Vegas’ fans rejoice while oddsmakers sweat

Published On May 22, 2018 | By mikefurtado | Sports

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly presents Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland with the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl after defeating the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference Final of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Centre on May 20. (Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters)

Michael Furtado

Anyone who said they predicted the Vegas Golden Knights to be four wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup in its inaugural season is probably lying. Not even Las Vegas oddsmakers expected the home team to have remote chance at winning the cup.

Vegas oddsmakers pegged the Golden Knights at 200 to 1 odds at the start the season to take it all and they’re now facing massive payouts if the team wins. That means if someone bet $1 to win the cup, they stand to earn $200.

Even considering the odds being extremely lopsided, there were still many people willing to take a shot at hitting the jackpot.

One of the largest bets on record would see a $400 bet turn into a $120,000 payout. This is just one of the many bets placed on Vegas before the start of the season.

However, blame shouldn’t be put on the shoulders of oddsmakers for the possible payouts to be made by the end of Vegas’ playoff run. They are doing something that has never been done by an expansion team since the 1967-1968 season when the league ballooned to 12 teams from six.

No expansion team has ever finished with a winning record in its first season, let alone make it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury catches the puck against the Winnipeg Jets in the first period in Game Four of the Western Conference Final of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena, May 18. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters)

Jared Clinton, a writer at The Hockey News, says the reason for these slim odds to win at the start of the season has direct correlation to the history of success by expansion teams of the past.

“I think history played a huge role in oddsmakers decisions,” he said. “They’re basically saying, ‘there’s no chance in hell this team’s going to do anything.'”

Clinton said most people overlooked the veteran players Vegas picked up during the expansion draft because teams were looking to offload expensive contracts due to the salary cap.

One of these players is goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who has arguably been the most valuable player to the Golden Knights during its miraculous playoff run. 

“It’s going to be hard to find a team willing to offload a starting goaltender because a lot of teams don’t have a goaltender in the wings ready to take over,” he said.

Regardless of what happens over the next few weeks Vegas has proven to defy all odds and accomplish things that were once seen to be impossible.

Fans are ecstatic about these accomplishments, even though the success has oddsmakers quaking in their boots.

But one thing is sure, whether the Golden Knights win Stanley Cup or the bookies avoid losing millions, the house in Vegas always wins.

 

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