Golden Knights getting plenty of Vegas support
October 24, 2017 3:00 AM
by Mark Mayer
VIP On the Mark | The books don’t usually hand out gifts when it comes to lines, but three college matchups stood out to me and a few others around town, if you jumped on early, paid off handsomely at the window.
Just a few passing comments about a Golden Knights experience before we segue into football.
I heard some misguided creature on a local sports talk radio show expressing concern about what he felt were an overabundance of Buffalo Sabres fans at last week’s hockey game and how that may affect Vegas as a city with a solid home team advantage.
I have no clue what that person was smoking, but whatever it was he should change brands quickly or talk about something else because he was clueless.
Yes, there were Sabres fans there, quite a few wearing Buffalo jerseys. What of it? I watched the Blackhawks-Blues matchup on the NBC Sports Channel and there were lots of Chicago fans in St. Louis. The Blues won the game and are so far one of the top teams in the very young NHL season. St. Louis was one of the original group of expansion teams that came into the NHL in the 1960’s when the league ended the days of the Original 6.
The Golden Knights are averaging attendance of over 17,600 a game thus far and the fan support has literally been through the roof. The Castle gets everyone fired up. The big screen over the ice surface is constantly firing up the crowd and the overall fan enjoyment is unmistakable.
When the game ended with Vegas winning 5-4 in overtime, most every fan I saw that departed the arena into Toshiba Plaza was wearing some form of Knights gear whether it was a jersey, cap or T-shirt. The crowd could easily have sat on their hands during the overtime after Vegas blew a three-goal lead and gave up the tying tally with just nine seconds left in regulation time.
Instead, the fans were raucous all through the five-minute session and inspired the Golden Knights to fight back and re-claim the victory.
The misguided voice from a microphone was worried about when more marquee teams than Buffalo visit Vegas and bring larger fan bases. His concern was that most of the fans who come to T-Mobile would be rooting for, say, the Rangers, Maple Leafs, Penguins or Blackhawks to use some examples.
So what? If you were at the Sabres game, the noise was deafening. Sure sounded like a home ice advantage to me and I grew up a Rangers and Islanders fan and they hate each other. The team is getting great coverage and has already given so much back to this community in the wake of the horror that transpired several weeks ago not very far from T-Mobile.
Fake news is everywhere, folks. Setting the record straight, this is one great experience for any hockey fan. Savor it. Vegas just landed a WNBA team. The NBA is not far behind. The NFL Raiders will be here in a couple more years. This is a together community. Point blank.
On to football
The books don’t usually hand out gifts when it comes to lines, but three college matchups stood out to me and a few others around town, if you jumped on early, paid off handsomely at the window.
Syracuse +17 at Miami: Did someone forget the Orange beat Clemson the week before and gave LSU a hard time in Baton Rouge? I guess so. Final: Miami, 27-19
Pittsburgh +8.5 at Duke: The Panthers have been knocked around a bit, but they played a murderous schedule. Coach K is not involved in Duke football. Final: Pitt, 24-17
Missouri -14 vs. Idaho: The Potato Heads lost to UNLV for goodness sake and, yes, Mizzou is having a down year but still they are a cut above crinkled fries. Final: Missouri, 68-21
Too bad I only picked up on Pitt when the line first came out. I hesitated on the other two, to my regret. Nobody ever accused me of being wise. Just a wiseguy.
Now for this week.
(early lines c/o Wynn Las Vegas)
Nebraska +5.5 at Purdue: The Boilermakers lost to Rutgers of all people. Nebraska has its own problems but comes off its bye week. NEBRASKA