According to betting odds the United States is a -300 money line favorite and is -1.5 (+110) on the puck line. The early posted total in this game is 5.0.
The Czechs Survive
The Czech Republic had to withstand a furious comeback attempt by Slovakia in the qualification game on Tuesday, barely escaping with a 5-3 win to advance to Wednesday’s quarterfinals. After jumping out to an early 4-0 lead, the Czechs allowed 3 unanswered goals by the Slovakians which narrowed the lead to 4-3. The Czechs was able to score an empty net goal with just 0:49 to play in the 3rd period to seal the deal, after Slovakia pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker. Once again shoddy defensive play and shaky goaltending continues to haunt the Czechs in this tournament. It was the biggest concern heading into the Olympics, and nothing they’ve done so far as eased the concern. They will be facing an American team that’s outscored their first 3 opponents in the Olympics by a combined 15-4.
Tough Draw for Team USA
Although the Americans are a prohibitive favorite in this game, and entered the quarterfinals as the #2 seed in the tournament, you can make the case they didn’t get the kindest of draws. Consider the fact that the #3 seed Canada will face an upstart #11 seed Latvia team that upset Switzerland 3-1 to reach the final eight. In addition, the #1 seed Swedes will be facing a first time Olympic participant Slovenia which has vastly overachieved thus far. However, Team USA will be up to the challenge, and will be playing on 2 full days of rest, compared to a Czech team that just played on Tuesday. The Americans have a huge advantage in goal, and on defense, when comparing these two rosters. I look for the United States to expose a porous Czech defense with their superior team speed, and have no problem solving whoever is goal for the Czechs which in all probability will be Ondrej Pavlec.
Free Pick: United States -1.5 (+110) over the Czech Republic on the puck-line