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USA vs. Canada Men’s Hockey – 2014 Winter Olympics Betting Preview

USA vs. Canada Men’s Hockey – 2014 Winter Olympics Betting Preview

Here we go again. After splitting two of the most entertaining games of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, including a wild gold medal final, rivals Canada and the United States are set to play each other again in the semi-finals of the 2014 tournament. The game is such a big moment for both countries that even President Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have bet on it.

Read on for everything you need to know to bet on this huge rivarly.

Team Canada vs. Team USA Men’s Hockey Betting Preview

Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia

When: Friday February 21, 2014, 12:00PM ET

Line: Canada (-110) vs. United States (-110); Over/under 5.5

Betting on Team USA

Jonathan Quick Olympics 2014

The Americans come in looking for vengeance in this game after being beaten in overtime by Canucks in the 2010 gold medal game. Team USA is coming off an impressive 5-2 win over the Czech Republic in which James van Riemsdyk, Dustin Brown, and David Backes all tallied in the first period to take control of the game. Phil Kessel, the tournament’s leading scorer (five goals, eight points), also added a goal in what was the Americans’ first win over the Czech Republic or Czechslovakia since 1980.

[sc:NHL240 ]The Czechs scored two goals in the first from Ales Hemsky but simply couldn’t withstand the American onslaught, as goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was eventually pulled in the second after allowing four goals on 16 shots.

Team USA has looked dangerous all tournament long, backed by Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick who has put together a 1.62 GAA in the tournament. U.S. coach Dan Bylsma has been getting plenty of offense out of his top lines, as the team is averaging five goals a game through their first four.

Betting on Team Canada

Drew Doughty

The Canadians have played well in this tournament so far but are coming off a major scare in the quarter-finals, having narrowly defeated Latvia 2-1 at the Ice Dome on Wednesday. Tight as the scoreline was, Team Canada looked good against Latvia, throwing no less than 57 shots at back up Latvian goalie Kristers Gudlevskis. Gudlevskis, a prospect for the Tampa Bay Lightning, played the game of his life while facing so much rubber that trainers were called onto the ice midway through the third after he seemed almost too exhausted to continue.

Team Canada, like the USA, is a who’s-who of NHL stars. In this Olympics it has been the nation’s stellar defensemen that have taken charge, scoring 7 of the team’s 13 goals in the tournament thus far, including four by Drew Doughty. The team will be looking for more from the NHL’s leading scorer Sidney Crosby against the U.S., as the Pittsburgh Penguins captain has yet to score in four games for the Canadians. Canada will also be without Islanders captain John Tavares who was injured after being hit by Latvia’s Arturs Kulda. He will be replaced in the line up by Matt Duchene for Friday’s semi-final.

The consensus going into the Olympics was if there was a weakness on this Canadian team, it might have been in goal. But after four games, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price has looked strong, posting a 0.99 GAA in his three wins. Coach Mike Babcock elected to go with Price again in their quarter-final match up against Latvia after Price held a talented Finnish team to a single goal in the group stage. Price played well on Wednesday, despite limited work.

Picking a Winner

With just four games played, there is little to choose from between these teams. While the Canadians were favored coming into the tournament, the U.S. has looked stronger in their four wins and seems as ready as ever to take on their neighbors to the north. With so little to choose from, it will likely be the strong play of either Canada’s elite defense or Team USA’s red-hot offense who will tip the scales.

In the meantime, expect these teams to play tight, defensive hockey in front of their respective All-Star goaltenders in an effort to force their opponents to make the first mistake. With a conservative game likely for at least the first period, the United States being +1.5 on the puckline offers great value for hockey bettors.

Bet the big game now and get into the action with Top Bet, your home for all things Olympic hockey betting.

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Tom
Written by Tom

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