If you invested in the Vegas Golden Nights in the futures market in their opening round of the NHL playoffs, you can now cash your ticket.
Bettors had numerous opportunities to get down on the VGK. Prior to the series, they were around -170 to take down the Winnipeg Jets. After that Game 1 loss, they were a bargain-priced +120. If you made your bet at that point or doubled down, pat yourself on the back. The Golden Knights won Game 2, of course, and the price then flipped back to -155. Prior to Game 5 on Thursday night, the price soared to -2000. But if you were bargain-hunting, the Jets were +1050.
After that Game 1 loss, the Golden Knights outscored Winnipeg 18-9 in Games 2 through 5.
“We had a game plan we wanted to stick with until it didn’t work, which it never didn’t work,” captain Mark Stone told reporters after the game. “I think we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish.”
Next up: Foley’s Finest will play the winner of the Edmonton Oilers-L.A. Kings series in Round 2 of the playoffs. The Oilers currently lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 on Saturday.
On the futures markets, you can find odds on the Golden Boys to win the Stanley Cup at around +1000.
— The bigger they are, the more the underdog pays: While we’re talking about cashing tickets, you can also pat yourself on the back if you were foresightful enough to play the Miami Heat at an attractive plus-price in their first-round NBA series vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. If you’ve wandered off somewhere, the play-in No. 8-seeded Heat dropped the No. 1-seeded Bucks in five games. Game 5, in which the Bucks were heavy -14 point favorites, went to overtime before the Heat won at Milwaukee, 128-126.
“Some days it’s your turn, some days it’s not your turn,” a humbled Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after the defeat. “And that’s what sports is about. You don’t always win; some other team’s gonna win. And this year, somebody else is gonna win. Simple as that.”
The Heat, riding the hot-shooting hand of Jimmy Butler who scored 98 points in the final two games, opened the season as +850 to win the NBA title. They are now generally around +2000 to +3000 to win the NBA title, but DraftKings has them at +13000, according to a compilation of odds at Covers.com.
The Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors are now generally the remaining favorites win the NBA title. MGMBet has them, respectively, at +165, +400 and +650 (with the Philadelphia 76ers at +600). Caesars Sportsbook has them, respectively, at +165, +425 and +500.
— Betting the bases: The Tampa Bay Rays have cooled off slightly but are still atop of the best-performing Major League Baseball teams, according to TeamRankings.com. The Rays are 21-5 and have won 80.8 percent of their games. They also lead the majors with a 3.7-run margin of victory.
Creeping up right behind them, however, are the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs are suddenly 18-8, which equates to a 69.2 percent winning record. However, their average margin of victory is only 1.3 runs.
“We’re playing really good baseball,” pitcher Mitch Keller told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after the Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 on Thursday, to take two out of three from the higher-paid West Coast team. “Everything’s clicking. … There’s no doubt in our minds we can do this every night. It’s a really special thing we’ve got going.”
The Oakland A’s continue to bring up the rear at TeamRankings. They are 5-21 for an underwhelming 19.2 percent win mark and a run differential of -4.3.
— Fight Night at UFC: Yadong Song meets Ricky Simon at UFC Fight Night at UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Simon, 20-3-0, is generally around -120 for the bantamweight bout. Song, 19-7-1, is around even money. At Station Casinos, the total rounds is 4.5 with under at -135 and over at +115.
The fight is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.
— Taking it to the SLS Championship: Gustavo Ribeiro is the favorite in the men’s finals of the Street League Skateboarding Championship on Saturday at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
And you can bet on it. Riberio is +250 at Station Casinos. If you believe Wikipedia (and who doesn’t?), Ribeiro is a 22-year-old Portuguese professional skateboarder who won the Street League Skateboarding super crown in 2022.
According to a Wintrust Arena website, Street League Skateboarding was founded by pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek in 2010 to promote growth, popularity, and global acceptance of street skateboarding.
Just don’t ask us how they keep score.