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November 21, 2018

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Stanley Cup by the odds: Sports book preview and picks of Game 2

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Wade Vandervort

Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) scores against Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) during Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals at T-Mobile Arena Monday, May 28, 2018.

Home teams that win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final have gone on to win the series 84 percent of the time since the NHL implemented the best-of-seven format 79 years ago.

Sports books are slightly more restrained when it comes to the chances the Vegas Golden Knights winning the championship in their inaugural season after beating the Washington Capitals 6-4 on Monday night to start the Stanley Cup Final.

The current odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook imply an approximate 70 percent chance that the Golden Knights ultimately get past the Capitals.

Vegas moved to a minus-260 (risking $2.60 to win $1) favorite in the series, with Washington coming back at plus-210 (risking $1 to win $2.10) going into Game 2 at 5 p.m. tonight at T-Mobile Arena.

If it sounds like casinos are underrating the Golden Knights — which were minus-150 to win going into the series — it wouldn’t be the first time. The millions of dollars sports books stand to lose if Vegas prevails, dating back to when it was 500-to-1 before having a team, have been widely reported.

The house took a hit on Game 1, too. Ninety percent of the money wagered coming into the weekend at William Hill sportsbooks was on the Golden Knights.

The action on Vegas caused the Game 1 line to move from as low as minus-145 to as high as minus-170. The Game 2 number has followed a similar trajectory.

Vegas is currently sitting at minus-160 at most local shops after opening at minus-155 following Game 1.

The total sits at 5.5 goals with the “over” priced as a favorite at minus-130. Strong goaltending from both teams helped the conference finals combine for the “under” to go 6-2-4, but the trend screeched to a halt on Monday.

Game 1 went over in less than 30 minutes, when Washington’s John Carlson beat Marc-Andre Fleury in the second period to tie the game at 3-3. The high-scoring affair likely provided another loss for sports books, as offshore tracking sites indicated more money on the “over” going into the game.

That also meant most of the “yes” and “over” sides cashed on proposition wagers, another fate the house typically hopes to avoid. The yes/over went 13-7 against the no/under in the total of 20 props posted at the Superbook.

The highest payouts were plus-190 to anyone who bet on either team to score three straights, and plus-170 on William Karlsson to score a goal. Oddsmakers notably altered those prices to plus-180 and plus-150, respectively, for Game 2.

If Karlsson keeps rolling, it stands to reason that the Golden Knights will keep winning, and therefore, local bettors will keep cashing.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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