Welcome back Premier Lacrosse League fans!
It’s semifinals week from Washington, D.C. where two squads will punch their tickets to the championship game in Philadelphia next weekend. Who will become one step closer to hoisting that shiny new trophy?
Let’s take a look back at the amazing quarterfinals round (which was very kind to my bankroll) and then preview the two semifinal games.
Week 12 Recap
The quarterfinal round from Gillette Stadium was a great day full of playoff lacrosse action! I was personally in attendance (shout out to the PLL for the tix, many thanks) and it was an awesome atmosphere.
I also hope you got a chance to follow some of my picks from last week’s piece as they went 3-0 with Chaos +1.5, Archers -185, and Waterdogs +1.5 all cashing! You could also have taken the two dogs on the moneyline and Archers against the spread for even better payouts during the clean sweep.
Let’s check out how those bets fell for the first round:
Chrome’s Cinderella attempt at another “Chromeback” came crashing down early in the day. I’ve mentioned it before and I think we all know it by now, Chaos are dangerous in the playoffs especially if they get hot, and oh boy did Chaos (and especially Riorden) get hot last Saturday.
Riorden stopped an astounding 83% of shots faced against Chaos while racking up fifteen saves and two groundballs. It’s going to be hard for any team to win against Chaos when Riorden’s save percentage gets so high. He did this last year and we all know how that ended up.
A four point deficit Redwoods dug themselves in the first quarter would prove to be too much despite keeping it closer the next two quarters and even winning the fourth. Archers were on a mission and even with Redwoods’ desire they just didn’t have what it takes to hang with Archers like playoffs of the past.
As a team, Archers were 40% on faceoffs which isn’t stellar but could have been much worse. That could potentially be looked at as mitigating the damage against a star like TD. While Archers may be well known for their offense, it was Ghitelman’s 62% and 13 save performance that one could argue helped make up for the deficit at the face off X.
Depth turned out to be a big factor in this one. Redwoods had five players register points, four of whom had multipoint games. On the other hand Archers ended up with nine players in the points column, seven of which were multipoint performances. This will be an area of focus going forward for Redwoods and a sign of promise for Archers.
Waterdogs became the second underdog of the day to win outright as they ended Atlas’ season in the only quarterfinal game that went over the total as well. The now PLL MVP Baptiste gave it his all, going 52% at the X but in the end his team was only 48% on the day. Withers’ 52% performance turned out to be huge for his squad.
Concannon had dipped below 50% only twice this season, with 46% saves his lowest. On Saturday though he posted only 5 saves for a 28% save percentage and was even pulled out of the game.
Atlas’ sharp shooting offense was nullified by their inability to get stops. Down the other end of the field Ward stopped 52% of shots in aid of the Waterdogs’ upset.
Some may look at the two blowouts from last week and say they were boring. Considering that both those teams running away with it were the underdogs though, it was anything but boring to me.
Many people were probably betting and hoping Chaos or Waterdogs could just keep it within one point. Yet they both won outright, as underdogs, in the playoffs, and in convincing fashion! It’s always interesting the perspective sports betting can provide, and in most cases I find it a great thing, or at least fascinating.
Here are the updated 2022 season long totals for the different types of straight bets:
In Week 12, underdogs went 2-1 against the spread (ATS) coming to 27-16 or 62.7% for the season. Archers (7-4 ATS) and Waterdogs (6-5 ATS) have climbed their way to the top of the ATS standings on the way to their semifinals runs.
Whipsnakes (4-6 ATS) have the best straight up record but remain near the bottom of the ATS standings. Chrome and Redwoods both ended the season at 6-5 ATS while Atlas finished a league worst 3-8 ATS.
While ATS records don’t necessarily always reflect actual success in the wins column, Atlas’ records are worth noting. Atlas finished 6-5 straight up and most of the season were considered very strong.
Yet in the playoffs they again found themselves scratching their head, could their ATS record have been foreshadowing this? Although Chrome and Redwoods’ better 6-5 ATS records don’t do them much good now that their season is over.
Unders went 2-1 in the quarterfinals, although overs do maintain a slight 51.1% season lead at 22-21. Waterdogs have pulled away as the lone leader to the over at 8-3 to the over. Chrome went under more than any team this year, ending the season at 8-3 to the under. Redwoods finished 7-4 and Atlas 6-5, both to the over.
Moneylines actually belonged to the underdogs this week, who went 2-1 on the moneyline, as two underdogs won outright. However, favorites still maintain a 67.4% advantage for the year going 29-14 on the moneyline.
Whipsnakes had a bye through the first round and still maintain the best straight up record at 9-1, although Archers are creeping up at 7-4 straight up. For Chrome 7-4 was where their season would end, while Atlas finished at 6-5 and it was 4-7 for Redwoods in straight up wins and losses.
