Winter Olympics 2014: Odds on Every Team to Win Gold In Hockey

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Odds on Every Hockey Team to Win Gold

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

With no disrespect to the rest of the games, hockey is arguably the biggest draw at every iteration of the Winter Olympics. The NHL is the only league to shut down its season so that players can compete in the games. The Olympic hockey tournament is a great platform for the best players in the league to leave their respective teams and compete for their country. Take the Chicago Blackhawks for example, where 10 teammates will temporarily put down their Hawks sweater and be divided among their five home countries for a brief two weeks.

Olympic hockey is capable of drawing high interest from even the casual hockey fan because the games are played at a faster and more exciting pace. Many may not know that the Olympic rinks have wider dimensions than NHL rinks to allow for a speedier game on the ice. Even the women's hockey tournament is growing in popularity.

The 11-day, 30-match tournament is made up of 12 teams divided into three groups. The 2014 Olympic Men's Hockey Groups are:

Group A -- United States, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia

Group B -- Canada, Austria, Norway, Finland

Group C -- Switzerland, Latvia, Sweden, Czech Republic

It is no surprise that Canada has won the most gold medals in the hockey event. On the men's side, they won their eighth gold medal back in 2010 when their country hosted the Vancouver games. This time around in Sochi, they will look to bring back home their third gold medal in the last four Olympics. Here is a look at the odds for all 12 countries in the tournament for this year's games. Of course, they are strictly for amusement purposes only.

Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.

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12. Slovenia - 100/1

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Anze Kopitar and Slovenia are in a difficult group after not qualifying for the games in 2010.

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11. Latvia - 75/1

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Zemgus Girgensons and Latvia had the lowest goal differential during the 2010 games.

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10. Austria - 50/1

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Vanek leads Austria into Sochi after the team did not qualify for the Vancouver games.

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9. Norway - 35/1

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mats Zuccarello leads Norway, who has a difficult draw after having the second-worst goal differential in 2010.

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8. Switzerland - 25/1

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Switzerland will need goalie Jonas Hiller to continue his hot play in order to have a chance at the medal round.

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7. Slovakia - 20/1

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Premier goal scorer Marian Hossa will need to light the lamp often for Slovakia to advance deep in the tournament.

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6. Czech Republic - 15/1

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Led by center David Krejci, the Czech Republic is always capable of winning gold, much like in the 1998 games.

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5. Finland - 12/1

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Finland has the best group of goalies in the games led by Antti Niemi, and is a serious contender after winning bronze in Vancouver.

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4. Russia - 10/1

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Led by star Alex Ovechkin, Russia will be one of the favorites to win gold as the team will be playing in their home country.

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3. Sweden - 8/1

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Sweden is another favorite to reach the final game with a strong roster led by Alexander Steen.

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2. United States - 4/1

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Silver medal winners in the 2010 games, Patrick Kane will lead the USA hoping to bring home the gold this time around.

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1. Canada - 3/2

Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Led by Sidney Crosby, Canada won gold in 2010 and is the heavy favorite to repeat in the 2014 games.