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Golden Knights co-favorites for No. 1 seed in Western Conference

Updated May 27, 2020 - 6:06 pm

The Golden Knights enter the NHL’s expanded 24-team postseason as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

But they’re +250 co-favorites at the Westgate sportsbook to get the No. 1 playoff seed in the West in a round-robin tournament of the top four seeds.

No. 1 seed St. Louis and No. 2 seed Colorado are also +250, and No. 4 seed Dallas is the 4-1 long shot to win the tournament. The tiebreaker is regular-season points percentage.

“It’s a small sample of three games, so the tiebreaker could come into play,” Westgate vice president of risk Jeff Sherman said. “We have the Knights as the highest power-rated team in the West. But if it went to a tiebreaker (with the Blues and Avalanche), one of those two would finish higher than the Knights.”

The odds for the Eastern Conference top playoff seed are in order of points percentage, with the Bruins the 2-1 favorites, followed by the Lightning (+225), Capitals (+350) and Flyers (4-1).

The Westgate posted prices on the eight play-in series Saturday. There have been three line moves based on bets placed after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman officially announced the matchups Tuesday.

Sherman said wagers on the Wild at +120 over the Canucks (-140) moved the line to -130/+110.

The Westgate also took action on the Flames at -110 over the Jets, moving Calgary to a -120 favorite.

The No. 5 Penguins are the heaviest favorites at -200 over the No. 12 Canadiens (+175) after the line opened at -190.

In arguably the most appealing play-in matchup, the No. 5 Oilers are -150 favorites over the No. 12 Blackhawks (+130) in a showdown of former Hart Memorial Trophy winners (NHL MVPs) Connor McDavid and Patrick Kane.

“We know Chicago and Edmonton is going to get a lot of betting support and media interest,” Sherman said. “Just because you’ve got the large market in Chicago and Kane vs. McDavid.”

The No. 10 Panthers, -120 favorites over the No. 7 Islanders (Even), are the only lower seed favored over a higher seed.

“The Islanders started out really strong at the beginning of the year. But after that solid start, they had come back to more of what the expectations were for their season,” Sherman said. “We have Florida a slightly higher power-rated team and a slight favorite in a neutral setting.”

Bettman said Las Vegas is one of 10 cities in the running to be one of two NHL postseason hosts.

Asked to make hypothetical odds on the hub cities, Sherman said Las Vegas would be one of the two favorites.

“We have accommodations here for the teams and their families and enough practice rinks here to use to make it happen,” he said. “For the West, Las Vegas would be at the top of the list.”

Sherman estimated that home-ice advantage in the play-in series would be worth about 30 cents, or moving Pittsburgh from a -200 favorite to -230, if the games weren’t played at neutral sites.

If the Golden Knights end up playing in Las Vegas with no fans in the stands, Sherman said it wouldn’t make much of an impact on the odds.

“You’re not going to see much of a difference at all,” he said. “All it is is familiarity with the locker room and facilities. But there’s no spectators involved.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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