In Big Play
Vegas Golden Knights right wing Mark Stone (61) celebrates after his second goal in the third period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Winnipeg Jets at T-Mobile Arena Thursday, April 20, 2023, in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights beat the Jets, 5-2. Photo/Las Vegas Sun

For the Vegas Golden Knights and fans, it’s Stanley Cup playoff fever.

For bettors too.

Foley’s Finest squared their first-round series vs. the Winnipeg Jets at one game each with a 5-2 victory on Thursday. Bettors on the VGK, who paid around -155 for their ticket, were able to cash after a disappointing 5-1 loss in Game 1 that brought out the boobirds. The total went over 5.5 in Thursday’s game.

“I don’t want to miss this. I want to be a part of it,” the Knights captain Mark Stone told reporters after the win. “I said it from since I got traded here: This is the team I want to play for, the team I want to win with, go to war with. It’s the playoffs. …”

Intriguingly, the adjusted series price before Thursday’s game was the Golden Knights at +120. Now, the line has flipped again and the VGK are -155. Bettors who initially played the Golden Knights to win the seven-game series as high as -170 still have a sweat.

Game 3 of the Series will be on Saturday on the Jets’ home ice at Canada Life Centre in downtown Winnipeg. Both sides are -110 for the 1 p.m. game. The total is 5.5.

The Golden Knights have home ice throughout the series and both Game 5 and a potential Game 7 would be played before frenzied, rally-towel-waving fans at the Deep Freeze on the Strip, otherwise known as T-Mobile Arena.


— Cheers and applause: Basketball fans and bettors are jazzed too. Those cheers and applause coming from the race and sports book at Red Rock Resort last Sunday weren’t for the Sunday Night Baseball game, they were for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers, five-point ‘dogs, won that game outright, 128-112. Their series with the Memphis Grizzlies is now tied at one game each.

The NBA playoff road is arduous, and the Finals won’t be played until June.

But, on the futures market, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics are the favorites to cut down the nets sometime before the official first day of summer. MGMBet has the Celtics at +280 and the Bucks at +350. But FanDuel has the Bucks at +250 and the Celtics at +340.

The defending champion Golden State Warriors, now 1-2 in their series with the Sacramento Kings, are now +1,000 at BetMGM after opening the season at +550. The Lakers are +1,400.

“If this were the NCAA tournament, I’m sure my mood would be a lot different,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham told the Los Angeles Times after Memphis knotted the series at 1-1. “This is the first of four, not the first of one or two or three. We anticipated a really grueling series. … “

Much further down the futures list, the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves are all +75000 — the futures equivalent of “no way in Hades.”

— MLB leaders: If you think the Tampa Bay Rays are still the hottest team in Major League, you’re right on the money.

After bolting to a 13-0 start, the Rays are now 16-3 with an 84.2 win percentage. They own a startling 4.4-run margin of victory.

“We seemed to be really ready to go,” manager Kevin Cash told the Tampa Bay Times after the Rays punked the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, 8-0, and Rays backers cashed tickets — again — on the money line, run line and alternate (-2.5) run line.

The Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers are the second-hottest teams with 14-5 records.

And you probably know, too, who is at the bottom of the pack. Yes, it’s the Oakland-Eventually-To-Be Las Vegas A’s, a dismal 3-16. Their negative run differential is 4.5, which tells you not only are they losing, they are losing badly.

— Fight Night: A heavyweight bout between Sergei Pavlovich and Curtis Blaydes headlines UFC Fight Night on Saturday at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

No. 4-ranked Blaydes, considered by some a contender for Jon Jones’ heavyweight belt, is generally -160, and No. 3-ranked Pavlovich +140 for the match.

Oddsmakers apparently aren’t expecting the fight to last long. Under 1.5 rounds is -145, and over is +125.

Easy cover: Yes, that was the Cleveland Cavaliers who put away the New York Knicks, 107-90, on Tuesday. Laying 5.5 points, the Cavs covered by 11.5 points in Game 2 of their series.

“We have to continue to hammer this home,” Cavs coach J.B. Bikerstaff said to ESPN. “We got our ass kicked on the boards the other night, and tonight those guys took it personal and made a huge change.”

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