U.S. Women Are Oddsmakers’ Choice to End Canadian Hockey Sweep

Odds are that Canada won’t duplicate the Olympic hockey medal-round sweep of the U.S. it pulled off in Vancouver four years ago.

The American women have a 60 percent chance of winning today’s gold-medal game against the Canadians, according to odds set by online sports book Bovada.lv. The men’s teams play tomorrow in a semifinal, with the winner advancing to face either Sweden or Finland in the final.

A correct $150 bet on the U.S. women, who lost 3-2 in a preliminary game versus Canada on Feb. 12, will yield $100 in winnings with Bovada. Those who see Canada winning its fourth-straight women’s hockey gold medal would have to gamble $100 to win $120.

“From a bookmaking perspective, any time Canada plays the USA in hockey, men’s or women’s, we are happy because of the increased action we will take on the games,” Kevin Bradley, an online sports book manager at Bovada, said in an e-mail. “USA women are -150 favorites over Canada and seeing a lot of love with over 70 percent of the money on them.”

Canada is the 8-5 favorite at Bovada to win the men’s gold, while the U.S. has 9-5 odds, followed by Sweden at 16-5 and Finland at 13-2. That means gamblers would have to bet $50 on Canada to win $80.

As for tomorrow’s semifinal matchup between the U.S. and Canadian men, “We currently have the game at a ‘pick ’em,’ basically a coin toss,” according to Bradley.

“As a Canadian, I actually get to cheer for my home country for once, unlike the 2010 Olympic men’s finals,” said Bradley, who supports the outcome that best benefits the sports book. “It was the complete opposite with almost one-sided money on Canada as significant favorites.”

Crosby’s Goal

Four years ago in Vancouver, Sidney Crosby scored 7 minutes, 40 seconds into overtime to give the Canadian men a 3-2 win over the U.S. to capture gold. The Canadian women topped the U.S. 2-0 on a pair of first-period goals by Marie-Philip Poulin.

The top three National Hockey League points leaders this season are Canadian. Crosby, of the Pittsburgh Penguins, has 78, including 28 goals and 50 assists, followed by Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks with 29 goals and 38 assists for 67 points; and John Tavares of the New York Islanders, who has 24 goals and 42 assists for 66 points. Tavares will miss the rest of the NHL season after tearing a ligament in his knee at the Olympics.

Phil Kessel, an American who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs, is fourth in the NHL with 65 points.

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