A pair of early morning tiebreakers will be required to complete the field for the championship round at the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier. After finishing deadlocked in third place in Pool B with identical 5-3 records, Mike McEwen’s Manitoba squad will take on fellow Manitoban Jason Gunnlaugson for the right to face defending champion Brendan Bottcher. Friday’s other semi-final is an all-Saskatchewan affair as Colton Flasch leads the provincial squad against Matt Dunstone’s wild card crew for a berth in a semi-final versus Alberta’s Kevin Koe.
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at all the odds and trends as the championship round of this year’s Tim Hortons Brier gets underway at ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta. Sports bettors looking to get in on curling action for the first time can check out our guides to the best online sportsbook reviews and online casinos in Canada to learn all they need to know to get the best out of their betting experience.
Manitoba looked to be destined for a championship round berth after opening the round-robin on a 3-1 run, but Mike McEwen’s team blew opportunities to close the deal with losses in their final two outings. Nowhere was it more apparent than in Thursday night’s round-robin finale versus Quebec, which they lost with a 10th end meltdown.
— Chris H (@the_manekin) March 11, 2022
McEwen’s squad faces an old rival with a score to settle in Friday’s tiebreaker. Awarded a wild card this year after representing Manitoba in each of the past two years, Jason Gunnlaugson’s team has shown steady improvement at this tournament, only to be denied a championship round berth by a loss to tournament-opening favourite Brad Gushue’s wild-card team. However, Gunnlaugson has held the upper hand in past clashes with McEwen, defeating him in both the Manitoba provincials and the pre-Olympic trials.
In Friday’s other tiebreaker, Matt Dunstone will be aiming to continue his run towards a third straight appearance in the Tim Hortons Brier final when he battles Colton Flasch and Team Saskatchewan. Pegged as a lengthy 29.00 bet entering the tournament, Flasch forced Friday’s tiebreaker with a nail-biting 9-8 win over Dunstone in 11 ends of Thursday evening, leaving both teams with 6-2 records.
Colton Flasch, Matt Dunstone to meet in Friday Brier tiebreaker https://t.co/xtfXpNGYuy
— Regina Leader-Post (@leaderpost) March 11, 2022
Listed as a strong 9.50 tournament-opening bet, Dunstone’s squad opened this year’s tourney with six straight wins, but blew a late lead in an 8-7 loss to Team Canada, and found themselves playing catch-up throughout their clash with Flasch. Conversely, Flasch’s victory over Dunstone extends his squad’s current win streak to four games, giving Saskatchewan a clear psychological advantage going into the weekend.
Favourites Living Up to Expectations
After representing Canada at the Beijing Olympics, Brad Gushue entered the Brier as a strong 2.25 favourite and has not disappointed. The wild card skip out of St. John’s, Newfoundland rolled to the top of the Pool B standings with a perfect 8-0 record, and is now well within reach of a fourth career Brier title. In addition to tallying a tournament-high 66 points, Gushue’s squad particularly dominated early in the round-robin but saw their two most recent wins each come by just a single rock.
It took an extra end but we managed to pull out our 7th win this morning! And with that win, we’ve clinched first place in pool B! We have the afternoon off and we finish up the round robin tonight vs Team BC. #Brier2022 pic.twitter.com/Mn9G5jw7b2
— Team Gushue (@TeamGushue) March 10, 2022
First place finishers in Pool A, with a 7-1 record, Alberta’s Kevin Koe has fulfilled the promise as a pre-tournament 3.75-second favourite. The Alberta squad needed some last-minute heroics along the way, with two of their wins coming in the final end, and three due to comeback efforts. However, their lone defeat came to Dunstone, whom they could still see in the final.
Kevin Koe and Matt Dunstone are putting on a show tonight in Lethbridge! #Brier2022
— TSN Curling (@TSNCurling) March 8, 2022
Brendan Bottchner has done well at defending his Brier title and is looking like a good wager to those who got in on the Team Canada skip’s lengthy 12.00 pre-tournament odds. Bottchner opened a 5-0 run, but faced stiff competition down the stretch in the round-robin. Canada needed 10th end comebacks to get past Ontario and New Brunswick, and an extra end to outlast Dunstone in an 8-7 win before blowing a 10th end lead in a 5-4 loss to Koe. While the favourites look well-positioned to maintain their perch as the tournament wears on, sports bettors should seize the opportunity to double down on Flasch with a value wager if he survives Friday’s tiebreaker.
Best Bet: Flasch – Team Saskatchewan
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