With the Olympic tournament bracket being released today, I’m sure you’re all wondering which teams have the best odds to win the Men’s Hockey gold at Sochi. Well, as expected, Canada leads the pack at +160 with Team USA standing as a second favorite with +190 odds. Our Russian hosts have +325 odds and “top seeded” Sweden has very attractive +500 odds. As has been the case since the onset of the Olympics, this has been a four-horse race.
But the bigger story is how this bracket will unfold. In what can only be described as the most anticipated rematch of the Winter Olympics, Team USA and Canada seem like they are on an inevitable collision course once again. This time, however, the western hemisphere rivals will meet in the semi-finals instead of the gold medal game if everything goes according to plan. Canada will have to slug their way past the winner of Switzerland-Latvia, while Team USA will have to play either the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Oh who am I kidding, Team USA will totally play the Czechs.
The one-and-done style of the tournament certainly puts the pressure on, and while winning the Men’s Ice Hockey gold is definitely more important to our Canadian neighbors to the north, it goes without saying that Team USA is out to prove that they are indeed a powerhouse in this sport. Winning an international championship, or gold medal in this case, would absolutely validate the Americans in this regard. Beating Canada on the way there would make it much sweeter.
To be fair, however, Team USA has not tasted the delicious flavor of gold on the international stage in 34 years. They are a perennial bridesmaid, having won their last gold in 1980 and since then they’ve won two silvers at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics while collecting up bronze medals at the 1996, 2004 and 2013 World Championships. They have the second best odds to win Men’s Ice Hockey gold medal for very good reason this year, but success has been hard to come by for Team USA at the international level.
Of course, miracles happen just like they did in 1980 and if there’s any place on the planet that Team USA loves to thrive it’s in Russia, where they won their last Olympic gold medal in Men’s Ice Hockey. Semi-final or not, the slugfest between Team USA and Canada in this year’s Olympics will be a sight to behold and whomever survives that contest should be well on their way to claiming the gold medal no matter who they face.
Now is as good a time to bet on the odds to win Men’s Ice Hockey gold in Sochi. Canada could very well be playing possum leading up to the tournament, but as it stands they have not looked unbeatable. And if you remember the epic war between USA and Canada on the ice in Vancouver 2010, you know that Team USA is more than ready to give the reigning gold medal champions a serious run for their money. I love the near 2-to-1 return on Team USA’s odds to win Men’s Ice Hockey gold, and this number won’t get any better if the Americans stage another miracle by upending Canada in the semi-finals.