Finland vs Slovakia Men's Hockey Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Take Care of Business

Finland have already taken care of an upstart Slovakia team once in Beijing but the rematch comes with much higher stakes. That shouldn't trouble such a strong Finnish team that looks primed for the gold medal game, as our betting picks explain.

Feb 16, 2022 • 14:45 ET • 4 min read

Slovakia’s bid for their first-ever Olympic medal in men’s hockey is alive and could come to fruition with a victory over the heavily favored Finns Thursday night in the men’s Olympic hockey semifinals. 

Can Finland take care of Slovakia for the second time in the tournament, after a 6-2 win in the preliminaries, or does Slovakia have any magic left after their shootout win over the US?

Find out in our free picks and predictions for Slovakia vs. Finland. 

Finland vs Slovakia odds

Finland Slovakia
-334 Moneyline +260
-1.5 (-112) Puck line +1.5 (-112)
Over 5.5 (+145) Total Under 5.5 (-176)

Odds courtesy of bet365 as of February 15, 2022.

Finland opened as -334 favorites on the moneyline with a total of 5.5 that leans heavily to the Under. This is the second meeting in the tournament between the two nations as Slovakia were +300 ML dogs in the first game that Finland won 6-2. 

Finland vs Slovakia predictions

Predictions made on 2/16/2022 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Finland vs Slovakia game info

Location: Beijing National Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022
Puck drop: 11:00 p.m. ET

Finland vs Slovakia picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Puck line analysis

Team Slovakia is riding the high of Wednesday’s dramatic shootout win over the USA. Goalie Patrik Rybar was sensational in the elimination win and will have to take some of that confidence into Thursday’s semifinal matchup. The Finns beat Slovakia 6-2 in the preliminaries but have yet to see Rybar, who has won three straight starts including a shutout over Germany in Slovakia’s first elimination game.

Offensively, Slovakia has scored 13 goals across five games and is being led by 17-year-old phenom Juraj Slafkovsky, who is tied for the tournament lead in goals at five and is a projected Top-10 pick in the July draft.

Despite the heroics of their young skater and netminder, Slovakia are massive +260 underdogs after closing at +300 ML dogs in the first meeting. After losing to Finland 6-2 in the preliminaries and giving up a pair of power-play goals, bettors are not getting a discount on the ML price. The 40-point ML correction seems awfully aggressive for a Finnish team that has yet to win Olympic gold but medaled in five of the last seven Olympics.

Heading into the tournament, the Finns were the No. 2 betting favorite to win the gold while Slovakia were ranked 10th of the 12 teams. Slovakia needed a miracle goal to take things to overtime versus the Americans and took five straight penalties between the second and third periods. The offense has generated plenty of shots (41 vs. Sweden, 33 vs. Finland, 33 vs. Latvia, 34 vs. Germany, and 37 vs. the USA) but struggled to score against Sweden, Finland, and the United States. 

With so much on the line, special teams can play a massive role in the elimination round and Slovakia are yet to score a power-play goal through 18 chances. Winning a game at even strength against the Finns is not an easy task as the favorites have yet to yield an even-strength goal across their last three games. 

Finland also have a big advantage behind the bench in head coach Jukka Jalonen, who won a bronze in the 2010 Olympics and gold in the World Championships and World Junior Championships.

We’d love for Slovakia’s Cinderella story to continue but Finland entered this tourney as the No. 2 betting favorite to capture gold, have already beaten Slovakia, and are paying better than they were in the first meeting. Finland took care of Switzerland 5-1 in their last elimination game and we may see a similar result Thursday night with the Finns getting good cracks at empty-net goals while holding a late lead.   

Prediction: Finland -1.5 (-112)

Covers hockey betting analysis

Over/Under analysis

Goals have been at a premium so far in the elimination round, as only Finland vs. Switzerland saw six or more goals. That game also needed two empty-net goals and getting a freebie in a 4-1 game is not a common occurrence. 

The first meeting saw a total of eight goals but things have settled down for the Finns, who have only allowed power-play goals and none at even strength to their last three opponents. Sweden vs. Finland saw seven goals but a five-minute major penalty from Finland resulted in two straight goals against. 

Harri Sateri stopped 33 of 34 shots versus the Swiss and has 1.33 GAA and a .940 SV% in his three starts. With Slovakia’s team total sitting at 1.5, the books aren’t very high on Slovakia even scoring two goals and we agree with them.

The real question for this total will be the Finnish offense. Rybar has stepped up big time and is a reason why Slovakia could be medal-bound. The Slovakian goalie has an unbelievable 1.05 GAA across four games and although we do like the Finns on the puck line, we doubt the favorites are scoring more than three non-empty-net goals with so much on the line. 

Shop around and try to find the 5, as the Under 4.5 is not a play for us. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Finns blanked Slovakia but the 5 protects us from the 4-1 win, which is a big possibility if Slovakia trail by two goals late and pull their keeper.

Prediction: Under 5 in regulation (-124)

Best bet

Finland have been unstoppable at even strength through four games and have outscored their opponents 12-2 at 5-on-5 so far in the tournament. Slovakia will need some help from their PP, but to date, the power play has been a giant letdown for the underdog and is 0 for 18 so far with the man advantage entering Thursday night.

Rybar might be the talk of the town but the Finns are just as strong in net with Sateri, who helped Finland win Silver in the 2021 World Championships. Getting the favorites at 40 points better than the first matchup is also a big reason for jumping on the favorites here.

Pick: Finland -1.5 (-112)

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