They’re in a fairly easy group with Finland, Latvia and Norway. They’ll get started with a cupcake matchup against Norway. Barring some unforeseen miracle, the Norwegians probably won’t be within four goals by the time this game is finished.
Canada Can Win Because…
Norway is one of the worst teams in the tournament. Even if Canada has had zero sleep since arriving in Sochi and the entire team has suffered food poisoning, they’re still going to win this game.
The difference in talent between the teams is as wide as it can get. Think of the Alabama Crimson Tide playing Stony Brook in college football or the Miami Heat facing a team from the NBA’s D-League. That’s how big of a difference this is. Team Canada is loaded with NHL All-Stars while Norway only has a couple of – maybe – mid-level players.
Canada is going to be focused in this game because they need to sort out who their starting goaltender is going to be. It’s still an open competition and this game will serve as an audition. Also, we’ll get our first look at the lines and see how the chemistry of the team is. Canada will also use this game to adjust to the international-sized ice.
These are the reigning gold medalists and they are also the tournament favorites. Even if they have some questions to sort out in goal, they won’t be evident in this one. Their offense will light the lamp plenty of times and lead this team to an easy opening win in Sochi.
Norway Can Win Because….
They at least have a couple of NHLers. Mats Zucccarello and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen play in the big leagues and that’s got to count for something.
This game really means nothing to Canada. It’s not an elimination game and there isn’t anything really bad that can happen to them if they slip up here. Throw in the fact that it’s the first game of the tournament and that the players are still adjusting to the nine-hour time difference, Norway might be able to sneak out one here.
Outlook & Pick
Canada is going to be a massive favorite on the hockey odds here and there’s really no reason to think that Norway is a good choice for your sports picks. Laying the juice with Canada straight up is probably a bit too crazy but I’d be comfortable laying two or three goals with Canada. This is a complete mismatch in every way possible and there’s no reasonable argument for Norway in this contest.
As far as the total goes, I’d expect to see plenty of goals in this one. Norway isn’t really capable of slowing down a loaded offensive attack like Canada’s, so I like the total vor our sports picks here, as I expect that to push this game over the number.
Pick: Over 6.5 at Bookmaker