Now we turn our sights to the Week 13 pair of semifinal matchups from Audi Field in our Nation’s Capital!
Week 13 Report
Waterdogs +1.5 (-120) / ML +140
Whipsnakes -1.5 (-110) / ML -175
Over 24.5 (+100) / Under 24.5 (-130)
1pm ET (ABC / ESPN+)
The first semifinal features the number one overall seed (9-1) Whipsnakes looking to regain the crown against five seeded “every game is a revenge game” (6-5) Waterdogs. Will the Whips make the finals for a fourth straight year or will the Dogs be that new finals team so many are hoping for?
Whipsnakes’ defense looks like a solid unit to no surprise. They have MVP finalist and Goalie of The Year, Bernlohr who posted a 58% save percentage in the regular season. In front of him they have Defensive POY nominee Dunn, SSDM of The Year nominee Warner, and LSM of The Year winner Ehrhardt. It’s no wonder they finished with the number one ranked defense in the league.
Waterdogs have decent poles themselves in Byrnes, Randall, Rees, and Hossack. Backing them up in net is their anchor Ward, who was 51% in the regular season and 52% last weekend.
After getting a late start to the season, Ward appears to be stepping back into his all star level skills. Just like Riorden, Ward has the ability to steal a game when he’s really dialed in.
At the faceoff X, the advantage would appear to go to Whipsnakes and Nardella (65%) who went 85% and 63% this year in two previous meetings against Waterdogs. It will be up to some combination of (probably more heavily) Withers and Tucci to keep Nardella from running away with it. Withers was a solid 52% last weekend in the quarterfinals.
On offense, what’s not to like about Whipsnakes? They’ve got Rambo, William, and Carlson at attack; plus Smith, Guterding, Cole, Kirst and others rounding out the midfield.
At the other end of the field is a scrappy, “next man up” style Waterdogs offensive unit that carried them through multiple injury issues. At attack Sowers and McArdle are playing other worldly with the help of weapons Walker and Brown. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen out of this bunch and expect to see more.
The first time these two teams met this year Whipsnakes won by a single point, but that was when Waterdogs were without Ward and had DeLuca in net. In their second meeting with Ward between the pipes it was Waterdogs who were victorious by one point.
I’ll admit Whipsnakes may look locked and loaded to win another title, they have been performing scary good this year. But now they take on the only team to beat them this year and that team (Waterdogs) is healthier than before plus more confident and experienced since the last meeting.
Back on July 5th I placed a futures ticket on Waterdogs +650 to win it all. While I can’t say for certain they have what it takes to lift the trophy, I still firmly believe they can possibly make it to championship weekend. So give me the Dogs plus the points in what will hopefully be another one point decision.
Pick: Waterdogs +1.5 (-120)
Chaos +1.5 (+100) / ML +150
Archers -1.5 (-130) / ML -185
Over 23.5 (-105) / Under 23.5 (-125)
3:30pm ET (ESPN+)
Closing out the second round is always out to prove they were disrespected seventh seed (3-8) Chaos going up against high powered and determined three seed (7-4) Archers. The defending champs seem to make a living not worrying about the regular season and turning it on when it counts, but can they do it again or will Archers’ depth and talent be too much for them this time?
Goaltending will no doubt play a huge factor in this one. Riorden for Chaos was 54% this regular season and 83% last weekend in the quarterfinals. Ghitelman for Archers was only 49% this season but a solid 62% in the opening round.
Chaos absolutely need Riorden to stand on his head against Archers’ lethal offense. Archers just need Ghitelman to play good but may need him to play great if they’re getting crushed at the faceoff X or to match if Riorden is playing out of his mind.
Faceoffs could go either way here so we will have to see. Chaos have Adler who’s capable of dominating but has been shaky this season. They also have Thomas Kelly and Ragonese as other possible options.
Archers will look to rely on rookie specialist Inacio to play up to the moment. While he’s not had the best rookie campaign, I still have hope of potential for a higher upside with Inacio. I would lean towards Chaos in this department but it’s no guarantee.
Offensively Chaos showed they can turn it on last week, however, even dominating Chrome they only put up eleven points. Byrne and Rogers lead the way in round one, with Fraser and both Smiths filling in the points list. Andy Towers may need to find a way to get their team point total up from its usual hovering around 11, if they’re going to outscore Archers.
Archers’ offensive is about as good as you can draw it up on paper. As we’ve talked all season the vets like Schreiber, Manny, and Holman provide an amazing base while rookies Moore and DeSimore help round out the unit.
Ambler and Fields have also both been very steadily contributing and making impacts for their team. The only question remaining for them this weekend is: will they be able to get the ball by Playoff Riorden enough times?
In their first meeting this season Archers won by five points and in the second they won by three. However in the past Archers have won the regular season battle and Chaos the postseason ones. The idea of Chaos becoming what they were last year is scary for every other team left.
