2018 Olympic men’s ice hockey betting odds: Russia leads the way, Canada in second

With the ability to send KHL players to Pyeongchang, Russia leads the way in the first round of 2018 Olympic betting odds for men’s ice hockey.

The first round of 2018 Winter Olympic betting odds are out, and the usual suspects are near the top for men’s ice hockey, just not in their usual order.

It’s a unique Olympic year, with the NHL not allowing its players to participate in the 2018 Winter Games. So without some of the top hockey talent on the country, Russia (7/4) is the current favorite according to Bovada, who released its first round of odds on Wednesday.

Russia will benefit from having some of its top players, like forwards Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk, playing overseas in the KHL, and eligible to play in the Games. The KHL will permit its players to attend the tournament. Russia will be without its biggest star in Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin, though.

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Meanwhile, the Sidney Crosby's and Henrik Lundqvist's of the world will be land-locked by the NHL and unable to travel to Pyeongchang, greatly watering down the talent pool.

Coming in at second in Bovada's odds is Canada (3/1), following by Sweden (7/2), then Finland (8/1), then the Czech Republic (9/1) and then the United States (10/1).

At the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the most recent best-on-best tournament, Canada finished first, with Team Europe, a collection of European players not from Sweden, Russia, Finland, or the Czech Republic, finishing in second. The tournament featured predominantly NHL players though, who will all be forced to sit out and watch this year.

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Germany 66/1

At the 2014 Winter Olympics, Canada defeated Sweden in the gold medal game.

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Russia 7/4
Canada 3/1
Sweden 7/2
Finland 8/1
Czech Republic 9/1
United States 10/1
Switzerland 33/1
Germany 66/1
Slovakia 80/1
Norway 100/1
Slovenia 400/1
South Korea 500/1

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