Books bailed out with Capitals’ Stanley Cup clincher
June 08, 2018 9:04 AM
by Mark Mayer
The Las Vegas sports books are deep down breathing a collective sigh of relief knowing that payouts of 500-1 odds won’t have to be paid out after the Golden Knights fell in five games to the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup final.
“This was our biggest liability on an event that had a realistic chance of winning since William Hill US was formed [in 2012]," William Hill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told ESPN. "The estimates I heard around town of $5 or $6 million sounded about right."
Wynn executive director of race and sports John Avello, a 32-year industry veteran, agreed, telling ESPN, "This wasn't my biggest liability, but it was pretty significant. I remember the baseball teams [Minnesota Twins] going last to first in 1991."
Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook oddsmaker John Murray offered his take.
"We cut our liability in half on the field bet," Murray said. "We gave a good price on the field in January because we saw how big the [futures] number was. If we did nothing, we'd have been looking at a seven-figure liability."
That said, it was an amazing first year for the Golden Knights, which went where no expansion team in any sport had ever gone before. Washington won eight games in its first season in the NHL. Vegas won 53 in the regular season and 13 more in the playoffs that included a division and conference championship.
The Knights were roughly 10 minutes away from forcing a Game 6 back in the nation’s capital but Washington rallied from a 3-2 deficit with a pair of goals for a 4-3 victory and first Stanley Cup title in the team’s 44-year history.
The storybook season for Vegas is finally over, but the talk now turns to next season. Had Vegas gone on to win the Stanley Cup, it may have been extremely difficult to break up this team. But now that they came up short GM George McPhee has some wiggle room to perhaps deal some of his major parts like James Neal and William Karlsson to further strengthen the team’s bright future.
In any event it was a thrill ride this city won’t soon forget.