May 23, 2018 - 8:05 pm
Updated May 23, 2018 - 11:15 pm
If the Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup, they’ll go down in major pro sports history as one of the biggest underdogs ever to win a title.
But Vegas, which was a 500-1 long shot before the season, opened as a minus 160 series favorite at multiple Las Vegas sports books to defeat the Washington Capitals (plus 140) in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Knights are minus 155 favorites over the Capitals (plus 135) at Station Casinos in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series, which starts Monday at T-Mobile Arena. The total is 5½ (Under minus 120).
The early action Wednesday night at Stations was on the Knights in Game 1 and on the Capitals in the series, according to Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito.
Vegas, which is 6-1 at home in the playoffs, secured home-ice advantage when Washington beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 on Wednesday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
“It’s always the best-case scenario when you can have home ice. But they’re playing against a team that’s really loose right now and weren’t expected to be as good as they were in the past,” Esposito said. “The Capitals exorcised a lot of demons beating the Penguins and getting to the Stanley Cup Final and it’s Alex Ovechkin’s first trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
“But now Ovechkin gets to look up to see (former Penguins goalie) Marc-Andre Fleury. Both teams can be loose because nobody expected them to be there.”
The Knights, 12-3 in the postseason, opened as minus 145 favorites at the Wynn Las Vegas sports book and minus 150 at the Westgate and CG Technology sports books.
Vegas is plus 180 on the puck line (-1½) in Game 1. It has won four of its last seven games by at least two goals.
The Knights went 2-0 against the Capitals in the regular season, beating them 3-0 at home Dec. 23 and 4-3 at Washington on Feb. 4.
Another storyline will be Golden Knights general manager George McPhee facing the franchise he guided to the Stanley Cup Final in his first season with the team in 1997-98, when Washington was swept by the Detroit Red Wings. McPhee remained the Capitals’ general manager through the 2013-14 season but was unable to help them back to the Final.
“This is the George McPhee Final,” Esposito said. “He drafted most of those guys on the Capitals, including Ovechkin with the No. 1 pick (in the 2004 draft).”