Canada v Europe Hockey Betting Preview Tuesday 28th September By @The_Drewse

Canada v Europe – World Cup of Hockey Final (Game 1) – Air Canada Centre, Toronto at 01:00 live on Premier Sports

I had a mixed bag for my Semi-Final predictions over the weekend. I was spot on for the Canada/Russia game with over 5.5 goals and Canada winning by a two-goal margin (5-3). On the other hand, the second semi-final between Europe and Sweden didn’t go as I predicted, although I did say that it’ll be close, which it was. The game went into Overtime and Team Europe were the surprising victors by a score line of 3-2.

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Canada

Having got past their tricky encounter against the Russians, the Canadians will relish the series against Europe , Canada have steamrolled through their opponents with relative ease.  Head Coach Mike Babcock has found the perfect chemistry with his lines. The top forward line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Sidney Crosby has been the best at the tournament with 16 points between them in just four games.

Although they conceded three in the semis, the Canadian defence has been impressive. Shea Weber and Marc-Edouard Vlasic nullified Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin who had few goal scoring opportunities.  Huge credit must go to Babcock and his coaching staff as they have prepped their team to perfection and are reaping the rewards for it. There was a huge backlash in their decision to snub defence-men P.K Subban and Kris Letang in favour of the more conservative duo of Jay Bouwmeester (who replaced Duncan Keith) and Jake Muzzin.

Europe

The surprise party of this tournament. The team that has consistently been labelled the underdog in each of their four games are now in the final.  Not bad for a team ridiculed as ‘Team Leftovers’. They had the longest odds at 33/1 and now only Canada stand in their way to achieving the unthinkable.

Their head coach Ralph Krueger, has postponed his day-to-day duties as the chairman of Southampton. He has galvanised his team to the promised land. The former Edmonton Oilers coach praised his players for facing up to adversity, not only in this tournament but throughout their careers. “We’ve just got a whole locker room full of guys that have had to fight to get here and had to fight to stay. But, in the end, they’re NHL players and they’re great NHL players.”

Each time Europe has triumphed over their opponent, the pundits have said how the losing side wasn’t on form or weren’t playing to the level that their capable of. At first, you could think this was true, but it’s no fluke that Europe are in the final. The Europeans will be without veteran winger Marian Gaborik due to a lower-body injury he sustained in the semis.

 

Hockey Betting

Sidney Crosby

 

Key Players

Sidney Crosby (Canada)

Captain Crosby has delivered once again on the big stage. Having looked so bereft of confidence in the first half of last season, the Pittsburgh Penguin has enhanced his reputation as the best player in the world. This will conclude a fantastic year for him having won the Stanley Cup in June with the Penguins.  If he maintains his tremendous form he’ll duly receive the MVP award

Brad Marchand (Canada)

Marchand has excelled playing with the aforementioned Crosby. The Boston Bruins agitator scored 2 goals in the 5-3 defeat of Russia combining with him on both goals. He’s a unique player in the fact that he can do all the dirty work and be offensively effective as well. Expect him to ruffle a few European feathers (and hearts) in this series

Tomas Tatar (Europe)

The Slovakian was excellent in the semi-final overtime win over Sweden. The Swedes could not live with the speed of Tatar that eventually cost them the chance to compete in the final. After scoring his first two goals in the tournament,the Red Wing will be baying for Canadian blood

Dennis Seidenberg (Europe)

Seidenberg nearly cost his side the game with a lapse in concentration,  with his experience he then recovered the puck in the same passage of play. The veteran is seeking a new club, after being bought of his contract by the Boston Bruins that ending a 7-year spell in Massachusetts. He’ll be on a couple of teams’ radars having produced solid displays for Team Europe.

Prediction

Despite the fact that Europe have made it this far, I cannot see Canada losing any games in the series. They defeated the Europeans 4-1 in the round robin and were untroubled in that match. A one-game series would of favoured Europe, as anything can happen in one game, but in a three game series, I believe that Canada have got this one sewn up.

Canada to win the series 2-0

Game 1 Recommendation: Under 5.5 goals @ 2.20 with Unibet

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @The_Drewse.

 

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Sweden v Europe Hockey Betting Preview – Sunday 25th September By @The_Drewse

My first hockey betting prediction didn’t go as I envisaged. My dark horses for the tournament Finland are already eliminated having lost their first two games. So I am seeking redemption in this match-up.

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The second semi-final has been decided, as Sweden and Team Europe will battle it out for a place in the final. Europe have exceeded expectations with convincing wins over the United States and the Czech Republic. Although they lost their last round robin game on Wednesday to Canada (4-1). Sweden finished top of the group of death, with their only defeat against North America.

