Want all the last-second drama of the NFL Playoffs? How about if it’s provided by two longstanding rivals? Rivals settling their issues on ice? If so, welcome to the Winter Olympics, where the women’s hockey teams from the USA and Canada are betting favorites once again. Canada tops most 2022 Winter Olympics oddsboards with a slightly shorter price than the Americans.
Four years ago, Team USA edged Canada in a shootout to win Olympic gold. It was the first time the U.S. won gold since the sport made its Winter Olympics debut in 1998. In the interim, the Canadians had won four consecutive golds.
The teams remain evenly matched, each returning 13 players from their 2018 rosters. They’ve squared off plenty of times since, including the recent My Why Tour, during which Canada won four of the six games.
Team USA And Canada Feature Experienced Rosters
Hilary Knight leads the way for the Americans, becoming only the fourth woman in USA Hockey history to make four Olympic teams. Knight, though, is far from the only experienced member of this year’s squad, as Kendall Coyne Schofield, Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel, and Lee Stecklein each made the team for the third time.
Knight will see plenty of familiar faces across from her, as Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin and Rebecca Johnston are both making their fourth Olympic appearances as well.
Here’s how the top six countries stack up, according to the betting market.
American Men Longshots To Medal With NHL Players Absent
With NHL players missing the Winter Olympics for a second straight time, it will take something akin to a new Miracle On Ice, for the U.S. squad to win the gold medal in Beijing. It may take a minor miracle for the U.S. to medal at all.
Team USA wound up eighth in 2018, but with NHL players slated to return this year, things were looking up. Alas, after the latest waves of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NHL to postpone a number of games late in 2020, the NHL decided its stars would stay home.
The decision, which enables the NHL to play the rescheduled games during what would have been a pause in its schedule, has impacted the rosters of many nations. The U.S. is feeling the brunt of that decision.
Oddsmakers have the Russian Olympic Committee as the favorites, followed by Finland, then Sweden. Canada, the Czech Republic, and Team USA round out the top six.
Instead of a roster containing players such as Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel, and Patrick Kane, the USA roster predominantly features collegiate players. Some of them may wind up NHL superstars in time, but that doesn’t mean they’re on equal footing with veterans on the Russian Olympic Committee roster.
There are 15 current college players on the 25-man roster, eight of whom are playing professionally in Europe, and two in the AHL. Seven of the players have previous NHL experience. Forward Brian O’Neil is the only player who skated for Team USA in the 2018 Olympics.
Among the notable collegiate players are a trio of first-round NHL draft picks. Defenseman Jake Sanderson and forward Brendan Brisson were selected in 2020, with forward Matty Beniers picked second overall in 2021.