When the Avalanche scored 28 seconds into Friday’s game against the Golden Knights, it was a harbinger of doom for bettors who backed Vegas in its 6-1 loss to Colorado at T-Mobile Arena.
But the quick strike by former Knights center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare delivered fast cash to gamblers who wagered on the prop bet that a goal would be scored in the first 10 minutes.
Bettors, who typically have to wager about $200 to win $100 on the prop (-200) at the Westgate and William Hill sportsbooks, cashed in again easily Sunday night, when three goals were scored in the first 10 minutes of the Knights’ 5-2 victory over Anaheim at T-Mobile.
The prop is 7-0 in Knights’ home games this season, and Vegas leads the NHL with an 11-2 record in the category overall.
“I don’t get too involved with gimmicky stuff, but I really think there’s some validity to the first 10 minutes of Knights home games,” said Jeff Davis, Caesars Entertainment sportsbook director of trading and a sharp hockey bettor. “They come out flying, the crowd’s going crazy and there’s so much energy in the building.
“I wouldn’t play ‘yes’ on the Knights in road games, necessarily. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you bet ‘yes’ on all 41 Knights home games and it came in 30 times. It might be profitable.”
Davis joked that “it’s a degenerate’s paradise” when asked about the trend on VSiN’s popular morning show “Follow The Money” by co-host Mitch Moss, who loves the fact that the prop is decided so quickly.
“It’s instant gratification,” Davis said.
Through Monday, the Avalanche (9-2), Kings (9-3), Maple Leafs (9-3) and Sharks (9-3) also have had goals scored in the first 10 minutes of at least 75 percent of their games.
Moss and co-host Pauly Howard also are big fans of betting over the total in the first period of NHL games. The number is usually either 1½ or 2, and Vegas also is one of the NHL’s top teams in that category, going 6-1 at home and 9-4 overall.
Moss and Howard helped popularize wagering on first-period overs last season, when six teams dubbed by VSiN as the “Follow The Money 6” finished with a 60-plus winning percentage and three finished above 70 percent in the Lightning (61-21, 74.4 percent), Blackhawks (59-23, 72) and Sharks (58-24, 70.7).
“At the beginning of 2019, we talked about it every single day for three months,” Moss said. “During March Madness, we were still talking about first period bets a lot.”
Moss said he discovered the trend when handicapper Alex Smith (@axsmithsports) wrote about it on Twitter.
“He tweeted out, ‘That’s 15 in a row for the Blackhawks’ first-period over,’” Moss said. “So we started tracking it.”
Smith said he started betting on Chicago’s first-period overs early last season after Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said the team wasn’t starting games fast enough.
“I bet the first-period over at minus 120 the next game, and they went on a 22-game run,” Smith said.
Bookmakers quickly became aware of the trend and increased their prices accordingly. They made the first-period over 1½ goals up to a minus 230 favorite on some games before eventually increasing the total to two goals in many games.
Besides the Knights, several other teams are off to fast starts in first-period overs this season. Through Monday, the Avalanche are 10-1, the Canadiens 9-2 and the Sharks 9-3.
Moss said games are flying over the total early because of several factors.
“There’s more open ice. It’s a different game than it used to be. There’s no more goons in the game,” he said. “There are so many chances and power plays, and the league is so fast now that it creates great opportunities like this.”
For sides to fade or play, Davis doesn’t like the Rangers, Oilers and Kings and likes the Coyotes.
“I really like Arizona,” he said. “They’ve got good goaltending, they skate, they play defense and they don’t turn the puck over.
“The Pacific Division isn’t really deep. Other than Vegas, two other teams have to make the playoffs. I don’t think Edmonton is any good, I know L.A. is not any good. Somebody’s going to make it, and I think why not Arizona?”
Through Monday’s games
(Compiled by @axsmithsports)
Goal in first 10 minutes
Team record win percentage
Golden Knights 11-2 84.6
Avalanche 9-2 80.0
Kings 9-3 75.0
Maple Leafs 9-3 75.0
Sharks 9-3 75.0
Capitals 9-4 69.0
Bruins 7-4 63.6
Avalanche 10-1 90.9
Canadiens 9-2 81.8
Sharks 9-3 75.0
Golden Knights 9-4 69.2
Kings 8-4 66.7
Blues 8-4 66.7
Rangers 6-3 66.7
— — —
Penguins 3-9 25.0
Wild 3-8 27.3
Blackhawks 3-7 30.0
Flames 4-9 30.8
Panthers 4-8 33.3