The NHL Odds of the Vegas Golden Knights

Expansion teams in pro sports are obligated to suck, struggle, and lose when first starting to play. As the newcomers in the league, they are not supposed to taste success until at least several years of mediocracy have gone by.

But the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights have ignored those obligations. In the team’s inaugural season, they have won the Pacific Division and the Western Conference in which they play. Right now, the Knights are in the Stanley Cup Finals, just four wins away from winning the world’s most prestigious hockey league. They are certain to face either the Capitals or the Lightning in the finals – two teams against which the Knights have a 2-0 regular season record.

Even halfway through the regular season, the Knights were already the best expansion team in the history of all pro sports. Since then, the team has only added to the record books.

But who is not necessarily cheering the Knights on? The Vegas bookmakers.

That’s right. The Cinderella story of the Vegas Golden Knights is going to reflect poorly on the pockets of the Vegas sportsbooks. Covers explains how the
NHL odds that the Knights received for months can now lose Vegas bookmakers $5 million. Although almost everyone doubted that the Knights could make it to the playoffs, people bet on them nevertheless – even if it was just because of the excitement surrounding a local Vegas sports franchise.

“The $5 million stands to be the biggest futures loss in the history of the Silver State,” according to Patrick Everson of Covers.

Futures are bets placed on a long-term outcome, like predicting the winner of the championship while the regular season is on-going, rather than a single game. More details on how to place futures bets on your NFL picks, NBA picks, MLB picks, or NHL picks can be found here on Covers.

Here is how the Vegas Golden Knights went from being dead last to favorites in the running to win the Stanley Cup.

June 6, 2017

NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup – 200/1 (ranked 31 out of 31)

At this point, Gerard Gallant has officially been named the head coach of the Golden Knights, but the team has a total of two players, neither of whom have played in the NHL before. Gallant has been fired by the Florida Panthers in November 2016 for a mediocre start to the season.

As a result, everyone is expecting the Golden Knights to suck in the upcoming season, including the bookmakers. And that’s not an unreasonable expectation considering the history of expansion teams.

September 25, 2017

NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup – 200/1 (ranked 31 out of 31)

The training camp is over, and the preseason is underway. Tomorrow, the Knights will hold their first game at the T-Mobile in Vegas. The roster is full, but it doesn’t look pretty.

The rest of the league gave the Knights the unwanted contracts, the underperformers, and the aging stars. There are a couple of superstar names on the team, like Marc-André Fleury and James Neal, but the rest of the team doesn’t appear to be as high-caliber. The expectation is that the Knights are going to suck, still.

October 11, 2017

NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup – 88/1 (ranked 28 out of 31)
Vegas Record: 3-0-0 (4th in the Western Conference, tied 6th overall)

On October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, leaving 58 people dead and 851 injured. The incident became the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States. Las Vegas was left to heal.

The Golden Knights took it upon themselves to show that the people of Las Vegas stood resolute in face of tragedy. That Vegas was #VegasStrong.

So, the Knights got off to a hot start in the regular season. The team won its first-ever game against the Stars in Dallas and then beat the Coyotes in Arizona the day after.

And then, on October 10, the Knights dismantled the Coyotes again – this time in Vegas. In their emotional, first-ever regular season home game, the Knights have given Vegas something to cheer for. And they have stayed #VegasStrong ever since.

November 18, 2017

NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup – 88/1 (ranked 28 out of 31)
Vegas Record: 11-6-1 (5th in the Western Conference, tied 11th overall)

The Knights continued to roll on, exceeding all expectations early on. The team won more games than it lost, which is an impressive achievement for a first-year team. But few people are thought the Knights could keep it up.

December 22, 2017

NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup – 20/1 (ranked 14 out of 31)
Vegas Record: 22-9-2 (2nd in the Western Conference, tied 3rd overall)

Christmas approached quickly, and the Knights remained on a serious hot-streak. They’ve worked their way up to the very top of the league table, far exceeding everyone’s expectations, including their own.

Somehow, this unwanted group of players – dropped by their teams in the summer – have bonded together into a dangerous team. And although the Knights keep losing goalies due to injuries (the team would use five goalies during the regular season, four of whom combined for a total of two games played in the NHL previously), they would keep on finding ways to beat their competition.

January 4, 2018

NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup – 12/1 (ranked 2 out of 31)
Vegas Record: 27-10-2 (1st in the Western Conference, 2nd overall)

In early 2018, Vegas actually made it all the way to the top of the Western Conference. The only team better than them points wise was the Tampa Bay Lightning – the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The Knights’ odds finally reflect how the team has been performing this season and people are starting to seriously believe the Knights will make the playoffs, and maybe even compete in them.

March 27, 2018

NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup – 8/1 (ranked 5 out of 31)
Vegas Record: 48-21-7 (3rd in the Western Conference, 5th overall)

The Knights cooled-off slightly from their hot start and failed to perform as well in the second stretch of the season. But Vegas was still going strong as they clinched a berth in the playoffs with a victory on March 26.

April 10, 2018

NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup – 7/1 (ranked 4 out of 31)
Vegas Record: 51-24-7 (3rd in the Western Conference, 5th overall)

Regular season’s over. The Knights won the Pacific Division and ended the regular season as the 5th best team in the league. It has been a record-breaking season and Vegas was excited for the playoffs.

May 22, 2018

NHL Odds to win the Stanley Cup – 11/10 (ranked 1 out of 31, 3 teams left)
Vegas Record: (12-3)

Not only did Vegas sweep the LA Kings and beat the San Jose Sharks, the Knights also prevailed over the Winnipeg Jets to win the Western Conference – something that was supposed to finally stop the Knights juggernaut.

Now, the Knights stand just four wins away from winning it all. What’s more, they now have the best NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup.

Where Do the Knights Stand in History?

Just to put things into perspective, the Golden Knights started the season with 200/1 NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup. No other NHL team had odds that were worse than 75/1.

Comparing that to other sports can be helpful as well. The Cleveland Browns – the team with a record of 4-44 over the last three years – has 66/1 NFL odds of winning the Superbowl in the upcoming football season. Of the four teams left standing in the playoffs, the Warriors had 4/7 odds to win the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers 4/1, the Celtics 8/1, and the Rockets 12/1. These were the top four NBA picks of the entire league.

Even though $5 million sounds like a lot, the sportsbooks aren’t too concerned. Luckily for them, hockey is only the 4th most popular sport in the U.S., and the sportsbooks have lost more money on other sports like football according to Covers.