Olympic Hockey Picks: Canada vs. Latvia

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 9:30 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 9:30 PM GMT

Team Canada will have a surprise opponent in the quarterfinals of the men’s Olympic hockey tournament when they take on upstart Latvia on Wednesday, with the opening faceoff slated for Noon ET.

 

According to hockey betting odds Canada is a monster -600 money line favorite and are  -4.5 (+120) on the puck-line. The early posted total in this game is 6.5. A wager on under the number can be made at betting odds of -155, and the over can be bet at +125.

Take a look at the updated 2014 Olympic Hockey Odds

Shocking Quarterfinal Participant

The final eight of the men’s Olympic tournament contains a pair of teams that none of the experts expected to be here. A first time Olympic hockey participant Slovenia upset Austria 3-1 in their qualification game on Tuesday, and shockingly earned the 2nd win of the competition. Another huge surprise came with Latvia who was seeded 11th out of 12 teams following the completion of group play.  The Latvians advanced with a monumental upset as a +425 money line underdog by defeating Switzerland 3-1. Latvia jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the 1st period, and then hung on for dear life to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time. Latvia is coached by current Buffalo Sabres bench boss Ted Nolan.

Abundance of Talent

The Canadians will enter the quarterfinals playing on 2-days of rest. The only one who can beat the Canadians in this matchup is Canada. They will be facing an overmatched opponent with just 1-player on their roster currently playing in the NHL, and will also be playing with no rest after coming off a huge emotional win. Although Canada hasn’t looked as dominant as many thought they would be through the first 3-games, and clearly has some chemistry issues, none of the aforementioned flaws are likely to be exposed by a vastly inferior opponent.

Also check out our picks for:

Sweden vs. Slovenia

Russia vs. Finland

Final Analysis

Latvia has played beyond expectations so far, but the magic carpet ride will end right here. You can be rest assured that Teddy Nolan’s club will play a disciplined and defensive brand of hockey in this one. They’ll be fully aware that they can ill afford to get into a wide open affair versus an abundantly talented Canadian team. Latvia has held their own defensively so far allowing just 11-goals in their first 4-games. Even if they fall behind early look for Latvia to keep things simple, not take many chances, and continue to stay in a defensive shell.

Free Pick: Canada/Latvia to go under the total of 6.5 (-155)

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