Mikaela Shiffrin finished second in the first World Cup slalom race of the season, in Levi, after leading after the first run. In her last 21 participations in a World Cup slalom race, Shiffrin finished on the podium 20 times: 16 wins, two second places, and two third places. The only exception in this run was the Zagreb World Cup last January, when she recorded a DNF. Shiffrin has won 25 World Cup races in ladies’ slalom, third-most all-time behind Marlies Schild (35) and Vreni Schneider (34). Ahead of the giant slalom race in Killington, Shiffrin has won 31 World Cup events in total, joint-ninth all-time among women alongside Erika Hess. Hanni Wenzel is in eighth place on 33 wins. Five of those 31 World Cup race wins came on home snow, including the slalom win in the first World Cup in Killington last year. She has only won more World Cup races in Austria (7). Only Schneider (8), Tamara McKinney (7), Katja Seizinger (6) and Nancy Greene (6) have won more ladies’ World Cup races in the United States than Shiffrin (5, ahead of Giant Slalom). After two second places in a row, Shiffrin could fail to win in three consecutive World Cup participations in the slalom for the first time since November-December 2014 (3 in a row).
Petra Vhlová won the first World Cup slalom race of the season, in Levi, ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin and Wendy Holdener. In the last two World Cup seasons, Shiffrin won the first two slalom races, the first woman to achieve this since Marlies Schild in 2011/12. Vhlová also won the last slalom race of the 2016/17 campaign. She can become the fourth woman in the past 13 years to win three consecutive World Cup slalom races, after Shiffrin, Marlies Schild and Maria HöflRiesch. Vhlová could equal Veronika Velez-Zuzulová on a record four slalom wins in the World Cup among women representing Slovakia. Since the start of 2014/15, only Shiffrin (16) has won more World Cup slalom races than Vhlová (3). Velez-Zuzulová and Frida Hansdotter have also won three races in this period.
For the first place, I see this race as a battle between Mikaela Shiffrin as a favourite at the odds of 1.62 and Petra Vlhova as the second favourite at the odds of 4.80. In the last slalom race in Levi, Shiffrin was priced around 1.40-1.50 for an overall win and after the first round, all was pointing to a comfortable win. She sadly made a mistake in the upper part of the track, and while she got thru the lower part of the track perfectly, it sadly wasn’t enough and Vlhova took the first place. At Killington, she should have the home field advantage, and given that she also won here previous season, it is hard to resist her at the bigger-than-usual odds.
Prediction: Mikaela Shiffrin to win
Odds: 1.628 Pinnacle
Wendy Holdener has finished on the podium of a World Cup slalom race on 11 occasions but has yet to claim her first victory. No other woman has claimed more than eight podium finishes in this discipline without winning once. She is the third favourite to win overall, priced at around 12.00 at Pinnacle and 2.25 for a podium finish at Bet365. Frida Hansdotter has won four World Cup slalom events: Kranjska Gora in 2013/14, Flachau in 2014/15, Lienz in 2015/16 and Flachau in 2016/17. Mikaela Shiffrin and Hansdotter are the only women to claim at least one victory in a World Cup slalom race in each of the previous four World Cup seasons. Fourth favourite to win outright, prices around 3.40 at Bet365 for a podium finish.
Prediction: Wendy Holdener to beat Frida Hansdotter
Odds: 1.595 Pinnacle
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