The expansion Vegas Golden Knights can pull off one of most improbable runs in U.S. sports history with a win over the Washington Capitals in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.
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The Golden Knights, who will make their championship debut on Monday in their first season in existence, entered the NHL’s 2017-18 campaign with 500-1 odds of winning the Stanley Cup. In other words, a bet of just $20 before the season would yield $10,000 if the franchise were to win the series.
“It could still end up being the biggest futures loss in Las Vegas history,” Jim Murphy, an oddsmaker for SportsBettingExperts.com, told Forbes. “In my experience, it’s unprecedented.”
The Golden Knights, who relied on a roster mostly composed of NHL castoffs selected in an expansion draft before the season, amassed a 51-24-7 record during the regular season. With a win, they would become the first expansion team in any of the four major U.S. sports leagues – the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL – to win a title in their first season.
In Las Vegas, sportsbooks will take an estimated cumulative loss of $5 million to $7 million if the Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Ironically, the one-time historic longshots are currently favored to defeat the Capitals.
The English Premier League saw an even larger preseason underdog win its championship in 2016. The Leicester City F.C. entered that season with 5,000-to-1 odds of winning a title, only to shock the world and win the U.K.’s most prestigious soccer championship.
The Stanley Cup Finals begin on Monday night at 8 p.m. ET.