Sochi 2014: A look ahead

With the XXII Olympic Winter Games not far off now, it’s time for a rundown of some of the teams that are likely to do well, and a look at the odds available already for the hockey fan who likes a punt.

 Schedule

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Sochi Olympic Park – Images courtesy of business2community.com

It’ll be the largest Winter Games ever, and the hockey begins in earnest on Saturday 8th February. The women’s finals take place on Thursday 20th and the men’s on Sunday 23rd. Twelve teams will take part in the men’s event, with Russia and Canada more or less joint favourites to win.

Betting

Online sports betting is huge now wherever you are in the world, and odds on the various teams taking part in the Sochi games are already available from most large bookmakers. Many casino sites are also branching out into the world of sports betting, which makes a lot of sense given that sports sites often have a casino section. Play Online poker like a Titan at Titanpoker.com if it’s too early for you to choose a hockey team to wager on!

Russia

Russia’s Olympic record is good, though not as good as they’d like. They were sixth overall in 2010, having slipped down from fourth in the previous games. In 2002 Russia picked up a bronze medal, and the high point for the team (ignoring the seven golds won by the Soviets between 1956 and 1988) was silver in 1998. The bookies currently rate their chances highly, however, with odds available at the time of writing of around 9/4.

Canada

Canada – never a team to bet against, eh? Eight golds, including 2010, 2002 and the first four times they took part, from 1920 to 1932. Not too shabby. It’s worth noting that Canada have failed to achieve a medal seven times out of fourteen Olympics – but also that almost all of those medals have been gold or silver. Again, around 9/4 is the best price you’ll get right now.2013 11 09_1377

Sweden

Sweden wouldn’t be a ridiculous bet. Ranked fourth in the world after the Czech Republic, they picked up gold medals at Turin in 2006 and Lillehammer in 1994. It’ll be fifty years since they managed silver, but Sweden outperformed Canada in the Winter Games throughout the 1980’s, picking up three bronzes. Current odds on gold for Sweden are between 4/1 and 5/1.

Czech Republic, USA and Others

Though the Czechs are ranked above Sweden, it’s possible to get 12/1 on them at the moment. Since 1998 they’ve picked up a gold, a bronze and two 7th place finishes. Bookies favour the USA over the Czechs, with odds at around 7/1 – 8/1. If you feel like going crazy – and it would be – you can get 2000/1 on both Austria and Slovenia!

Good luck…

Story by Simon Fitzpatrick

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