Team USA vs. Team Slovakia.
Arena: Arena Riga. (Riga, Latvia)
The Slovak hockey team defeated the Americans 4-1 at the last World Cup. Will Craig Ramsay's men be able to upset the Stars and Stripes again in the upcoming battle? Our prediction: the U.S. team will be stronger this time and reach the semifinals of the World Championship!
USA current form
The U.S. team last won a World Championship in 1960, so they were clearly not considered among the main favorites in the tournament, in addition, they brought to Riga a very modest squad. In the opening match, Jack Capuano's wards were defeated by Finns - 1:2, but in the next six meetings, they won with a total score of 20:6, and each time during regular time. Such a strong start allowed the Stars and Stripes not only to make the playoffs, but also get there from first place in Group B, so now the Americans have a good chance to fight for the highest places.
Slovakia current form
The Slovak national team is not without miracles in the World Cup playoffs. For Craig Ramsey, this was his third World Cup at the helm of the Slovak national team, and his two previous attempts had ended in failure, including at the home tournament, where he failed to make the group. Now the Tatra Knights started with three straight wins, which promised them an easy life at the end of the group stage, but in the next four meetings they only managed one win, so they were on the verge of relegation, but the Swedish team performed even worse, so the Slovaks finished in the cherished fourth place in the Group A standings.
Expert betting tips
The Slovak national team in Riga is showing excellent hockey, and right now, the Stars and Stripes do not resemble the stellar team that sometimes comes to the World Championships, plays bright and colorful in the group, and then fails in the playoffs, where they need to rebuild. No, Jack Capuano's charges have shown that they can play patiently and reliably if the situation demands it, so it will be extremely difficult for the Slovaks to outplay the Americans in viscous and defensive hockey. As a result, we are forced to bet on the victory of Slovakia at odds of about 3.00.
The Slovak national team is one of the most unpleasant teams at the World Cup, which does not play well and does not allow its opponents much. That's why most of their matches could only be watched on the court. Yes, the day before they lost to the Czech Republic in a productive battle - 3-7, but then both teams' many leaders were out, and that game did not solve anything in terms of the tournament. The American national team has already shown that they are ready to adjust to their opponents, so the optimal option for the forecast is a total of fewer than 4.5 pucks at odds close to 2.1.
Trevor Moore is the leading scorer for Team USA. In seven games in the group stage, the American forward has already scored four goals and added two assists. Such solid performance of the «Stars and Stripes» player should not surprise anyone, since during the last regular season for the «Los Angeles» he scored ten goals, and now he plays in the same combination with Jason Robertson and Conor Garland who provide him with good assists. With that in mind, it is worth looking at a bet on Team USA to win with a Puck Line Handicap of -1.5 at odds of about 2.10.