The problem is I’m not so sure, even given the few signs we’ve got so far, that Chaos really does have that same magic in them this season. Archers on the other hand seem to be on a warpath.
You’ll often hear, especially towards the end of a season, narratives about “oh it’s hard to beat a team x amount of times”. A common example is “it’s hard to beat a team three times in the NFL”, given very often the third game is a playoff game after two regular season division matchups.
In reality though, more often than not the numbers don’t agree with that idea in most sports and leagues. Think about it, if Team A already beat Team B multiple times, and not that much time has gone by or things have changed, then why would the result be any different?
Usually having already swept the season series is a much stronger angle for the team that did the winning than the team that got swept (probably the underdog) as the media often loves to spin it. But I’m sure it’s easier to sell an underdog story and who wants to market a live sporting event as “well odds are we’ll get the same result here as before”.
So these narratives probably aren’t going away anytime soon, but as I always say, you’ve got to dig deeper than the surface to really try and get an accurate assessment on how heavily or not you should weigh a given narrative.
Given all of this it’s going to be Archers for me. The only thing I’m afraid could really derail backing The Bow Squad, is if Riorden just doesn’t let any balls by and has some absurdly high save percentage.
So if you’re really really high on playoff Riorden you could go ahead and take Chaos plus the points. You’ll notice though, that’s even money and the Archers spread is -130. This might possibly be the sportsbooks almost daring you to bet Chaos spread because they don’t want you betting Archers spread.
While I don’t normally love to lay this big a price, I’m going to have to take Archers moneyline again. If you’re really loving Archers and feeling brave you could take them on the spread.
Favorites on the moneyline (29-14) though, do have the strongest lead (67.4%) of any type of straight bet this season. Also while I think it unlikely, I just can’t shake Riorden and Chaos becoming a whole different team in the playoffs.
In case Chaos and / or the combination of possibly two hot goalies (Riorden and Ghitelman) keeps this close, I’ll count on Archers to just win the damn game.
Pick: Archers -185
There are three Premier Lacrosse League games left this season and two of them are this weekend in Washington, D.C. After this Sunday the championship matchup will be set.
Possibly you have some futures tickets on teams to win it all still alive? This is a great time to still be checking the futures board and thinking about hedging to lock in a profit.
Consider things like what teams you already have, what teams you think will win and advance, the prices they were / you got them at / they’re at now, and who might be the favorite or underdog in the next game.
For example you think a team will be the favorite in the finals, but they might be available before the semis, at big enough plus money, to win it all. So you could bet them plus money now and then come back and bet the other side if they’re the plus money underdog in the finals. You’d then be sitting with plus money tickets on both teams in a championship game before it starts, hopefully, ensuring a profit.
This obviously takes some planning, consideration, guessing, and luck. There are multiple other situations you might find yourself in where hedging could be advantageous as well.
In our situation here with next week being the final and championship game is where you can often find yourself with great opportunities to lock in a profit pregame, regardless of who wins. If you have futures championship tickets on both sides going into a final, one of them has to win the game and cash the ticket.
Going into the championship game next week with large plus money tickets on both sides from futures bets, I can promise you, will be an absolutely amazing feeling.
This may have required bets earlier in the season when prices were higher, some hedging before this weekend’s games or after, or you may even already have the two tickets you need from previous bets if you’re lucky.
I know personally that I have championship winner tickets on Archers +550 and Chaos +400 from May 7, 2022 as well as one on Waterdogs +650 I placed on July 5, 2022. I’m thinking about coming back with some extra Archers or Waterdogs championship bets before the semifinals because that’s who I like to make the finals.
Part of me though can’t help thinking about grabbing a Whipsnakes ticket because I can’t shake the possibility of them stealing the crown. However most of the value there is gone as you could have had them at much higher prices.
I’m in the process of working out the amounts and potential profits, but plan to get a bet in to hedge my champion bets before the semifinals start.
If you’re looking for more help with betting the PLL Championship winner, check out my futures betting guide I did for Lacrosse Playground back in July, particularly Part 1, which is on betting futures such as the PLL Championship. Although Part 2 on betting futures such as awards may help some here as well.
Personally I’m beyond excited for these next two weekends of PLL action! I have quite literally been waiting since last season ended for this time of year, and to see who’d be the next to take home the crown. Hopefully I’ll even be in Philadelphia for the finals next weekend.
These next three games are surely to be ones you don’t want to miss. The last three games of the season and win or go home, there’s nothing quite like it. These players have been working all season and even longer before that to reach this point.
Now it all comes down to these final games to decide which two other teams will have their season end with disappointment and what one squad will raise the brand new PLL Cash App Championship Trophy.
Be sure to check out my Twitter for more updates and plays throughout the weekend and as always my DM’s are open with any questions you may have about lacrosse or sports betting @bCostigan84.
Best of luck and let’s cash some bets!