LAS VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS GO FROM 200-1 TO OPEN TO NOW FAVS AT 4-1 TO WIN CUP!
Well living in Vegas and getting our first Pro Franchise, well to actually play a home game here, it was a long awaited feeling like Santa had finally delivered. For a sports lover like myself, it was a long 30 year wait. I won’t lie, being an Expansion team is usually not a recipe for tons of winning out the gate. I thought the Fans would support great early on, then as the losing started, it would dwindle as season progressed.
There is just one hitch to that thinking. The losing NEVER happened. They came flying out the gate, setting off every record possible for an Expansion team. Nobody could predict the meshing these players who most teams didn’t want, but from Day 1 this group played hard, played TEAM HOCKEY, with No egos at all. Add in the Fan turn out and backing has been to a level almost never seen. Sellouts every game, with fans even paying $100 for Standing Room only seats.
To see an Expansion team finish in 1st place, with over 100 total points and an amazing (51-24-7) record is really more a Hollywood Movie, then a real life Major Sports reality. Then adding an almost impossible Playoff Sweep in it’s first ever Playoff Series, and this story is now by far the most fantastic Sports story of the Year. From a team that Vegas Sportsbooks posted as (200-1) Underdogs to now being one of the Favorites to win the Stanley Cup at (4-1), along with Nashville, is something that will be talked about for many years ahead, regardless of the final outcome this season.
The next opponent for the Storybook Knights is the San Jose Sharks, who also advanced with a shocking sweep of their rival L.A. Kings. That Series had 7 games written all over it, especially with the Kings the hottest team entering the Playoff season, with a (9-1) record and grabbing the final spot with that torrid hot streak. The Sharks finished with a (5-4-1) record, and finished ahead of the Kings in the standings by only (2) points. But the story in the NHL, especially in Playoff time, is usually the Goalies, who when Hot, can carry a team all the way. Sharks Goaltender Martin Jones was spectacular vs. the Kings, stopping 128 of the Kings 132 shots overall.
The Sharks, since March 1st, have scored 54 goals at even strength (22 games). The Knights have only scored 37 goals in that category (23) games. The Knights did pull the sweep, but they won all 4 games by 1 goal. They will carry into this Series vs. San Jose with the winningest Goalie (Fleury) still playing. They may be the most disciplined team in the Playoffs and rarely make the stupid mental mistakes.
The big question mark for this Series is whether or not San Jose gets its All Star Joe Thornton back. He’s been out since January with a Knee injury. He’s a big time starpower and has lots of Playoff experience. Nobody can gauge how much he can provide though, being out for such a long period of time.
The best part of all this is that so many folks in Vegas can hit a nice jackpot if this team can somehow win the Stanley Cup. The Las Vegas Sportsbooks are all carrying a huge liability if the hometown boys hoist the Cup.
LAS VEGAS SPORTSBOOKS IN DANGER OF HUGE LOSSES IF KNIGHTS WIN CUP:
The Las Vegas Sportsbooks take action on so many things, even posting crazy props to get action from fans on different games and big events. But never before have the Books seen this type of wagering on the NHL. It’s usually been one of the lowest bet sports of all the major sports. Not this year, and that’s mostly thanks to the hometown Knights team.
Westgate Casino VP of Sportsbook Operations Jay Kornegay, who is also a Knights season ticket holder, says this is the most action ever booking NHL in his 31 year career. He says that while the Knights success could be a huge hit to the Casino red line, he’s just rooting for the team to keep winning and he will worry about that huge loss later (if it happens).
CAN KNIGHTS KEEP THIS STORYBOOK SEASON TO MATCH “MIRACLE ON ICE” STORY??
The Knights still have 3 more Series to win to hoist the coveted Stanley Cup, but they have as good a shot to win as anyone left. With Fleury standing on his head, and a team full of unsung heroes playing like they’ve been together for years, the dream is surely a possibly one now as getting that first Series win was the ice breaker every new team needs. With both teams having red hot Goalies, it’s likely to be a Series full of close games. I’ll call for the Knights to win this Series in 7 games, with a dramatic Overtime win at home in from of 18,000+ crazed fans. Hey why not, this is a once in a century type story, might as well make this story even more exciting. GO KNIGHTS.
Las Vegas Sports Handicapper Gary Greene
*Gary Greene is a longtime Professional Sports Bettor/Handicapper and one of the most respected with over 3 decades of winning success and daily “Betting” information.