Despite only existing three years, the Vegas Golden Knights franchise has already proven itself as a perennial Stanley Cup contender.
Now, just a few months after getting eliminated in the Western Conference Finals, the Knights are practicing at City National Arena in Summerlin as they prepare for the 2021 NHL season.
While the NHL season begins Jan. 13, Vegas won’t hit the ice until Jan. 14 when they take on the Anaheim Ducks at T-Mobile Arena.
The Golden Knights are a -200 favorite on the Circa Sports app against the Ducks (+181). The current over/under total for goals on opening night stands at 6. Golden Knights fans can get plus money taking Vegas on the -1.5 puck line at +122.
Now, as for the condensed 2021 season…
New league structure for 2021 NHL season
Much like last year, this will be a different kind of season for the NHL due to coronavirus. The league and players came to an agreement on the new structure in late December. When revealing the plan for the new season, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said:
“While we are well aware of the challenges ahead, as was the case last spring and summer, we are continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our participants and the communities in which we live and play. And, as was the case last spring and summer, I thank the NHLPA, particularly Executive Director Don Fehr, for working cooperatively with us to get our League back on the ice.”
Teams will play games in their respective home arenas. Unfortunately, Golden Knights fans won’t be able to attend games at T-Mobile Arena when the season begins. This could change as the season progresses, but that will only be possible if the spread of coronavirus slows in Nevada.
Teams will play fewer games — 56 instead of the usual 82 — and travel regionally this season to potentially reduce exposure to the virus.
NHL implements new scheduling
Games will also be scheduled differently than normal. For starters, the Golden Knights will play the new West Division teams eight times during the season.
Similar to some of the NBA schedule this year, teams will play in two-game sets before moving on to the next city. In previous seasons, teams would play once before moving on.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs will feature 16 teams participating in the traditional best-of-seven, four-round format. The playoffs are expected to conclude around mid-July. The NHL is hopeful that it can resume a normal schedule for the 2021-2022 season.
Another change for the season will be a new division alignment. The Golden Knights will participate in the new Honda NHL West Division. Yes, the NHL sold sponsorships for the names of each division.
Vegas Golden Knights odds in West Division
This year, the Golden Knights will be in a division featuring eight teams. The below odds to win the division come from the STN Sports app from Station Casinos.
- Colorado Avalanche: EVEN
- Vegas Golden Knights: +130
- St. Louis Blues: +400
- Minnesota Wild: +1200
- Arizona Coyotes: +2500
- San Jose Sharks: +2500
- Anaheim Ducks: +4000
- Los Angeles Kings: +5000
In October, the Golden Knights were +550 favorites to win the Stanley Cup at STN Sports. The team is now tied with the Avalanche at +450 to win the pro hockey championship.
As always, shop around for the best odds. The Golden Knights are +800 to win the Stanley Cup via BetMGM, with various other Nevada sports betting apps listing the Golden Knights’ odds between STN Sports and BetMGM.
The Golden Knights have accounted for 11% of all wagers placed on teams to win the Stanley Cup at William Hill sportsbooks, more than any other team. The Golden Knights represent 8% of all the money wagered on Stanley Cup futures at William Hill, second-most behind the Avalanche.
The total number of regular-season points for the Golden Knights is currently at 73.5 at Circa Sports. This puts them ahead of every team in the West Division except for the Avalanche (75.5 points).
Player awards betting
The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved sportsbooks to take wagers on a slew of NHL regular-season player awards this season. While the Golden Knights are favorites as a team, individual players aren’t expected to play well enough to take home hardware.
From BetMGM, and highlighting Vegas players with favorites to win in parentheses:
- Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP): Mark Stone 33-1 (Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, 5-1)
- Vezina Trophy (best goalie): Robert Lehner 14-1, Marc Andre Fleury 40-1 (Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck and Tampa’s Andrei Vasilevski, 7-1)
- Art Ross Trophy (points leader): Mark Stone 50-1, Max Pacioretty 66-1 (Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, 3-1)
- James Norris Memorial Trophy (best defenseman): Alex Pietrangelo 12-1 (Tampa’s Victor Hedman, 4-1)
Seamus Magee, sportsbook trader for BetMGM, made an interesting observation regarding the MVP race as a result of an injury to a Tampa Bay Lightning player.
“With a season-long injury to Nikita Kucherov, BetMGM took a lot of action on (Tampa’s) Steven Stamkos to win the Hart Trophy. Stamkos opened +6600 and is now +2500 to win the NHL MVP award.”
Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche is actually the favorite to win the Hart Trophy at 5-1 odds. BetMGM has taken more wagers and more money wagered on MacKinnon than any other player to win the award.
One bright spot for Golden Knights awards betting can be found at B-Connected Sports. Left Winger Max Pacioretty is 15-1 to win the Maurice Rocket Richard Award for most goals scored during the season.