The already-short odds on the Golden Knights winning the 2019 Stanley Cup shrank across the board at Las Vegas sports books after Sunday’s trade with the Montreal Canadiens for high-scoring left wing Max Pacioretty.
The Knights moved from 12-1 odds to 10-1 at the Westgate sports book and from 18-1 to 13-1 at Caesars Entertainment sports book.
Vegas also went from 6-1 odds to 5-1 to win the Western Conference at the Westgate, which increased their price to make the playoffs to minus 330 from minus 250.
“This is a very positive trade for the Knights,” Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons said. “A fairly young guy at 29 who had four straight years scoring in the mid- to upper 30s in goals. It seems like the perfect fit for this team.
“We had one of our house guys who kept betting the Knights to win the division and over their points, so we adjusted their division odds, too. A lot of it was because of liability, so we were kind of quick to move it up.”
The Knights are now 7-5 favorites to win the Pacific Division. The Sharks are 4-1, Ducks 5-1, Kings and Flames 6-1, Oilers 10-1, Coyotes 60-1 and Canucks 100-1.
The Westgate also increased Vegas’ season points total from 97½ to 99½. Station Casinos didn’t adjust the Knights’ futures but moved their points total from 97½ to 98½.
Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito said the additions of Pacioretty and center Paul Stastny offset the losses of James Neal and David Perron, who combined for 110 points last season.
“The Knights are sending a message, after what they accomplished last year, that they’re not going to sit on their hands,” Esposito said. “They’re going to make moves and make sure they’re where they were or better in coming years.”
The Westgate SuperContest set another record for ($1,500) entries with 3,123. The winner will earn $1.4 million, with second place worth more than $517,000, third $301,000 and fourth $216,000.
The $5,000-entry, winner-take-all Westgate SuperContest Gold has a record 128 entries for a $640,000 first prize, after 94 contestants signed up in the inaugural season last year.
In both SuperContests, contestants pick five weekly NFL sides ATS.
The Golden Nugget’s inaugural $1,000-entry Ultimate Football Challenge has 307 entries, and the winner will earn $118,000. Contestants pick seven college football or NFL sides ATS each week.
Polls vs. power ratings
Oklahoma State broke into the Associated Press Top 25 poll this week, but the Cowboys have been in the top 25 all season in power ratings compiled by veteran Las Vegas oddsmakers Salmons and Vinny Magliulo.
Arizona State also broke into the AP poll, at No. 23, but has yet to crack the Las Vegas power ratings. Salmons has the Sun Devils at No. 39.
“Arizona State is right there on the verge,” said Magliulo, the Gaughan Gaming sports book director. “My numbers from 22 to 30 are all pretty bunched up.”
Magliulo and Salmons each moved Utah into the top 25, but the Utes didn’t make the cut in the AP poll after a 17-6 win at Northern Illinois.
“They played themselves into it the first two weeks here,” Magliulo said. “It’s looking more and more like the Pac-12 may be a little more wide open than we thought.”
Alabama opened as a 23½-point favorite Sunday at the Wynn Las Vegas sports book over Mississippi. The line was quickly bet down to 20½, but Wynn sports book director Johnny Avello said that was only because an offshore book opened the line at 18, creating an attractive 5½-point middle for bettors.
“That was arbitrage,” Avello said. “That happens a lot and some key numbers were involved. But that thing’s going back up.”
Wynn Las Vegas sports book director Johnny Avello posts the opening lines on college football at 3 p.m. each Sunday. Following are the biggest line moves in the first 24 hours (home team in CAPS):
Favorite; Open; Current; Underdog
Alabama; 23½; 20½; MISSISSIPPI
MICHIGAN; 32; 35; Southern Methodist
West Virginia; 1; 3½; N.;C.; STATE
MEMPHIS; 23½; 26; Georgia State
MARYLAND; 13; 15½; Temple