The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights’ second round playoff series against the favored Colorado Avalanche got off to a rough start. They lost the first two games of this best-of-seven series on the road by a combined score of 10-3.
The hometown fans were firmly in their corner for the next two games. Vegas followed up a 3-2 victory on June 4 with a 5-1 romp two days later. It closed as a -115 home favorite in each game.
As the director of the William Hill sportsbook in town, Nick Bogdanovich felt the pain. He described the betting loss as a “bloodbath” over those two contests. He estimated the loss to be in the range of six figures.
The Golden Knights have always been well received in this town. They went all the way to the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals as an expansion team a few seasons back. After tying this series 2-2, two more victories in Game 5 and Game 6 sealed the series 4-2 win..
Vegas now faces the upstart Montreal Canadiens in the NHL Stanley Cup semifinals. With Game 1 set for Monday, June 14, the Knights are set as heavy -500 series favorites. With the first two games in Las Vegas, there should be some heavy betting action on each contest.
Hockey is not as nearly as popular as football and basketball when it comes to betting on the games. However, this year is a bit different. Sports betting in general has been setting monthly records for the volume of wagers placed. Las Vegas is bouncing back big from a rough 2020 due to COVID-19. The combination of the two is driving the betting volume in Las Vegas higher than normal.
Looking back at the Colorado series, the Knights were also a high-value bet. They were getting plus money on the series price when it was tied 2-2. They also closed as +115 underdogs in their stirring 3-2 victory over the Avalanche in Game 5.
It remains to be seen how much money will come in on their -270 odds as home favorites for Game 1. The risk/reward is high with Montreal playing extremely well. The Canadiens had to overcome a 3-1 series deficit against Toronto in the opening round.
Following three-straight victories against the Maple Leafs as a heavy underdog, Montreal swept the Winnipeg Jets in four games. Over the course of those four games, the Canadiens outscored Winnipeg a combined 14-6.
In the other NHL semifinal showdown, the New York Islanders took a 1-0 series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning as defending Stanley Cup champs. The Islanders closed as +165 road underdogs in Sunday’s 2-1 victory.
Tampa Bay is still a -120 favorite on the updated series price for this best-of-seven affair. The Lightning have also been opened as heavy -175 home favorites for Tuesday night’s Game 2.
All four teams left in the playoffs failed to win their respective division title during the NHL regular season. The Vegas Golden Knights was second to Colorado in the West.