An interested spectator at the Golden Knights’ NHL playoff debut Wednesday was Raiders owner Mark Davis, whose NFL franchise will be moving to Las Vegas in 2020.
Davis said he wanted to develop the same kind of loyal Las Vegas fan base that has electrified T-Mobile Arena. I told him not to worry. This community can’t wait for his Raiders to unpack.
Whoever designed the Golden Knights’ logo deserves a bonus. It looks good on men and women and is the NHL’s best-selling jersey.
The NBA doesn’t make many marketing mistakes, but the league turned it over when it didn’t become the first prime-time player to call Las Vegas home.
Speaking of the NBA, what a weekend to be a basketball bettor. There are countless storylines, but the one that grabs my attention is in the Eastern Conference.
LeBron James and the Cavaliers rode a roller coaster all season. Now they are healthy and open the NBA playoffs Sunday at home as a 6½-point favorite over the Indiana Pacers.
The Westgate posted odds of 6-5 for Cleveland to win the East and 8-1 to capture the championship. I would hesitate on the latter simply because the Western Conference appears to be superior again — with or without the Golden State Warriors in June. But I wouldn’t bet against the 33-year-old James reaching his eighth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals.
Before we hand the MVP trophy to James Harden (a lock), let’s put James in the argument. He played in all 82 games for the first time in his career and scored in double digits in all 82, as he has in his last 873 games — a league record.
NFL names in Derby
The Kentucky Derby is three weeks away, and NFL fans have two names to have fun with in futures betting.
The Wynn’s Johnny Avello, the dean of Las Vegas race books, has Audible at 8-1 to win the Derby. Audible finished first in the Florida Derby for trainer Todd Pletcher, who used that exact steppingstone last year on the way to saddling Always Dreaming to victory at Churchill Downs.
And at 45-1, how about Gronkowski? He is shipping in from Europe, and, yes, he is named after the Gronk.
Are Sundays turning into Shohei Ohtani days at the betting windows?
He will be on the mound again this weekend, following up his near-perfect outing against the Oakland A’s with a start in Kansas City. With the Los Angeles Angels off to a fast start in the American League West and the Royals last in the AL Central, Ohtani will be a big betting favorite.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia has been working Ohtani as part of a six-man rotation. Since Japanese pitchers normally work once a week back home, this works out perfectly for baseball’s newest star.
At the plate, Ohtani had three home runs and a bases-clearing triple to help the Angels win 11 of their first 14 games. If he keeps producing as a designated hitter and winning games on the mound, he is the MVP favorite.
iPhone photo of the week
Masters winner Patrick Reed (hope you cashed a 60-1 ticket) driving with his wife through a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Houston while wearing the green jacket and ordering up some chicken. Now we know what he’ll serve at next year’s champions dinner.
Brent Musburger’s betting column appears Saturday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His show on the Vegas Stats & Information Network can be heard on SiriusXM 204 and livestreamed at reviewjournal.com/vegas-stats-information-network.