In Big Play
Vegas Golden Knights center Ivan Barbashev, center, celebrates with teammates after the Golden Knights’ 6-4 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series at T-Mobile Arena Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in Las Vegas. Photo/Las Vegas Sun

OK, that’s one.

Yes, the Golden Knights — surprising home underdogs — struck first in their second-round series against the Edmonton Oilers.

And bettors who jumped on the VGK at +105 or even +110 got to cash their tickets at the window or watch the numbers spiral up in their digital accounts when the Knight won, 6-4, before 18,243 spectators at T-Mobile Arena, nearly all of whom account for the “fanatical” behind the word “fan.”

And that whoop you heard from the race and sports book when Jack Eichel scored an empty-netter with 34 seconds left in Game 1? That was from bettors who had discovered a reverse puck line, say in the +240 range. Ka-ching.

“I thought we were good. We’re aware of their top guys and the damage they can do, but we like our team,” coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after the game. “We feel if our team plays well, we’re going to have success.”

Now what? Futures bettors who bet Foley’s Finest at +135 to win the series might be feeling smug. Still, there are at least three and probably more games to go.

If you want to jump on the Knights bandwagon now, you’re gonna have to pay. The adjusted series prices is now -130. Might there still be some value there?

Of course, there’s always Game 2 on Saturday. And the Golden Boys are again around +105 with the total at 6.5. The puck drop is at 4 p.m.


— Derby madness: Expect a larger-than-normal crowd at your favorite race and sports book sometime before 4 p.m. Saturday. And expect some shrieks and deafening cheers too and for “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

That is, of course, because of the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Among the favorites, Forte, with wins at the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, topped an early field at about 5/2. An updated chart at gave him a 29 percent implied probability of winning the race. Tappit Trice, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes, is about 5-1. Angel of Empire is catching 8-1 odds.

Of course, horse racing runs on track odds or money feeding into the system, and those numbers will shift all the way up to post time at 3:57 p.m.

For what it’s worth, 24-year-old Hannah Edelen, the current Miss Kentucky, told the Kentucky Courier-Journal that her pick was Forte.

However, Forte was scratched early Saturday because of early concerns about a bruised right front foot. Churchill Downs said specific wagers placed before the scratch will revert to the post-time favorite in what is now a field of 18, The Associated Press reported. Other advance wagers on Forte, except for the Derby future wager, will be refunded, the news service said.

— And then there were eight: The NBA playoffs have been whittled down to a field of eight. But the Boston Celtics remain the favorite. BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook have them, respectively, at +175 and +180. The Denver Nuggets, leading their series 2-0, are now +400 at both books. The Golden State Warriors are +550 and +650, respectively. The Los Angeles Lakers are +650 and +500, respectively, in a series that is now tied at one game each.

“The Lakers are huge, they are a massive team,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told the Los Angeles Times after the Warriors dropped the Lakers 127-100 on Thursday to even the series at one game each. “We felt like going into the game, we had to bring some size and physicality.”

If you’re thinking of betting the Finals MVP, the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum is around +260, the Nuggets’ Nikola Jovic is +450 and the Laker’s LeBron James and the Philadelphia Sixers’ Joel Embiid are both +750. The Warriors’ Steph Curry is +800. Much further down, Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat is +3,500. notes that only one player from a losing team has won the Finals MVP — Jerry West of the Lakers more than a half-century ago in 1969.

— Aces up, soon: The Las Vegas Aces are atop the futures market in the WNBA at +120 to repeat as champions. The New York Liberty are close behind at +130.

The Aces have added Candace Parker to an already talented squad. The Liberty also have a retooled lineup with 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones acquired in a trade from Connecticut.

No other team was priced under +1200 as of mid-April.

“I’m excited to see just how fast we can progress and get on the same page this year,” coach Becky Hammon told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

It won’t be long. The Aces open their title defense with a game on May 20 at the Seattle Storm.

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