The Vegas Golden Knights are the most successful expansion team in NHL history.
With yet another overtime victory on Thursday night, hockey’s newest team won its 34th contest, surpassing a 24-year-old mark set by both the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks during the 1993-94 season. And they still have 32 games to play.
“It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now, to be honest with you,” coach Gerard Gallant said after the game”
“We’re just trying to battle and get two points every night.” However, the coach admitted, “But you know, at the end of the season we’ll look at it and be happy, I’m sure.”
The Golden Knights sit atop the Pacific Division, with a commanding 12-point lead over the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. Vegas’ 34-12-4 mark and 72 points is second-best in the entire NHL.
The odds of the Vegas Golden Knights sitting in first place past the midway part of the NHL season were extremely long.
The last time the league expanded came during the 2000-01 season with the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets. The teams respectively went 25-39-13 and 28-39-9.
The Golden Knights’ strong play, while celebrated by locals and fans, has come at a cost to Las Vegas oddsmakers. The unlikeliest of seasons has led to significant losses at area sportsbooks.
When Vegas plays at T-Mobile Arena just steps from the Strip, sports betting handle on the game increases significantly. Bookmakers say wagers on Golden Knights home games are 10 to 15 times as much as any other NHL team.
And unfortunately for oddsmakers, Vegas is really good at home. To date, the team is 19-3-2 on their own ice.
Knights, Bettors Winning
According to ESPN, a bettor who has placed $100 on every single Vegas Golden Knights game would be up more than $1,400. The team’s come-from-behind and third-period heroics has also delivered blows to oddsmakers.
Thursday night’s overtime victory was the team’s ninth win in either extra minutes or a shootout, as 26 percent of the franchise’s victories have come after regulation.
“Everyone knows that Las Vegas isn’t a city that really gets going until late,” the team posted to its Twitter account this week.
At online sportsbooks Bovada, Vegas is +600 (implied odds 14.29 percent) to win the Stanley Cup. A $100 wager nets the bettor $600 should the Golden Knights hoist the coveted trophy come June. The line is tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the shortest of any NHL team.
The Westgate SuperBook agrees, with both the Lightning and Golden Knights at 6-1. The defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins follow at 8-1, then it’s the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators (both 10-1), Washington Capitals (14-1), and Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets at 14-1.