The Golden Knights are again making Las Vegas sportsbooks sweat a bit down the stretch in their second NHL season.
The Westgate, which offered defending Western Conference champion Vegas at 500-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup in its inaugural season, has a six-figure liability on the Knights’ 2018-19 regular-season point total. The number opened at 95½ and closed at 101½.
Following Monday’s loss to the St. Louis Blues, Vegas has 90 points (42-28-6) with six regular-season games remaining.
“It really depends where the number falls,” Westgate sportsbook manager Jeff Sherman said. “If it’s 100 or higher, that’s our worst result. We lose a little bit on 99. We’re a small winner on 98, and we do really well on 97 and 96.
“At the same time, if Calgary wins the division, we do exceptionally well on that. It’s going to be interesting. If they get locked into the No. 3 seed, who knows how they’ll approach their last three games.”
The Knights lost 10 of 13 games prior to the trade deadline, but heading into Monday’s game they had won 10 of 12 since acquiring Mark Stone.
Likewise, Vegas’ Stanley Cup odds shifted from 12-1 to 10-1 after Stone arrived and have since improved to 6-1, trailing only the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 9-4 favorite.
Duke’s odds drop
Heading into the NCAA Tournament, Duke couldn’t be found at 3-1 odds to win the title at Las Vegas sportsbooks.
In fact, PointsBet sportsbook in New Jersey offered the Blue Devils at 3-1 odds as a virtual promotion.
But after 14 of the tourney’s top 16 seeds advanced to the Sweet 16, Duke’s odds dropped to 3-1 at the Westgate and Caesars Entertainment sportsbooks.
“None of the remaining teams are double-digit favorites, so the money lines aren’t going be as exorbitant as they were perceived to be before this,” Sherman said.
The Blue Devils, who escaped with a 77-76 victory over Central Florida on Sunday, are 7½-point favorites over Virginia Tech (after the line opened at 8) and minus 350 on the money line in Friday’s game.
“Virginia Tech has beaten them once before, although without Zion (Williamson), and if they do get by Virginia Tech, they’re looking at a tough matchup with No. 2 seed Michigan State or No. 3 LSU,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “It’s tough. There’s so much parity and so many great matchups after favorites went 16-0 in the second round.
“From our side of the counter, we were definitely looking for a little puppy love. But we didn’t get it.”
Two notable NCAA title futures wagers are still alive at William Hill sportsbook. One bettor placed a $2,000 wager to win $300,000 on Purdue at 150-1 odds in December. Another bettor made a $2,000 wager to win $150,000 on Florida State at 75-1 odds on Feb. 22.
‘Hoops Central Showdown’
David Vogel of Memphis, Tennessee, won the Westgate’s “Hoops Central Showdown” with a 22-6 ATS record in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Vogel won the $9,405 first prize and topped a field of 99 entries who paid $200 each for the contest, which didn’t include the First Four games.
‘Last Man Standing’
A record 2,942 entries ($25 each, five for $100) entered Station Casinos’ “Last Man Standing” NCAA tournament elimination contest. The field was whittled to 1,516 entries after Thursday’s games, to 782 following Friday’s games and to 317 entries after Saturday’s games.
The number of remaining entries and Sweet 16 lines will be posted Tuesday for the winner-take-all contest, which will pay $59,625.
Odds posted at Westgate sportsbook
*North Carolina 13-2
*Michigan State 10-1
*Texas Tech 25-1
*Florida State 40-1
*Virginia Tech 40-1