The XXIII Winter Olympic games will feature both men and women’s Ice Hockey events. There are several qualifying matches played starting on February 10th with the Women’s Preliminary Rounds at the Kwandong Hockey Centre opening with Japan vs Sweden at 16:40 KST. The Vegas odds makers list the Women's USA team as the chalk favorite at -120. The women's USA team is a four time medalist team in the last five Olympic games winning one gold and three silver medals. Canada's womens team is right on top listed at EVEN. Canada is the reigning four time gold medalist winners when it comes to women’s ice hockey and with the talents of Szabados, Agosta, Spooner and Poulin they could be the upset team for the USA. Finland is listed as the bronze medal favorite at +1600. Team Finland will look to continue their 2017 Women’s World Championship level play in South Korea.
The Men’s Preliminary Rounds will start on February 14th at 21:10 KST with Slovakia vs Olympic Athletes from Russia. There will be a big difference in the games as the National Hockey League is not allowing their players to attend. This is the first time since 1994 that NHL players have not participated in the Olympic Vegas odds event. NHL officials decided that there was no benefit in a 17-day break in the regular NHL season to accommodate Olympic participation. The lack of NHL players make the USA and Canadian teams a bad pick for the Vegas odds bettors. Russia on the other hand is listed as the favorite pick at +200 despite their being unsuccessful internationally but with the Kontinental Hockey League allowing players to travel to PyeongChang the expert picks have then on the winning side of the betting odds. Sweden and Finland are other top contenders for medals and the Vegas odds makers list them at +400 and +800 respectively. Both countries have a lot of talent that is capable of beating some of the worlds best in the game of ice hockey.
If as a bettor you rely on the NHL players then the women’s team is your best bet. If your a KHL fan then stick to the Men’s hockey play. The Medal games for the women will start on February 21st and the men’s on February 24th.
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