Olympic Hockey Picks: Sweden vs. Slovenia

David Lawrence

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 4:28 PM GMT

Slovenia has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2014 Winter Olympics hockey tournament but one would have to think that their ride ends here, right? Sure, they’ve done some nice things like getting their first ever Olympic hockey victory but beating Sweden would put them on a whole other level.

2014 Winter Olympic Men's Hockey Betting Odds

Sweden Can Win Because…

Slovenia has been beating cream puffs. They’ve proven to be better than advertised, and they’re better than Slovakia and better than Austria, but is that really saying much? That just means that they aren’t doormats; it doesn’t mean that they can actually compete with the upper echelon teams. As a matter of fact, Slovenia has already proven that they’re not capable of that with losses to Russia (5-2) and the United States (5-1).

Sweden has had a couple of days off to refresh and regroup, and they should rock the Slovenians to bed. They have an elite goaltender in Henrik Lundqvist and a team of NHL-caliber stars. Slovenia will be valiant but won’t do nearly enough to win this game.

Slovenia Can Win Because….

They’re playing with the house’s money. Coming into this tournament, nobody thought Slovenia would even win a game. Turns out, they’ve won two by beating Slovakia and Austria. Now they’re in the quarter-finals and are playing with a ton of self-esteem. The country of 2 million people and just seven hockey rinks will have a shot to shock the world if they can beat Sweden, the 2006 gold medal winners.

Sweden is banged up as they are missing two-thirds of their top line. Daniel Sedin never made the team because of injury while captain Henrik Zetterberg got hurt and will miss the rest of the tournament. Maybe that’s the small opening that Slovenia needs to pull the stunner.

Outlook & Pick

Slovenia is going to be confident in this game and although they aren’t going to win, they are going to be a handful. Don’t be surprised if this game is much closer than expected. They’re playing great team hockey right now and I wouldn’t lay 3.5 pucks against them in our sports picks – especially when you consider Sweden hasn’t covered that margin in any of their games this tournament.

Pick: Slovenia +3.5 at Pinnacle

Who will win the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Men’s Hockey?