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November 19, 2019

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Place your bets: Books already taking action on new NHL team

Las Vegas is 100-1 to win Stanley Cup in inaugural season of 2017-18

NHL Announces Las Vegas Team

Steve Marcus

New franchise owner Bill Foley shakes hands with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman during an NHL news conference announcing Las Vegas’ first professional sports franchise Wednesday, June 22, 2016, at Encore. The NHL team is expected to begin play in the 2017-18 season at T-Mobile Arena.

NHL Announces Las Vegas Team

Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak arrives with customized road signs at a NHL news conference at the Encore Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Sisiolak gave a sign to new franchise owner Bill Foley, left, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, he said. Launch slideshow »

The Las Vegas (insert name here) don’t have a coach or a roster, but you can bet them at plus-150 at Station Casinos to win the first game in franchise history in the fall of 2017.

You can also bet on Vegas’ total points for the 2017-18 season (O/U 72.5) and a few other options as Station Casinos wasted little time posting some prop-bet numbers after the expansion announcement became official this afternoon.

“With all of the hype and buzz and electricity towards us getting a team, we wanted to pounce right away,” said Chuck Esposito, sports book director at Sunset Station.

Stations also posted options on how Vegas will score its first goal:

• Full strength goal: 1-to-2

• Power play goal: 2-to-1

• Short-handed goal: 10-to-1

• Penalty shot in regulation: 25-to-1

• No goal in regulation: 4-to-1

At the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, you can bet on the unnamed Vegas franchise to win the 2017-18 Stanley Cup at 100-to-1. Hockey doesn’t generate much betting interest in Las Vegas, but Esposito expects that to change with a local team playing at T-Mobile Arena.

“I think you’ll be able to tell just from the atmosphere in our books that you’re going to see an uptick in hockey,” Esposito said.

Forecasting the total season points for a team that doesn’t have even a single player yet isn’t an easy task. To try to get a good number, Esposito said they looked at the success of previous expansion franchises while also factoring in the hard salary cap and a draft process that Commissioner Gary Bettman said is more likely to give Vegas a head start than previous expansion teams.

“The fact is, this is going to be a deeper expansion draft than we’ve ever had before,” Bettman said.

In addition to the expansion draft, Las Vegas will get the same entry draft lottery odds as the team that finishes third to last next season. That would net the team a 2017 draft pick as high as No. 1 and no lower than No. 6.

As for the once prominent fear of putting a major-league team in a state with legalized gambling, common sense about the highly regulated industry started to take hold a few years ago. Bettman noted his league traditionally hasn’t generated the attention that would make gambling too big of a concern.

“As everyone knows, compared to say basketball or football, our game is less susceptible to gambling,” he said.

The league has until 30 days before the start of the 2017-18 season to petition the Gaming Control Board to not post franchise odds statewide. However, Board Chairman A.G. Burnett told the Sun last week that no conversations had taken place so far and he doesn’t expect them to, either.

“It would certainly be out of the ordinary if that were to occur,” Burnett said.

And if you think Stations is done giving you gambling options more than a year away from the (insert name here’s) first game, then think again.

“This is definitely the first wave. We’ll try to be creative again,” Esposito said. “Now that it’s official the barn door’s open.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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