The Stanley Cup Final gets underway this evening in Las Vegas where the home team Golden Knights open the best-of-seven series the favorite over the Washington Capitals.
Game 1 drops the puck at 5 pm PT (8 pm ET) at T-Mobile Arena just off the Las Vegas Strip and steps from where oddsmakers and sports bettors will have millions of dollars at stake on the outcome of the championship series.
The Golden Knights hope to expand on their history-making inaugural year. The expansion team set a win record for an NHL team in its first year, became the first expansion team to reach the playoffs in its first year, and now look to cap off the most improbable sports story in recent memory by topping the Caps.
Las Vegas sportsbooks think their home team will do just that.
The Westgate SuperBook has the Stanley Cup Final odds at a series price of Vegas -150, Washington +130. The Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup, and are in the finals for just the second time in the team’s 44-year history.
The odds give Vegas a 60 percent chance of winning their first NHL title in as many tries. A $100 bet and a Golden Knights championship nets $66.67.
As for Game 1 odds, the SuperBook has the Knights favored at the same series line of -150. The over/under is 5.5 points, with over +105 and the under -125.
Stanley Cup Final series prices are slightly better on the Knights online. Internet bookmaker Bovada has the odds on Vegas at -130. The same $100 wager nets $10.25 more ($76.92) than at the SuperBook.
Ovechkin vs. Fleury
One of the greatest hockey players in the modern era of the NHL, Alex Ovechkin is making his first trip to the Stanley Cup Final. He’s led the league in goals a record seven times, including this year where he scored 49 goals during the regular season.
Ovechkin will face one of the league’s best goalies in Golden Knights star Marc-Andre Fleury. His .927 save percentage was sixth-best in the league during the regular season, and he’s only increased his effeciency in the playoffs to a save percentage of .947.
Fleury has completed the most shutouts this Stanley Cup Playoffs (4), and also has the most wins (12).
2018 marks Fleury’s third consecutive Stanley Cup Final after being part of the last two with the winning Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hockey Gods at Play
Vegas was as long as 500/1 to win the Stanley Cup prior to the regular season. Few had faith that the Golden Knights would be where they are today.
Some fortunate bettors who printed tickets on such odds stand to be paid handsomely should Vegas prevail.
Notable bets include a $60 wager on 500/1 odds that would net $30,000. Another gambler put $400 on 300/1 that would win $120,000.
Many NHL fans believe in the validity of the “hockey gods.” Tonight’s Game 1 will begin to reveal whose side the supposed higher beings are on.
Which team will get the odd bounces and good fortune? Will the hockey gods finally allow Ovechkin to raise the most coveted trophy in the game? Or will hockey’s mischievous spirits favor the Cinderella Knights? We begin to find out tonight.