We are just 21 days away from Opening Night at T-Mobile Arena. Which means, the William Hill mobile sports app is stocked with Golden Knights related bets and props.
Whether you gamble or not, prop bets always give us a rough idea of expectations heading into a new season. This year, William Hill has listed 11 prop bets including eight-player specific bets. Here are my picks on each and every one of them. (Last year I went 6-3.)
Regular Season Points
The Golden Knights had 109 in Year 1 and 93 in Year 2, this year’s total is smack dab in between the two. The biggest question of whether they’ll get there or not will be health. If the Golden Knights are relatively healthy through a majority of the season, they’ll reach 102 without any issue. But, if they lose one of the centers, Stone, Schmidt, or Fleury, they could see some rough stretches that keep them from the century mark. Think back to last season, the first 20 games, the poo stretch before the trade deadline, the way they limped to the end, a lot went wrong, and they still got to 93. I have to believe this year will be at least a bit smoother.
Pick: OVER 101.5
With the season starting on the 2nd, the October schedule is pretty packed. The Golden Knights play 14 games with eight of them being at home. It’s also a nicely laid out schedule with minimal travel and just one back-to-back. In fact, I listed the last two weeks of October as one of the softest stretches in the entire season schedule. The first two games are going to go a long way to determining whether or not they reach this number, but I don’t expect them to lose both which means they’ll need 16 points in 12 games. The opponents aren’t exactly easy as a whole, but the Golden Knights should come out motivated and that will lead them to a solid 18+ point month.
Pick: OVER 17.5
Regular Season Wins – Fleury
Fleury finished 5th in the NHL with 35 wins a year ago, but he played a ton of hockey to get there. He was a Vezina trophy candidate for the first half of the year before the team hit a bit of a slide. The Golden Knights have to limit his playing time at least a bit from what they did last year, but the team should win more. This one is going to be very close, but I’ll pick under and say he’ll get 31 wins in 55 starts.
Pick: UNDER 31.5
Regular Season Points – Smith
Reilly Smith’s career production has followed a pattern the past six years. Up, down, up, down, up, down. With the Golden Knights he’s had a 60 point and a 53 point season. The trend says he should go up from the 53 last year, but I think this is the year the trend is broken. The expectation is that Smith will start the season on the top line with Marchessault and Karlsson, but eventually, they have to try Stone with those two. Once that happens, Smith will find himself down the lineup and will have a tougher time scoring. I don’t think he’ll miss by much, but 57 is a tall task for a defense-first forward.
Pick: UNDER 56.5
Regular Season Points – Eakin
Of all the numbers, this is the one that jumped off the page most to me. Last season, in what was one of his best offensively, Eakin tallied 41 points in 78 games. He played a good portion of the season on the 2nd line and even saw over a minute of power play time per game. He’ll almost certainly start this year on the 3rd line and could even be bumped down to the 4th if Cody Glass makes the roster. Unless there are major center injuries that last most of the year, Eakin probably won’t come close to this number. It’s much more likely he’s in the 20s than the 40s.
Pick: UNDER 40.5
Regular Season Goals – Tuch
Alex had a breakout year production-wise scoring 20 goals and racking up 52 points. That was spending just about the entire season playing on a 2nd line with Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny or Cody Eakin. This year he appears destined for a 3rd line centered by either Eakin or Glass and with Brandon Pirri on the other wing. The way Gerard Gallant likes his 3rd line to play, it’s going to be a tall task for Tuch to put up 21 or more goals, but any top six injury likely pushes Tuch onto the top two lines. If he plays 50+ games with Karlsson or Stastny as a center, he’ll get to 20 easily, but if he doesn’t it could be tough.
Pick: OVER 20.5
Regular Season Goals – Karlsson
25.5 seems low for a guy that scored 43 just two years ago, but realistically Karlsson is probably more of a point producer than a true goal scorer. I think this is the year he really breaks out as a true facilitator helping his wingers score many more goals than he does, especially if he ever finds himself playing with Stone. I’ll say he gets to 65 points, but doesn’t reach 26 goals.
Pick: UNDER 25.5
Regular Season Goals – Marchessault
After Eakin’s under, this is the next easiest pick. Marchessault should eclipse 26.5 fairly easily. He is still angry at himself for what he considered a down year last year, and he still scored 25 goals in that season. He’s played 75 or more games in each of the last three games and didn’t miss a single game last year. If he doesn’t get to 30, it would be a bit surprising.
Pick: OVER 26.5
Regular Season Goals – Pacioretty
Pacioretty scored just 22 goals last season, which makes the 28.5 number seem very high. However, he missed 16 games and he’s set to have a linemate that should help him score much more this year than he did a year ago. In the 15 games he played with Mark Stone in the regular season, Pacioretty scored four goals. He added another five in the seven game playoff series against the Sharks. That’s nine goals in 23 games which would mean 32 over an 82 game season. That number is far too close to 28.5 for me. I expect Max to miss a few games due to injury and spend at least a portion of the season away from Stone. It wouldn’t shock me if he hits 30, but the better side to play is the under.
Pick: UNDER 28.5
Regular Season Goals – Stone
Stone scored five goals in 18 games in Vegas in the regular season and then added six in seven games in the playoffs. It did take Stone a little while to get going though when he got to Vegas, going goalless for five straight games. In other words, Stone scored 11 goals in a 20 game span. He’s only eclipsed 30 goals once (last year scoring 33), and aside from that he’s never reached more than 26. To me, it’s going to come down to how many games he plays. If I were to be guaranteed an 82 game season out of Stone, I’m betting the over all day, but he’s missed at least 4 games each of the past four years, and missed at least 10 in two of the last four. Damn, this one is close, so we’ll lean optimistic and say he gets there.
Pick: OVER 31.5
Regular Season VGK Top Goal Scorer
Give me Marchessault on this one. I expect him to have a much better year on the power play after scoring just five PP goals last year. Plus, there’s an added motivation factor there for Marchessault both personally and as a team. I could see Marchessault getting to 40 this year. As the 3rd favorite and paying 4:1, he’s the best bet on the board. If you don’t like Marchessault’s chances though, consider Tuch at 12:1.
Pick: Marchessault +400