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