In a way, it might be slightly poetic that the team based in the epicentre of the gambling world provides the biggest story in terms of sports betting this year. It, of course, refers to the Vegas Golden Knights and their improbable run to the Playoffs. At the start of the season, Vegas were a massive 200/1 shot to win the Stanley Cup, a price reflecting the fact that expansion teams rarely have success in their inaugural season.
Bookies Make Their Move on Vegas Golden Knights
Of course, as we know now, Vegas tore up the script and then some, setting a handful of records on the way to winning the Pacific Division. Sportsbooks had been reluctant all season to go ‘all-in’ on the Knights, however, keeping them at a price which would be considered just outside the favourites. Things have changed since the 4-0 1st Round Playoff win over the Los Angeles Kings; some bookmakers have now installed Vegas as favourites.
Vegas Stanley Cup win would stand among greatest sporting upsets
The numbers behind the odds don’t really matter to teams when they are on the ice, but it does go to show just how much Vegas’ stock has risen. In a way, the team is reminiscent of Leicester City, the Premier League side who caused the greatest upset in soccer history by winning the title in 2016. Each week, fans, pundits, and bookmakers thought that they would finally run out of steam and relinquish their grasp on the title – they never did, paying out on odds of 5000/1 at the start of the season. Vegas has been similar, with pundits even now pointing out that they still had many flaws in the 1st round win over Kings.
While Vegas winning the Stanley Cup may not be just as shocking, it would still stand tall in the pantheon of sporting upsets. Of course, things can change overnight in the Playoffs, so Vegas’ odds may have changed dramatically by the time you read this. Indeed, one would imagine that Tampa Bay, Nashville and Boston/Toronto will have their odds impacted when they finish their 1st round series. You can check out this guide to betting with Sports Interaction, one of the many sportsbooks to bet with on NHL, which will keep you abreast of latest news and free bet offers for the rest of the NHL season.
Nashville and Tampa Bay still looking the strongest sides in NHL
As mentioned, only a select few bookmakers have Vegas as favourites, with the majority still putting Predators and Lightning at the very top of the betting. The average odds from major sportsbooks see Nashville at 4/1, Tampa Bay at 9/2, followed by Vegas at 6/1. However, you would expect the winner of the series between Boston and Toronto (2-1 Boston at the time of writing) to enter the frame among the favourites. Boston currently sits at around 9/1, with Toronto a big price of 20/1.
In the end, it will be seen as a successful season for Vegas regardless of what happens in the Playoffs. Indeed, they will have a much tougher task in the 2nd round against the San Jose Sharks, who also came through the 1st round with a 4-0 whitewash. But, for the moment, we should congratulate Vegas for being in the mix with the established sides, and perhaps be a little envious of the savvy punters who backed them at 200/1 at the start of the season.
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