The Men’s Hockey at the Sochi Olympics got underway with Sweden playing the Czech Republic and Switzerland taking on Latvia. Tomorrow though is when the Canadians play the first game and all the eyes of the country will be watching even though the team is expected to dominate a Norway team that is not known for hockey. Because Canada is such a big favourite we aren’t going to look at the money line, but instead check out the spread for the game.
Canada vs Norway Men’s Hockey Odds
Here is the puck line from Bet365:
Canada -4.5 (1.80)
Norway +4.5 (1.95)
This means that Canada would have to win by 5 or more goals for a puck line bet on Canada to pay out, while Norway must either win the game or lose by 4 or fewer.
Let’s look at some games from the 2006 Olympics, which I find more similar because of the large ice surface.
In Canada’s first game at that tournament they beat Italy 7-2 for a 5 goal spread. In their second game they defeated Germany 5-1. In that same tournament Canada only defeated Switzerland 2-0, Finland 2-0 and the Czech Republic 3-2. They were simply not a dominant team at all.
That said, if we include 2010 Canada defeated Norway 8-0 in their first game of the Olympics you may start to think we could see a repeat in the first game this year.
I personally think that the international ice will take Canada and the United States longer to adjust to than the other teams of Europeans who grew up on the big ice. I’m going to lean towards Norway keeping the game closer than many expect and Canada only winning by 3 or 4 goals as they work to find chemistry and adjust to the big ice.
I’m going to personally stay away from this one, but if I had to bet I’d take Norway+4.5.
Finland vs Austria
The earliest game taking place tomorrow is Finland vs Austria.
Finland -3.5 (1.95)
Austria +3.5 (1.80)
I like the Finns in this one. I think Finland has been overlooked quite a bit heading into this tournament and they will want to gain momentum early and prove that they are a contender in this tournament. I don’t expect them to let up against the Austrians in this one. The Austrian team does have 3 NHLers on the team with Thomas Vanek, and Michael Grabner from the New York Islanders and Michael Raffl from the Flyers. That said a huge chunk of the rest of the team comes from the Austrian league, which is not one of the elite leagues in Europe.
I’d take the Finns to win by more than 3 goals.