BlackJack: Sweating a Stanley Cup Final Game in a Sportsbook
- I decided to watch our beloved Golden Knights at the Westgate SuperBook.
- The option to bet live in-person is a huge perk.
- Watching the game in the sportsbook is totally different than watching with people who are emotionally invested.
LAS VEGAS — After watching the first two games of the Stanley Cup on the strip, I decided that Game 3 would be a perfect opportunity to watch with my gambling brethren. There are a lot of sportsbooks in Las Vegas, and lots of great ones, but none are bigger than the SuperBook at Westgate. So I posted up there to take in Game 3 with people who had some skin in the game.
As I sat at the large bar overlooking the bank of enormous televisions, the place started to fill up. In the minutes before puck drop, Washington trotted out their best pregame celebrities, and finally, we were ready for hockey. As the room filled up, you could feel the energy build. There were a couple of Capitals fans, but the room was overwhelmingly Golden Knights fans, and obviously, we were all holding tickets on them, in some form or fashion.
There was a good amount of energy in the room as the game began, some sporadic “Go Knights Go” chants broke out, and then the Capitals scored an early goal, which wound up being disallowed due to goaltender interference. Despite the goal being disallowed, it took a little air out of the room. People were nervous about the way the Capitals were playing and the response of Vegas.
After the first period ended in a scoreless tie, the live betting began in earnest. After the first period, people were hammering the Knights at the books. The line opened at even money and within a couple minutes it was up to -120 on the Knights. The belief in the team was still strong at this point. Some of the guys around me were talking about how they would do this regularly with Knights games. To try and find added value, they would wait until the opposing team scored and then they would bet the Knights live.
That opportunity would arise sooner than any of us would have hoped for. The second period produced two Capitals goals and none for the good guys. The Capitals’ goals led to a chorus of boos, some profane outbursts, and general disappointment. It was interesting to compare it to the crowd at the watch parties, which had more nervous energy when Vegas fell behind, but there was still an air of hope. At the sportsbook, it was much more somber. Maybe its the gambler’s mindset, but once we were behind 2-0, I heard a lot of people comment that the game was over. I never heard that at the watch parties. It was an interesting dichotomy in the psychology of the groups watching the game together.
At the end of the second period, the Knights’ live line was up to +600, and I very seriously gave thought to hitting it at that price, but ultimately decided I had enough on this game as it is. We all know how the third period played out, with the game ending in a 3-1 Capitals victory. Again, the air in the room was simply different; people moved on much faster. There was no post-mortem from the fans as there was outside T-Mobile Arena. Everyone was on to something else: Game 2 of the NBA Finals, MLB action, or whatever else they were betting.
Watching the game in the sportsbook was fun, for sure. But there is something different about watching it with people who are emotionally invested and those who are financially invested. They are still Knights fans for the most part, but the motives are different and thus the reactions are different. The ability to live bet them in person, however, is a huge perk, because the totals, sides and puck lines are all in play and present even more opportunities to make money while watching our beloved Golden Knights.