Vegas Golden Knights Overcome Long Odds, Make Playoffs in Debut Season

Posted on: March 27, 2018, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: March 27, 2018, 11:47h.

The Vegas Golden Knights have accomplished a feat not achieved by an NHL team in its inaugural season since 1979-80.

Vegas Golden Knights NHL odds
The Vegas Golden Knights have been the Cinderella story of the 2017-18 NHL season. (Image: Stephen Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports)

With their 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night, Vegas booked a trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They’re the first NHL team to reach the postseason in their debut season since the Edmonton Oilers and Hartford Whalers did so 38 years ago.

“To make the playoffs is real tough,” Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant said after the win. “For an expansion team to make the playoffs, it’s incredible.”

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Vegas Golden Knights are just the sixth expansion team to reach the playoffs in the first season since 1960 of the four major pro sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL).

For perspective on just how remarkable Vegas’ strong play has been, before the season began, the Westgate SuperBook opened the expansion team’s odds on winning the Stanley Cup at 500/1. Today, that line has shrunk to 8/1, tied for the fourth-shortest line.

Stanley Cup Odds

The Vegas Golden Knights are one of five teams that have already clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The others are the Nashville Predators, which lead the league in points with 107, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, and Winnipeg Jets.

The SuperBook likes the Lightning as the favorite (9/2), which implies odds of about 18 percent chance that Tampa Bay hoists the Stanley Cup Trophy in June. The Predators and two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins are next at (5/1), with the Golden Knights and Jets rounding out the top five at 8/1.

The 8/1 gives Vegas about an 11 percent chance of winning the title. A $100 wager placed today and a Golden Knights championship nets the bettor $800.

It’s not just faithful Sin City fans driving the title odds on Vegas down. At online sportsbook Bovada, the Golden Knights are even shorter at 7/1. Only the Predators (15/4) and Lightning (4/1) are more favored.

New Revenue Comes at a Cost

You won’t hear too many Las Vegas oddsmakers complaining, but the Golden Knights are costing the house money. Compared to the other Big Four sports, the NHL has traditionally attracted little sports betting action.

The city’s first major professional sports teams has changed that reality, though hockey wagering remains far behind that of the NFL, MLB, and NBA. Still, the surprising strong play of the Golden Knights is benefiting bettors, not casinos.

“The betting public found a new ATM,” SuperBook manager John Murray declared in January. “It’s called the Golden Knights.”

NHL handle increases when the Golden Knights play at home at T-Mobile Arena, which is just steps from the Strip. Fans attending games want a little financial incentive on rooting for the home team, and Vegas has been very good on their own ice.

The Golden Knights are 27-9-2 at T-Mobile, the fourth-best home record in the entire NHL.