NHL Playoffs: The Vegas Golden Knights Stun Bookmakers by Winning Their First Stanley Cup

Michael Savio pic
By:
Michael Savio
06/15/2023
News

Highlights

  • The Knights were +1400 to Win the Stanley Cup at the end of the regular season
  • Adin Hill was second in saver percentage and wins during the playoffs
  • DraftKings have the Knights as the seventh favorite to win next season

The Vegas Golden Knights are Stanley Cup Champions in just their sixth season of existence. The franchise has been successful since their first season, and now have won Las Vegas their first ever pro sports championship.

While the Knights were the top seed in the West, many expected the champion to come from the loaded Eastern Conference. US sportsbooks were among that group, as they set the Knight’s Stanley Cup odds behind seven other teams. That is leading to some massive payouts for a team located in the sports betting capital of the world.

In this article we will discuss the Knights’ incredible run and preview odds from hockey betting sites for next year’s winner.

Why Bookmakers Didn’t Have Vegas as a Favorite

While Vegas did capture the overall top seed in the West, DraftKings set their odds of winning the Stanley Cup at +1400 when the postseason began. The biggest reason was that the Knights flew under the radar of bookmakers was their lack of offensive success during the season. Vegas ranked outside of the top ten in goals forced, assists, power play percentage, and shots.

The Knights also lost All-Star goalie Logan Thompson in late February, forcing the team to rely on reserves Laurent Brossoit and Adin Hill. While both players have been in the league for a few years, neither had much playoff experience to show for it. The importance of goalie play in the postseason is massive, so the question marks in goal made bookmakers hesitate to believe in this team. 

These factors led bookmakers to favor the Avs and Oilers to win the West, despite Vegas’ regular season success.

How Vegas Surprised Bettors and Fans

The biggest reason for the Knights’ surprising playoff run was the play Mark Stone, William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchessault. The three stars became goal-scoring machines, combining for almost half of Vegas’ playoff goals, a big change from the regular season.

Another reason is the play of goalie Adin Hill. The netminder had the second-best saver percentage and win total in the playoffs, showing just how dominant he was. He was behind Brossoit to start the playoffs but took over the role after the veteran went out with an injury. Hill took advantage of the opportunity and helped Vegas cruise to their first Stanley Cup.

Odds for the Stanley Cup Champion

While Vegas hasn’t even had their championship parade yet, bookmakers have already turned their attention to next season. Despite their Stanley Cup win, Vegas is not seen as a top five favorite to win it again next season. Here are the current top five favorites to win the 2023-24 Stanley Cup according to DraftKings Sportsbook:

  • Colorado Avalanche: +800 
  • Boston Bruins: +800 
  • Toronto Maple Leafs: +900 
  • Edmonton Oilers: +1000 
  • New Jersey Devils: +1200 

Why Bookmakers Don’t Think Vegas Will Repeat in 2024-24

DraftKings have the Knights as the seventh favorite at +1300, similar to where they were to begin the playoffs. While this is surprising to see, there are a few reasons why bookmakers don’t trust them to repeat. Chief among them is the Colorado Avalanche, who won the last season’s Stanley Cup. The Avs dealt with major injuries to their stars throughout this season, ending in a disappointing playoff loss. When healthy, they have the best roster in the conference.

The Knights also benefited from playing the Stars, who had just come off a brutal seven game series with the Kraken. Dallas’ fatigue caused them to drop the first three games before they were eventually eliminated in game six. The Stars were a popular longshot pick to make the Stanley Cup Finals, but the first two overtime losses to Vegas after a Game 7 against the Kraken led to major fatigue.

Lastly, Vegas did not have to face the East’s top teams in this year’s Finals. While the Panthers played as well as anyone in the playoffs, Carolina or Boston would have presented much more of a challenge for Vegas. Both teams should be great again next season, meaning Vegas will likely have a tougher Stanley Cup Final opponent if they can get past Colorado and Edmonton.

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid. As an adult, Michael started picking games for a small sports betting site and has built it into a career. His experience allows him to provide tips and information to help other bettors improve their game. Michael cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (his alma mater), and the Ottawa Senators. He specializes in baseball betting but has extensive experience in football, basketball, and hockey. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children or hiking and enjoying the outdoors.