Group play is over, so now the real games begin at the Olympic hockey tournament in Korea with four playoff qualification games on Tuesday (Monday night, Tuesday morning in North America.) The winners of those four games will advance to the quarterfinals on Wednesday (Tuesday night, Wednesday morning in North America.) The four teams receiving byes into the quarterfinals are the Czech Republic, Sweden, Canada and the “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” Let’s look at the upcoming schedule of games and Olympic Hockey picks.
We'll have Olympic hockey odds at BookMaker.eu available for all of the four qualification games, the four quarterfinal games, the two semifinals, the Bronze Medal Game and the Gold Medal Game.
Qualification Round Games (Tuesday, February 20)
United States vs. Slovakia
Finland vs. South Korea
Switzerland vs. Germany
Slovenia vs. Norway
Quarterfinals (Wednesday, February 21)
Switzerland-Germany winner vs. Sweden
Finland-South Korea winner vs. Canada
Slovenia-Norway winner vs. Russia
United States-Slovakia winner vs. Czech Republic
Semifinals (Friday, February 23)
Bronze Medal Game (Saturday, February 24)
Gold Medal Game (Sunday, February 25)
There is no question that the four teams that received byes into the quarterfinals will be the betting favorites. Sweden was very impressive in group play going 3-0, outscoring opponents by a combined margin of 8-1. They also get the most favorable quarterfinal matchup, as they figure to have very little trouble with the winner of Switzerland and Germany. The Czech Republic also went unbeaten at 3-0, but one of those wins came in overtime. They outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 9-4. Russia went 2-1 in group play, outscoring opponents by a combined margin of 14-5. Russia was the betting favorite before the Olympics began and they still figure to be the top choice heading into the quarterfinals. Canada got the other quarterfinal spot, as they went 2-1 in group play, outscoring opponents by a combined margin of 11-4.
If you are looking for a team in the qualification round that might have a chance to win their quarterfinal game, it could be Finland. They went 2-1 in the group stage and outscored opponents by a combined margin of 11-6. Finland has an exciting young player in Eeli Tolvanen who was the first-round pick of the Nashville Predators in 2017.
Women’s Olympic Hockey Playoffs
The women’s Olympic hockey is all about Canada and the United States. They were the top betting choices before the tournament began and the only two teams worth considering. Canada beat the Americans by a score of 2-1 in group play. The Gold Medal game should be a rematch and a complete betting toss-up.
Free Olympic Hockey Picks
When looking for the Gold Medal winner, I think it is important to look at the bracket. I think that Russia has the easiest path to the Gold Medal game. They get an easy quarterfinal against the winner of Norway and Slovenia and then in the semifinals they get either the Czech Republic or the winner of the U.S.-Slovakia game. It is hard to see the Russians losing to any of those teams. Sweden has an easy quarterfinal but then they will have to play either Canada or the winner of Finland vs. South Korea. Both Canada and Finland are capable of beating Sweden, so the semifinals will not be easy for the Swedes. I give Russia, or “Olympic Athletes of Russia” as they are technically known, the edge and they are my choice to win the Gold. I don’t know that there is a lot of value in picking a longshot, but I at least give Finland some consideration. They played well in the group stage and they are capable of beating Canada and Sweden to reach the Gold medal game. On the women’s side, I lean toward Canada in what is almost a certain matchup against the United States in the Gold Medal game.
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