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Knights favored, represent significant liability for sportsbooks

Entering the NHL playoffs, the Golden Knights winning the Stanley Cup represented the worst result for many Las Vegas sportsbooks.

Now, with the Knights one step away from playing for hockey’s ultimate prize, they represent an even larger liability.

“We were in a good position, but you just write so much Knights money,” Circa sportsbook manager Jeff Davis said. “The people get behind the team and they get excited. All the $20s and the $50s and the $100s on top of the bigger customers and you’ve got yourself a hole.

“But if the Knights make the Stanley Cup, it’s just incredible for the casino business in general. The Circa book is going to be packed if the Knights make the Stanley Cup.”

The Knights are -140 series favorites at Circa and the Westgate SuperBook over the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final. Station Casinos has the Knights as -145 chalk.

Game 1 is Friday at T-Mobile Arena, and the Knights are -116 favorites at Circa with the total at 5½.

“What’s out there seems to be right. Vegas is going to win the series 55 percent of the time,” Davis said. “I kind of expect a really low-scoring, lower-event kind of series here. … It kind of feels like a seven-gamer. Like a knock-down, drag-out, everything-on-a-knife-edge (series).”

In the second round, the Knights used their superior depth to knock off favored Edmonton in six games.

Goaltender Adin Hill turned in a solid effort replacing injured Laurent Brossoit, and center Jack Eichel outplayed Oilers counterpart Connor McDavid to thrust himself into the early conversation for Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason’s most valuable player.

Dallas edged Seattle in a tight, seven-game series to advance and is led by former Knights coach Pete DeBoer.

The Knights are the +220 favorite at the SuperBook to win the Stanley Cup, slightly ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes (+240). The Florida Panthers are next at +325 with the Stars at +355.

Circa lists the Knights as the +240 second choice for the Cup behind the Hurricanes (+205).

Eichel, with six goals and 14 points in his first postseason, is the +650 co-favorite at the SuperBook to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. Carolina’s Sebastian Aho also is listed at +650.

Knights captain Mark Stone is 8-1, along with Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk.

“If you look at Conn Smythe winner history, the voters are always going to give it to the name guy,” Davis said. “It’s (Eichel) or Stone who’s going to win the Conn Smythe if Vegas wins the Cup. Between the two of them, I would think they’re like 90 to 95 percent to win the Conn Smythe if Vegas wins.”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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