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Golden Knights are no mirage in the desert

Brent Musburger  
VSiN managing editor

April 27, 2018 04:15 PM

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Want to make your favorite Vegas bookie squirm? Tell him you have seen the parade route for the Golden Knights after they win the Stanley Cup.

The celebration would start at the team’s practice facility in Summerlin, stay on surface streets through downtown Las Vegas and then climax with a triumphant march down the greatest boulevard in the world to the T-Mobile Arena for a victory celebration that would last for days.

But there is another other parade that would happen before that. The one that would feature armored trucks dropping off bundles of fresh cash to the sports books that thought they were just selling souvenirs last fall with those 200-1 tickets for the Knights to win the Cup.

I know there’s a long, icy journey before we see Marc-André Fleury’s name engraved on Lord Stanley’s cup for the fourth time. But for all of us fortunate enough to have been there when the Golden Knights humiliated San José in Game 1, we can testify that this is no fluke. This team is the real deal.

Game 2 on Saturday night at T-Mobile was posted with the Knights between a minus-170 and a minus-190 favorite to take a 2-0 series lead. This game is moving into prime time on the main NBC – the one without the “SN” at the end. Even a peacock can see that this is no desert mirage.

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Nothing bothers a bookmaker more than a “push” on a bet where the money is refunded on both sides.

South Point’s Chris Andrews was sitting with me at the Golden Knights game on Thursday. That is when we got word that the Philadelphia Eagles had traded the 32nd pick in the NFL Draft to the Baltimore Ravens, who selected Lamar Jackson of Louisville. That made exactly five quarterbacks chosen in round one – the very number that he had set for over-under betting.

“Really?” Chris said. “I thought we had a win in that one.”

With a closing price of minus-210 to the over, Chris and the book were clearly pulling for the under. Instead, it was money back to everyone, and the usual muttering by everyone about what might have been.

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The Raiders helped bettors who took the offense in one first-round prop, giving them an outright win backing an underdog position.

They did it when the traded out of the 10th spot and selected UCLA offensive tackle Kolton Miller. We had expected the Raiders to join the defensive-player rush, but we overlooked the fact that their Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn will be 35 years old this week.

By the end of the first round 17 offensive players were chosen compared with 15 on defense. At the Westgate SuperBook the offense was catching 1½ players from the defensive side, paying off at a price of plus-125.

But it was the trade that the Raiders made with the Pittsburgh Steelers that has Jon Gruden delighted about his offense. They picked up wide receiver Martavis Bryant for the price of a third-round pick. Bryant joins Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson as David Carr’s targets, so you had better pay attention to the early over-under numbers on the Raiders. Bryant can take the top off a defense with speed that Gruden can exploit down field.

Of course there’s always a chance that coach Gruden receives that 3 a.m. phone call about something that Martavis might do off the field. This is Bryant’s last chance to avoid trouble. Let’s hope he realizes the opportunity that the Raiders have given him to be seen here in Las Vegas in two more years.

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