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Nevada sportsbooks to refund some NHL regular-season bets

Updated May 26, 2020 - 6:44 pm

Bettors who wagered on the Golden Knights to surpass their season point total at Las Vegas sportsbooks probably caught a lucky break Tuesday when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman declared that the 2019-20 regular season is over.

But gamblers who bet on Vegas to win the Pacific Division title might be dealt a bad beat.

Every Las Vegas sportsbook contacted by the Review-Journal — Westgate, William Hill, Circa Sports, South Point, Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts, Golden Nugget — reported that they will refund all wagers on regular-season point totals because of house rules requiring 81 or 82 games played for action.

The Knights, who finished with 86 points (39-24-8) in 71 games, were on pace to go under their point total of 102½ when the NHL suspended its season March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Vegas needed 17 points in its final 11 games — the equivalent of an 8-2-1 record — to top its point total.

“They were going to go under their point total, but were in good position to win their division,” Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “They were three points up on Edmonton with 11 games to go, though (Max) Pacioretty and (Mark) Stone were out with injuries at the time the games were shut down.”

The Knights were preseason even-money favorites at the Westgate to win their division and -700 favorites to make the playoffs. But the Westgate, per house rules requiring 82 games be played for action, also will refund wagers on division winners, playoff yes/no props and player props.

MGM Resorts also refunded bets on division winners. But other books, including Caesars Entertainment and William Hill, planned on waiting to grade division wagers until the NHL officially named its division champions.

“We’re trying to get the full official statement from the NHL on division winners. The NHL has to recognize them as the division champions,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “They didn’t address the division champions, specifically.”

The division-leading Knights, St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals proclaimed themselves division champions Tuesday on their Twitter pages. But Caesars director of trading Jeff Davis said division wagers are still pending.

“Given the way the playoffs are set up, my gut feeling is that the league is not going to ‘crown’ division champs this year,” he said in an email. “Likely all refunded. This is just my opinion.”

Caesars initially graded its yes/no playoff props, with 24 teams cashing yes in the NHL’s expanded 24-team postseason. But Davis said those wagers since have been ungraded and are still pending.

“The league is now saying that there is still 16 playoff teams,” he said.

The Knights are one of four teams in the Western Conference to receive a bye and will play round-robin games against St. Louis, Colorado and Dallas to determine the top four seeds.

Boston, Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia are the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference.

The other eight playoff teams will advance from best-of-five play-in series.

All conference and Stanley Cup futures bets are still live at Las Vegas books. The Knights are 6-1 co-favorites with the Bruins and Lightning at the Westgate and Caesars to win the Cup.

Bogdanovich said the betting handle was minimal on Vegas’ point total.

“We didn’t have a lot of action on that,” he said. “There was more money on the over than the under. It looks like bettors will catch a break there.”

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

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