Playing for a chance to qualify for the gold medal game, Finland and Slovakia reach their semi-finals by different routes. Here are our tips for the Finland-Slovakia Olympic ice hockey duel on Thursday.
Finland are heavily favored against Slovakia, a team that beat them 6-2 to open the Olympic tournament. Since then, Finland have won every game, including a 5-1 win over Switzerland in the quarter-finals.
Slovakia were almost eliminated by Team USA in the quarter-final match but scored with 44 seconds remaining in the third period, with the goalkeeper being pulled to keep the game at two before winning in a penalty shootout.
Here are my tips and predictions for Thursday’s ice hockey Olympic game between Finland and Slovakia (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook; confidence selection based on a 1-5 star scale).
Finland vs Slovakia Match Info
Appointment time: Thursday, February 17 at 11:10 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Peacock, nbcolympics.com, CBC Gem, cbc.ca
Location: National Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China
SEE ALSO: All Olympic tips
Finland vs Slovakia odds analysis
With recent international success, Finland is unsurprisingly favored in this game. Moneyline prices range from -325 at Caesars Sportsbook to -385 at BetMGM. As an underdog, Slovakia pays +285 at Barstool Sportsbook and BetRivers, up to +250 at DraftKings.
With a goal of one and a half, Finland oscillates in price between -105 and -120. Slovakia +1.5 ranges from -104 on BetRivers and Barstool to -115 on DraftKings and Caesars.
Most sportsbooks have a total set of five goals, with the over price ranging from even money at BetMGM to -115 at DraftKings. The Under costs -105 at DraftKings all the way up to -128 at BetMGM.
The problem in the game as a whole is that FanDuel offers a total of 4.5 at -140 for the over and +114 for the under.
Finland vs. Slovakia picks
• Finland -1.5 (-105 via DraftKings) ★★★★
• Over 4.5 (-140 over FanDuel) ★★★
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Finland vs. Slovakia predictions
Finland -1.5 (-105)
Finland hits 15.25% of their shots at the Olympics, a ridiculously high conversion rate, but part of that is due to a power play clicking at 36.36%.
Defender Sami Vatanen and forwards Valtteri Filppula and Markus Granlund are among the Finnish skaters with NHL experience. However, the team was managed by players who are veterans of European leagues.
This leads to a balanced attack. Sakari Manninen, Miro Aaltonen and Iiro Pakarinen lead the team with three goals tied, while Manninen and Teemu Hartikainen share the lead with six points. Goalkeeper Harri Sateri, 32, has a .954 save rate in these Olympics and has excelled in previous international tournaments.
Slovakia is the only men’s ice hockey team not to have scored a power play goal, going 0-13 in five games. This lack of power-play production has prevented Slovakia from producing a sustained offensive performance, at least beyond the contributions of 17-year-old winger and top draft contender Juraj Slafkovsky. He has scored five goals in five games to lead the attack.
Slovakia has some players with NHL experience, including forwards Marek Hrivik, Tomas Jurco and Marko Dano. Defenseman Martin Marincin played 227 NHL games for the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Slovakia goalkeeper Patrik Rybar excelled, posting a .957 SV% in four games. If Slovakia want to create an upset, they need a great performance from Rybar.
Ultimately, however, Finland will have enough firepower to advance to the gold medal game, and the price is more reasonable if you play the puck line.
Over 4.5 (-140)
Finland have scored 18 goals in total. They scored five or more goals in two out of four games, including the 6-2 win over Slovakia.
Slovakia have scored a total of 15 goals in five games, including beating USA on penalties. It scored five or more goals only once. Catching the lower total in FanDuel makes the over more attractive.
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The selection between Finland and Slovakia was made on 02/16/2022 at 15:01 ET.