In Big Play
Dallas Stars celebrate Joe Pavelski’s overtime goal against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference finals Thursday, May 25, 2023, in Dallas. Photo/The Associated Press

Ah, the drama.

The color, the rush, the thrill of the unexpected cross-check.

And, the pandemonium — particularly when the Knights score.

Yes, the Vegas Golden Knights are headed for the Stanley Cup Final to face the Florida Panthers — WAIT. Make that, were headed to the Stanley Cup Final before the Dallas Stars scored in overtime on Thursday night to win the game, 3-2, avoid a series sweep and give the Stars a glimmer of hope in their best-of-seven conference finals.

Meanwhile, the Panthers dispatched their Eastern Conference foe, the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-0.

So hold off on the celebration. And put talk of a Stanley Cup Final berth aside for at least a little longer. Game 6 will be back at the Deep Freeze on the Strip aka T-Mobile Arena on Saturday with the Golden Knights still leading the series, 3-1. Foley’s Finest are currently -130 or as high as -140 for that game with the total at 5.5.

“We’re not done yet,” Stars center Roope Hintz told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We’re not quitters. We’re gonna show ’em.”

Of course, if you bet the Golden Knights to win it all back at the start of the season as high as +1900, you are in tall cotton with hedging opportunities abounding.

And you can still find the VGK on the series price at around -1100 to close the deal. The Stars are about +700.

The first game of the Final and the competition for what some consider “the most magnificent trophy” in sports will be Saturday, June 3.

And if you don’t believe us on the pandemonium, next time you’re walking through a hotel during a Knights game, listen for the cheers, screams and shrieks from anywhere near the race and sports book when the Golden Knights score a goal.

That’s pandemonium.


— NBA drama: There’s a similar drama unfolding in the NBA where the Denver Nuggets await the winner of the Boston Celtics-Miami Heat series.

While the Heat were up 3-0 and looking to close the series out, the Celtics struck back with wins and covers in Game 4 and Game 5. On Thursday, they dropped the Heat, 110-97, to send the series back to Miami for Game 6. And yes, they covered -8.

But Game 1 of the Finals isn’t until Thursday, June 1.

Asked about nine-day layoff after their sweep of the Lakers, Nuggets coach Michael Malone quipped to reporters, “Well, I’m trying to figure out where I’m going to go. I might go to Cabo for a few days, have a margarita on the beach. Sounds good, right?

— Opening day for Raiders: You haven’t forgotten about the Raiders, have you? Sure, the temperature is heating up in Las Vegas, but opening day for the Silver and Black is a little more than three months away.

They are +3.5 vs. the Denver Broncos on Sept. 10 with a 1:25 p.m. kickoff scheduled. The total is 45.

So will the defense be improved?

“We felt like … we might have been able to get three starters at different levels of the defense with a corner and a linebacker and a safety,” coach Josh McMcDaniels told SB Nation at an owners meeting earlier this spring.

After opening at +4000 to win Super Bowl 58 on Feb. 11, 2024, at Allegiant Stadium, odds have risen at BetMGM to +6600. But Caesars Sportsbook has them at +3,500, according to a compilation of odds at Covers. com.

— Aces on a run? After drilling the Seattle Storm, 105-64, on opening day and handily covering -13.5, the Las Vegas Aces looked impressive. However, they needed a strong third- and fourth-quarter performance on Thursday to put away the Los Angeles Sparks, 94-85, and failed to cover a line that grew to -15.5 before tipoff.

The Aces next host the Sparks in rematch at Michelob Ultra Arena on Saturday. No line yet for that game. But since the Aces were -15.5 on the road vs. the Sparks, it makes sense to add home-court advantage and make the Aces -16 or -17 for Saturday’s home affair.

— And then there are the A’s: While were certainly don’t offer gambling advice here, we did mention in last week’s post that fading the Oakland-headed-for-Vegas A’s might be a good play in Major League Baseball.

After that post, the A’s lost three straight to the Houston Astros and four straight to the Seattle Mariners. During that stretch, they covered the run line (+1.5 runs) only three times. Their negative run differential of -184 is by far the largest in the Major Leagues.

Of course, oddsmakers know this too and price the games according. In the series vs. Seattle, the Mariners were frequently -300 or higher favorites.

“This pitching staff is one of the better pitching staffs in the league,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said of the Mariners to the East Bay Times. “We got them early. You’ve got to add on.

“At the end of the day, it’s the offense’s job to add on, and give them some room and cushion and we haven’t done that. We didn’t do that this series, and we didn’t win any games.”

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