I just bet on pro lacrosse for the first time. Ever.
A week ago, this wasn’t even possible for a United States resident. Yet, thanks to the Premier Lacrosse League’s partnership with Genius Sports and William Hill becoming the first sports book to release future odds for the PLL, I can now legally bet on pro lacrosse.
The idea of gambling on professional lacrosse in the United States has been discussed for a while now, but it wasn’t until the NLL announced their partnership with BetMGM in January that pro lacrosse fans realized that gambling on pro lacrosse was almost a reality.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the NLL was forced to postpone and eventually cancel the rest of the 2020 season. Gamblers itching to bet on pro lacrosse would have to wait. Yet, the wait wouldn’t last long as a few months later the PLL announced a partnership with Genius Sports to provide sports betting on the 2020 PLL Championship Series. It was a big step for a league entering its second season, but they would still need sports books to set odds on the league.
Then on June 24, William Hill released the future odds for the PLL, with Whipsnakes LC favored to repeat as PLL champions at 3/1 odds. They are followed by Chaos LC (4/1), Redwoods LC (9/2) and Archers LC (9/2). Atlas LC (11/2), Chrome LC (8/1) and Waterdogs LC (9/1) are listed as the longshots.
This was the most pivotal moment for pro lacrosse betting that fans had seen. A major sports book had now given sports bettors the opportunity to bet on pro lacrosse in the United States.
So being a New Jersey resident, I downloaded the William Hill app and placed my bets. For starters, I could see any of the seven teams winning, which makes deciding who to bet on a difficult decision. That being said though, there are only seven teams in the league, which gives me a little more than a 14 percent chance to correctly predict the 2020 PLL Champion.
I’m of the philosophy that you should make low risk, high reward bets, so I decided not to bet on the Whipsnakes or Chaos since they possessed the lowest potential return. Considering the moves the Redwoods and Archers made this offseason, and looking at their 9/2 odds made me hone in on them as my potential favorites. They both boast two of the best rosters in the league on paper and would give me a better return if my bet hit. After weighing both teams, I decided to place two units on the Archers to win, with the potential to win nine units if correct.
Yet, as I mentioned, I’m all about getting the highest return and while the Waterdogs have yet to play a game yet, their roster on paper was good enough for me to place a second two-unit bet on Waterdogs LC. If they win, I’ll make 18 units. Of course, by hedging my bets, I guarantee that I’ll lose at least two units, but the prospect of increasing my unweighted probability of being right to more than 28 percent and winning anywhere from nine to 18 units greatly outweighed the potential of losing tow to four units. That’s a much better opportunity to win money than you’d get from any of the major sports leagues which have as many as 30 to 32 teams vying for the championship.
You may think that my bets on the Archers and Waterdogs are great bets. Or maybe you don’t. I may win money at the end of this season, and I may very well lose. Yet, I’m finally able to put my money where my mouth is and make a bet on pro lacrosse, and that’s a win in my book regardless of the outcome to my personal finances.
Now you may not like the idea of gambling, whether for personal reasons or on a broader level. That’s fine. Gambling isn’t for everyone and there are plenty of valid concerns when it comes to introducing gambling to lacrosse. That is exactly why companies like Genius Sports exist. Their job is to ensure sports betting integrity within sports.
Yet, regardless of your opinion on gambling, one thing is for certain when it comes to sports betting: it attracts more people to the sport. How many of your gambling friends discuss betting on an obscure sport or league? If they’re big bettors, the odds are high that they’re wagering on non-traditional league or sport, hoping to gain an edge. The fact that a major sports book like William Hill has released odds for the PLL is a monumental moment for the sport of lacrosse. Regular bettors who may have never even heard of lacrosse, will now see the PLL listed with big-time leagues like the NFL and NBA, as well as obscure leagues like the KBO (that you can also already wager on). This is one of the major ways lacrosse can reach a new audience and rise in popularity.
So, ultimately whether you choose to bet on the PLL or not, you should celebrate this moment. Because I just bet on pro lacrosse for the first time ever. And now millions of future pro lacrosse fans can too.
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect Pro Lacrosse Talk, LLC. The decision to gamble should be me made by the individual and should be done with serious consideration of personal finances, habits and tolerance for risk.