As discussed on the most recent episode of the Pro Lacrosse Talk Podcast, if you’re someone who believes, “life is too short to bet the under,” then you probably haven’t been thrilled with the biggest trend of the PLL Championship Series’ Group Play—the UNDER train chugging along to the tune of 11-3.
But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and whether or not the UNDER train will fully pull into the station as we enter the Playoff portion of the Series remains to be seen. But that’s where we here at Pro Lacrosse Talk come in! Let’s take a look at Tuesday’s first round playoff games and see what edges we can find.
Note: Lines taken from FOX Bet on August 3 at 10pm ET.
#2 Chrome LC (3-1) vs #7 Chaos LC(0-4)
Point Spread: Chrome -2.5
Money Line: Chrome -200, Chaos +165
Total (Over/Under): 21.5
Despite having the best goalie in the PLL Championship Series, Blaze Riorden, the Chaos enter the playoffs still seeking their first win. While Riorden has been terrific, his high volume of saves (75 saves, 65% save percentage) is indicative of the high number of shots he’s faced. Just how many more saves has Riorden had to make? Well, the Atlas’s netminder, Jack Concannon, has the second most saves in the PLL at 58—nearly 20 less than Riorden. That could be an issue for the red and black as they face the Chrome who come into round one touting the second best scoring offense in the league, netting 50 goals throughout group play.
Another factor that looks a little lopsided to the benefit of the Chrome is the success at the face-off X, Chrome with a 50% success rate to Chaos’ 31%. This element came into play the first time these teams faced off against each other when the Chrome won a flooring 72% en route to a 13-9 #Chromeback win.
Finally, a major issue that has plagued the Chaos is the inability to put points up in bunches—a problem that goes beyond just the PLL Championship Series as the Chaos has not netted double digit points in their last nine outings going back to the 2019 season. The Chrome do not share this struggle, as they haven’t scored under 12 goals in any of their group play matches.
The Pick: I feel bad for the Chaos because not only are they talented, they’re also easy to root for and I could watch Riorden stand on his head all day long. Despite being a dominant team, the Chrome have hardly blown anyone away (outside of these teams’ first meeting) and only average a 1.3 point margin of victory in their wins. Even though I would like to back the underdogs here, I just LEAN UNDER 21.5 due to the Chaos’ strong goalie play coupled with their league low eight points per game average. The reason I just lean with the under is because not only has the market adjusted with these lower totals we’re seeing, but also these players have had a chance to adjust to the high altitude of Utah. Now, if you’re able to get a total of 22.5 or higher I would have full confidence on a one-unit under play.
#4 Redwoods LC (2-2) vs #5 Waterdogs LC (1-3)
Point Spread: Redwoods -1.5
Money Line: Redwoods -133, Waterdogs +110
Total (Over/Under): 21.5
I think the official theme song of this handicap should be Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror”, not only because I’m looking for the Waterdogs to change their ways, but also because how eerily similar these two squads are on the stat sheet.
Okay, I know that was a bad joke, but hear me out. Both teams come into Tuesday’s game scoring 37 total points with an average of 9.75 points per game, both have allowed 42 goals with an average of 10.5 points per game given up, both have committed 67 turnovers and both even have the same amount of assists at 18 a piece. But in my opinion, that’s where the similarities stop.
I mentioned on the Pro Lacrosse Talk podcast how even at 1-3, the Waterdogs still have plenty that make me like their +2000 to win the PLL Championship Series (a ticket I personally hold myself) and I especially like them in the first round. The differences on the stat sheet between the Woods and Dogs are in some pretty important categories.
The Waterdogs 60% win rate on faceoffs looks a lot more attractive than the Redwoods 31%, their penalty kill at 80% matches up well against the Woods 33% success rate on their power plays and especially if the 2-pointer isn’t going for the Woods, you have to like even the nominal difference in shooting percentage (Waterdogs 24% to the Redwoods 19%).
The Pick: Despite only winning one game thus far, the Waterdogs have only failed to cover the spread one game (a 9-7 loss to the Archers that I’m still reeling from…talk about bad beats…). Coupling that with both Redwoods wins only being by a point a piece, I am loving Waterdogs +1.5 as a two-unit play. I know, the Redwoods have the experience edge but who doesn’t love a good under(water)dog story? I’m also playing OVER 21.5 for one-unit even though both teams average under 10 points a game because of the adjustment of altitude that I wrote about earlier and the two-point threat of the Redwoods (I’m looking at you, Sergio).
#3 Archers LC (3-1) vs #6 Atlas LC (1-3)
Point Spread: Archers -1.5
Money Line: Archers -154, Atlas +130
Total (Over/Under): 22.5
The nightcap for Tuesday’s playoff action looks to be a star-studded matchup between two teams who are on different ends of the “expectation” spectrum. For as much as the Archers may have exceeded expectations, it’s fair to say the Atlas has equally underachieved, at least through the Group Play stage.
With players like Rob Pannell, Paul Rabil, Eric Law, Ryan Brown, Bryan Costabile and Trevor Baptiste, it’s hard to believe the Atlas have the second lowest points per game average at 9.25. However, even though they might not be lighting up the scoreboard they’ve kept every game competitive, only winning or losing by a mere point in their 3 games against teams not called the Whipsnakes.
Much like the Bulls, the Archers have also been all about the close games as long as they’re not playing those red-hot Whips. Actually, despite being a top three scoring team (11 PPG average), the Archers only have had a margin of victory of 1.3 points in their three wins during the group play stage, one of which coming in stunning highlight-reel fashion over the Chrome.
The Pick: The first time these teams faced off we saw a 11-10 heavyweight slugfest and I see the same thing happening Tuesday night. I fully expect offense to be the star in another tight game which is why I’m playing OVER 22.5 for one unit despite the total being the highest of the three games. I also LEAN Atlas +1.5 due to both teams constantly finding themselves in one goal games. Showing the importance of a half-point however, if you can get a +2 line or higher, I would fully back a 1-unit play.
Which PLL betting trends do you think will continue in the PLL playoffs? Which bets are you planning on placing? Let us know in the comments or by tagging @ProLacrosseBets on social media. Then be sure to tune back in for another PLL betting preview for the semi-final matchups.