How Cup Hockey Teams Rank
Though Team Canada is still the favorite, the World Cup of Hockey betting has taken a slight turn after the round of pre-tournament games. Here is how I rank the teams going into the first group games on Saturday.
How They Stack Up
CANADA - They have the talent, the home ice and the record of winning international events in recent years. The obvious choice.
USA - Can play on Canada's level - they split in exhibition. The Tuesday group matchup with the Canadians will tell a lot. With Europe and Czech Republic as the other two teams in the group, the Americans should survive.
RUSSIA - Has the edge in the more evenly matched of the two groups, both because of their scoring potential and the fact that Sergei Bobrovsky looks in good form in goal.
SWEDEN - Their power play and defensive skills make them a solid threat.
NORTH AMERICA - An up-and-down team with speed and talent. Their youth makes them vulnerable.
FINLAND - A potent offense and young defense place this squad as the under-the-radar team in the group with Russia, Sweden and North America.
EUROPE - So many players from so many countries. Not sure the mix and match will get them out of group play.
CZECH REPUBLIC - Finished pre-tournament play a surprising 2-1. But they're in that "Group of Death" with Canada and USA. Survival would be a huge surprise.
Sunday, Sweden vs. Russia - The winner of this one will have a huge leg up in group play. I like the Russians, but not by much.
Monday, Russia vs. North America - These two could each be 1-0 going into this game. If not, someone will be out of the running when it's done.
Tuesday, Canada vs. USA - The big showdown of the big show. This is where home ice means something.
Since they play round robin, and two teams survive each group, by mid-week most of the games will be for clinching or surviving for the playoff round, so they'll all be big from that point. After group play, there will be two elimination semifinals and a best-of-three finals.
Canada is listed at +130 as the favorite in the World Cup of Hockey betting futures, and that's a fair price. The rest of the field starts at +500, so good longshots are out there. But this event may cater more to game betting or even live betting when available.
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