Olympic hockey betting, odds stacked against Team USA

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA won silver in 2010, but the mens hockey team is not even favored to earn a medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

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If the United States is going to take the top spot on the podium at the men's hockey tournament in Sochi, they're going to have to do it as the underdogs.

The odds to win the gold medal in hockey at Sochi heading into the tournament have the United States at 6/1, which puts them behind Canada (2/1), Russia (12/5), and Sweden (9/2) on the Olympic hockey gold medal odds list.

Finland, decimated by injuries in the past few weeks with Minnesota Wild's Mikko Koivu and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Valtteri Filppula both out, is fifth at 11/1 odds, with the Czech Republic at 12/1.

Switzerland at 25/1, Slovakia at 33/1, and Norway, Latvia, Austria, and Slovenia are major all longshots at betting shops such as Sports Interaction.

The Americans sit in Group A of the tournament along with Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia, with the Russians favored at -200 over the United States (+175) to finish in top spot in group action at the event. Slovakia is at +1000 on those odds, with Slovenia well back at +10000.

The United States plays its first game of the tournament on Thursday, when they'll take on Slovakia as -325 favorites at the sportsbooks. The Slovakia roster is headlined by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, and St. Louis Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak, while Columbus Blue Jackets forward Marian Gaborik will miss the tournament for the Slovaks due to injury.

The Slovaks are +260 underdogs for Thursday.

The American team will then take on Russia in a showdown game on Saturday before rounding out preliminary action against Anze Kopitar, we mean Slovenia, in which should be a gimme game on Sunday. All of those games are set to get underway at 7:30am ET.

In the other two groups, Canada is the clear favorite at -650 to win Group B over Finland (+350), Norway (+5000) and Austria (+10000), with Sweden at -200 to win Group C over the Czech Republic (+175), Switzerland (+800), and Latvia (+10000).

While it dominates the headlines, hockey is not the only Winter Olympic sport where fans can wager. There are odds on every event along with futures and props on which country will win the most medals.

More on the Winter Olympics:

SB Nation's Winter Olympics medal tracker | Meet Team USA

Team Canada's beer fridge only opens with passport | #Lookit

What you need to know about curling | Bobsled, luge and skeleton

Miracle Put on Ice: 1984 US hockey team never had a chance

Hockey: Men’s schedule | All 12 men’s rosters | USA roster analysis

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