Olympic Hockey Picks: Sweden vs. Latvia

David Lawrence

Thursday, February 13, 2014 8:36 PM GMT

Sweden has looked pretty good so far in the preliminary round of the 2014 Winter Olympics and that won’t change with a matchup against Latvia. This is a complete mismatch and anything other than a Sweden blowout victory here would be an upset.

Sweden Can Win Because…

Latvia has nothing going for them. Put it this way: Latvia couldn’t even beat Switzerland. What chance do they really have here? Never mind beat Switzerland, they couldn’t even score a single goal.

The Swedes might be without Henrik Zetterberg on Friday but not to worry. They’re fully loaded even without him. They’ll have the services of Henrik Lundqvist, Daniel Alfredsson, Daniel Sedin, Erik Karlsson and a whole host of other NHL All-Stars. Latvia doesn’t have anyone of that caliber on any part of the ice. They’re going to have a really tough time competing in this contest. 

Latvia Can Win Because…. 

Dogs have been covering spread in this tournament so far. Case and point: Russia and Canada both failed to cover the 4.5 goals they were laying on Thursday and Finland barely covered the 3.5 they laid against Austria. They needed a goal at 18:25 of the third period just to get the cover.

That being the case, maybe taking Latvia plus the 3.5 goals makes sense here. The favorites just aren’t going all out to cover spreads – at least not in the preliminary round so far.

Outlook & Pick 

It’s hard to genuinely step up to the window (or click away online) and take Latvia with your hockey picks. Sweden is markedly better at almost every spot on the ice and Latvia just doesn’t have any players that can change the outcome of this game. Latvia only mustered 21 shots on net against Switzerland and if that’s all they can do against Sweden, they’re likely to get shut out. Lay the pucks here as I don’t see Latvia competing in this one.

Pick: Sweden -3.5 +103 at Pinnacle