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Beside The Points For Monday, May 21, 2018

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Things That Caught My Eye

Knights in Five

The Vegas Golden Knights became just the second-ever expansion team in the post-1960 histories of the NHL, NBA, NFL or MLB to reach the championship in their very first season of existence. The Knights dispatched the Winnipeg Jets after winning four games of their series to the Jets’ one. The 1967-68 St. Louis Blues are the only previous team to pull it off, albeit in a league with 12 teams. [ESPN]

Warm WNBA welcome

The Connecticut Sun beat the brand-new Las Vegas Aces 101-65 on Sunday by the largest ever margin of victory for a WNBA opening day game. Vegas rookie A’ja Wilson, the top pick in the 2018 draft, showed promise with 14 points and 10 rebounds in her debut. [ESPN]

We’re getting worse at gambling somehow

With sports gambling poised to make a nation-wide splash following a nod from the Supreme Court, it’s worth asking if we are actually even good at it to begin with. In 1992, casinos kept just 2.81 percent of the wagers they handled on sports. Over the next 15 years, casinos got better at wooing easier marks in, and their haul peaked at 7.89 percent in 2006. In 2017 the house took 5.11 percent of all sports wagers. [FiveThirtyEight]

Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?

U.S.A. is #1 at #3

The United States defeated Canada 4-1 to take the bronze medal at the world ice hockey championship. Sweden took gold and Switzerland took silver. This is the third time the U.S. has won the bronze medal in the past six years. [ESPN]

Who can’t touch the new ball?

This year there are 22 hitters in major league baseball who have seen 30 pitches that were 96 miles per hour or higher and who have failed to generate a single hit off the speedy balls. Several of those players are north of 30 years old, meaning that the necessity to make major adjustments to the new, faster pitching game may be trouble for more experienced players. [ESPN]

Ledecky the G.O.A.T.

Katie Ledecky set a new record in the 1500m at the IU Natatorium with 15:20.48. She beat the previous record-holder, who is also Katie Ledecky, by a full 5 seconds. At this point the top eight fastest 1500m times are all held by Katie Ledecky. [USA Swimming]


Big Number(s)

31 horses

Congratulations to Justify, who became the 31st horse to win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes since 1931. Justify was scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Sunday. If this horse wants to be the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown — gonna level with you I do not think the horse wants that, it’s a horse, and I doubt horses fully understand the enormous apparatus around professional racing to the level that it’s compelled to aspire — but if Justify does seek to become the 13th crown winner, holding off rival Good Magic by only 2 ½ lengths definitely means the Belmont Stakes in three weeks is any horses’ game. [ESPN]

Leaks from Slack:

micah:

Leicester City is bigger right?

neil:

It’s a great Q which was less likely going into the season
I think Leicester still more unlikely
EPL more ruled by money, less by randomness than NHL
But this was the general consensus going into the year:

Wow The Golden Knights Are Going To Be Bad

Predictions

Oh, and don’t forget
omg only $17?!

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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