This wasn’t supposed to be.
The Vegas Golden Knights are favored in the Stanley Cup Final over the Washington Capitals, in what’s quickly becoming one of the more unlikely sports stories in recent memory.
On June 22, 2016, the NHL awarded Las Vegas an expansion franchise, the league’s first since 2000. It additionally marked the first major professional sports team of the big four (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) to call Sin City home.
The Golden Knights name was announced that November, and its roster was formed during the expansion draft in June 2017. Now, less than a year after assembling its players, Vegas is to host game one of the Stanley Cup Final. Adding to the most improbable sports story of 2018 thus far is the fact that the first-year team is the favorite.
The Westgate SuperBook opened its Stanley Cup Final odds with Vegas at a series price of -160. That’s implied winning odds of 61.5 percent, with a $100 bet returning $62.50.
The Capitals are the underdogs at +140. A $100 wager nets $140 should Washington win its first Stanley Cup.
Game one is Monday night at 8 pm ET in Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
Against All Odds
The Washington Capitals were founded in 44 years ago in 1974. On Monday, the team will begin playing in just its second Stanley Cup Final. The Vegas Golden Knights have risen to the top in much swifter fashion.
Vegas smashed a regular season win record for an NHL team in its inaugural season by a whopping 17 games. The Golden Knights also became the first NHL expansion team to reach the playoffs in its debut campaign since the 1979-80 season.
Few could have predicted this. But some did.
Several sports bettors prone to high risk placed futures on Vegas prior to the regular season at extraordinarily long odds. Should the Knights have four more wins in them, the gamblers stand to reap big rewards.
The SuperBook took 13 bets on 500/1 odds that Vegas would win the Stanley Cup. The largest was $60, which would net the fortunate gambler $30,000.
There’s also ticket slips out there at other sportsbooks that seek to pay even more. CG Technology printed a $400 bet on 300/1 odds that would win $120,000, and South Point sold a $400 wager on 150/1 odds that would return $60,000.
Speaking of big money, to get inside T-Mobile Arena fans will need to shell out large sums of cash. On StubHub, tickets for game one are going for as much as $10,000.
The cheapest ticket as of Thursday morning costs $902. The most expensive is two tickets being sold together for a combined $20,520 (plus fees).
By comparison, tickets for game six of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics at the Cleveland Cavaliers can be had for as little as $105. The most expensive is $5,000.
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