On Thursday night, the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup ending the inaugural season for the franchise.
With the loss by the Golden Knights that brought an end to their Cinderella season, Las Vegas sportsbooks were able to take a sigh of relief. During the NHL preseason futures bettors took out tickets as high as 500 to 1 for the Golden Knights to win the title creating a big liability for the sportsbooks.
One director of betting for a large sportsbooks in Las Vegas said the Golden Knights represented the biggest liability for an event dating back to 2012. Rumors estimates the payout if Vegas had won the Stanley Cup would have been between $5 million and $6 million.
An executive director with a world renowned sportsbooks and a veteran of more than 30 years in the industry said it was not the largest liability he has seen, but certainly in the top two or three.
Of course, through the 82-game regular season and the long playoffs, sportsbooks have had unlimited opportunities to mitigate the potential loss by offering props on if the Golden Knights would win the Cup or not, game to game tickets and for each playoff series.
All that helped the sportsbooks to lower their liability on the futures tickets that were purchased before the Golden Knights season began.
Several odds makers have said they felt Vegas had a realistic shot at winning the Cup and that forced them to start offering new odds and start offering large numbers of bets on the opposite side.
The new NHL franchise has led to a bigger betting handle for the NHL overall, with reports that it could be as much as 36% higher than last year’s regular season. Huge local interest for the team during the playoffs was instrumental in that increase for the overall NHL handle.
The 2017-18 NHL season is now in the books with the Washington Capitals hoisting the Stanley Cup on Thursday and sportsbooks did not hesitate to release their odds for the 2018-19 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning given the top spot with the shortest odds of 8 to 1 to win the 2019 Stanley Cup.
The Golden Knights tied with four other teams with the second shortest odds at 10 to 1, while this year’s champions the Capitals are next at 12 to 1.