Team Europe have surprised many with the chemistry that they have formulated in a short space of time. The team is represented by eight different countries that aren’t represented in the tournament as a country. Prior to the tournament, they were labelled as the weakest team and one of the critiques of the tournament for replacing an actual country. Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, the European team have justified their position in the competition.

Sweden, as per usual were one of the favourites for the World Cup. They will hope to end a sequence of near misses having finished second and third in the 2014 Olympics and World Championships respectively. As predicted Sweden’s defence and goaltending has been strong. Although starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist missed the first game due to illness.

 

Key Players

Mats Zuccarello (Europe)

The diminutive Norwegian is the leading point scorer for the Europeans (3) and will hope to maintain his good form in the semi-final. Zuccarello had his career year for the New York Rangers last season and led the team with 61 points. He was also nominated for the Steven McDonald Extra Effort award for his perseverance having missed the majority of the 2014-15 playoffs.

Mats Zuccarello

Mats Zuccarello

Roman Josi (Europe)

One of the most underrated defenceman in the NHL. This ties in with the fact that he plays in the non-traditional hockey market of Nashville. The Swiss had another dominant year for the Predators and duly featured in the all-star game. Expect the Europeans to be reliant on him  to move the puck forward consistently.  He’ll also be hoping to score his first point of the competition.

Niklas Backstrom (Sweden)

The unassuming Swede is leading Tre Kronor with three points (1 goal, 2 assists). The centre was controversially suspended for the 2014 Winter Olympics final due to failing a drug test as he was using an allergy medication containing pseudoephedrine. The playmaker will be a major factor for the Swedes for the outcome of this game.

Gabriel Landeskog (Sweden)

In a one off game like this, Sweden will be hoping to see the grit and determination from Landeskog that has made him revered in the league. The Colorado Avalanche captain is one of the premier power forwards in the game at just 23 years of age. In September 2012, he became the youngest captain in NHL history and won the rookie of the year in the preceding year.

 

Prediction

I don’t think either team will win by a blowout but I’m  predicting a relatively low-scoring game with the final at stake. However, it’s worth noting that Europe beat Sweden 6-2 just over a week ago in an exhibition. I do believe that Sweden will just edge the Europeans and I’m backing them for over 4.5 goals at 1.73 with Eastbridge.

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @The_Drewse

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Russia v Canada Hockey Betting Preview Sunday 25th September By @The_Drewse

For my next World Cup of Hockey Betting Preview, I’ll be covering the first Semi-Final of the tournament between Canada and Russia.

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Road to the semis

Canada strolled through the Round-Robin stage winning all three of their games convincingly. As for the Russians they needed to beat Finland to secure their place for Sunday’s game. They did so in emphatic style (3-0).

The Canadians have been widely regarded as the favourites for this competition and have done little wrong to negate this notion. At times their play has been out of this world as teams have been reverting to a more defensive system to avoid a hammering. Team Canada has outscored its opponents by 14-3.

Russia have improved as the tournament has progressed, having lost 2-1 to Sweden in their opening game.  As mentioned in my preview to the tournament, Russia’s offense is integral to their chances of winning. This was the key to their 4-3 nail-biting win over North America, as they scored 4 goals on 4 straight shots and also showed resilience and determination to come from behind. Russia are still waiting on the status of crafty veteran Pavel Datsyuk. Who sat out the game v Finland.

Russia v Canada is one of the premier fixtures in hockey as they are the most successful nations in the game. This will not be as straightforward as many are predicting. We’re talking about Russia here! Notoriously known for being one of the most unpredictable teams in the game.

 

Hockey Betting

Jonathan Toews

Key Players

Jonathan Toews (Canada) – ‘Captain Serious’ means business! The Chicago Blackhawks captain leads the tournament in goals (3) and points (4) – in a five-way tie. The Winnipeg native is looking to add to his outstanding international resumḕ.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Canada) – The San Jose Sharks defenseman is finally getting the recognition he deserves. He is one of the best defensive defenseman in the game but has also chipped in with two assists in the tournament so far. The Russians will need to be on form if they’re to get the better of Vlasic and co

Evgeni Malkin (Russia) –  Malkin scored his first goal in the tournament against Finland in the last game. He’ll be looking to add more silverware as he won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in June.

Sergei Bobrovsky (Russia) –  If the Russians are going to cause one of the upsets of the tournament they’ll need a big game from Bobrovsky. He sure is capable of producing and he’ll be buoyed having shutout the Finns in his last game.

 

Prediction

I think this will be closer than many think, however I can only see Canada coming out on top with a two goal margin. Unlike the other semi-final, I’m expecting goals here. Therefore,I’m going for over 5.5 goals with both teams full of offensive firepower.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 5.5 goals at 1.85 with Pinnacle

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @The_Drewse

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