Editor’s Note: This recurring series is written by Billy Costigan.
It’s Championship Weekend Premier Lacrosse League fans!
This is the moment we have been waiting all season for. This weekend in Philadelphia one team will raise the brand new Cashapp PLL Championship Trophy.
Will it be Chaos again off a late run to success? Or will Waterdogs become the third ever team to win a PLL Championship?
Let’s find out!
Week 13 Recap
The semifinals from DC were the day of the underdogs and the unders!
Let’s take a look at how the bets fell as both underdogs won outright and both games went under:
After delivering Whipsnakes their only loss this season going into the semis, Waterdogs gave Whipsnakes their second loss and ended their season. Withers was able to limit Nardella from running away with it at the X. Sowers, McArdle, and company gave it their all on offense. Lastly a huge 63%, 17 save performance helped carry Waterdogs.
In the second semifinal Chaos did what they do best and made some chaos. It didn’t matter how many more games Archers had won or how many more goals they had scored this season. Riorden had a 65% save percentage and that was all Chaos needed. They again “stole” a low scoring game which will happen when you have one of the best goalies on the planet.
Here are the updated season long betting trends as well:
As we mentioned, underdogs went 2-0 against the spread last week, bringing them to 64.4% on the season. Unders going 2-0 gave them a slight edge for the year at 51.1%. Both underdogs winning outright also leaves favorites still with a 64.4% win rate on the moneyline.
Archers saw their season end with a 7-5 record both on the moneyline and against the spread, while also going 7-5 to the under. Whipsnakes ended with still the best moneyline record of 9-2, but one of the worst against the spread records at 4-7, and they were 7-4 to the under.
Week 14 Report
Championship Game, 3PM EST, ABC
Waterdogs -1.5 (+120) / ML -120
Chaos +1.5 (-150) / ML -110
Over 22.5 (-125) / Under 22.5 (-105)
Well here it is folks, the big game we have been waiting for!
Right out of the gates I think anyone familiar with the league will see one of the most important matchups in this contest will be between the pipes. It’s quite possible the two best goalies on the planet will be starting this game.
Riorden has been on fire this playoffs (74% postseason) and we have all seen many times how he can “steal” a game for Chaos. Ward (58% postseason) for Waterdogs though is just as capable of becoming a brick wall. It’s pretty hard to win a game if you can’t score, so we’ll have to see which squad can crack their opponent’s keeper.
At the faceoff X we could have a good battle on hand. Adler has performed very well in the past although he hasn’t found as much success this season, still the potential to be elite is there. Withers didn’t exactly have the highest win percentage but he’s been solid this playoffs and is 62.5% in his career vs Adler. In what could be a close low scoring game, earning possessions from the X will be huge.
On offense Chaos will most likely lean on their box style and invert offenses. They’ll need attackmen like Cloutier and Bryne to be on their best game. Plus midfielders such as both Smiths and O’Keefe will be hungry to contribute any way they can.
Chaos have had notoriously low team score totals this season. It won’t be very easy though to score any more points than normal against Waterdogs’ Ward. So they’ll either need to find a way to beat Ward or hope Riorden can make up for the low score total at the other end of the field.
Waterdogs will be missing a great teammate Schlosser in this one due to injury, although he will still be on the sideline contributing anyway possible. Their other midfielders can pull their weight though.
Currier can create transition and Kelly is always a threat with amazing hustle. Hannah has struggled lately but shouldn’t be counted out here. Plus we all know how Conrad can literally run through a defender.
The attack unit will also need to play as great as they can here. McArdle has become a force to be reckoned with. Walker also provides solid contributions. Sowers can really make a huge difference as well, although injuries always seem to be a concern for him, he had to sit part of the semifinal before returning.
Luckily for Waterdogs this weekend they finally have Johns Hopkins standout Ryan Brown back in the lineup. So hopefully Brown’s sharp shooting can make up for if Sowers goes down.
One could see how Chaos, maybe plus the points, is appealing here. They have been to the finals 3 years in a row now and there’s always Riorden. But how many times can they really pull off their underdog, turn it up late, kind of run?
I’m going to be riding with Waterdogs here though. What’s by far been the biggest factor in Chaos being able to pull off these playoff runs? It’s without a doubt their goalie, Riorden, that not many teams have been able to match. Well if there’s any squad that can match Riorden standing on his head it’s Waterdogs with Ward. The Chaos’ most relied on edge may be neutralized.
Plus Waterdogs just have more depth all around. Andy Copelan has spent three years carefully constructing this group and it shows. They have so many options where the offense can come from.
Even as injuries appeared concerning earlier in the season, if anything that only made them better. Waterdogs developed a next man up, all in, mentality and it shows. These hungry dogs should be ready for this big stage.
Let’s also not forget Waterdogs’ lifetime 3-0 record against Chaos. They have won by one, two, and then most recently nine scores. Don’t buy into the idea that this means maybe Chaos are “due” for a win against Waterdogs.
It’s actually quite the opposite case here. Waterdogs beat Chaos by nine earlier this season with DeLuca in net. Now they take on Chaos again with their even better goalie Ward. Waterdogs may also be overall more healthy and battle hardened than the last meeting, so if anything I would look for Waterdogs to keep their record against Chaos perfect.
The under is also worth a look given how amazing both goaltenders are. Unders are also on a 4-1 run this postseason. Although it is a very low under and if Waterdogs run away with it like the previous meeting it could end up going over. But I’d lean towards a much closer, lower scoring, battle here. You can see by the line pricing that oddsmakers also think this will be very close.
Pick: Waterdogs -120
Under 22.5 (-105)
There it is, everything you need to know to help you enjoy an amazing PLL Championship this weekend!
Some might not find it fun to route for an under but if I’ve got a bet on it, every save is just as exciting as a goal.
Also who wouldn’t love to see a new team win it all this year?
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.
Also I want to thank any and all of you who have been reading my articles this past NCAA and / or PLL season! It’s truly been a pleasure breaking down games for you. Plus I’ve had a great time meeting and talking, lacrosse and betting, with more members of the community. Feel like I’ve even made some new friends along the way!
It truly has felt great to have readers reach out with questions on lacrosse or betting, and be able to provide them with information they find useful. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading as much as I’ve enjoyed writing these pieces.
Don’t worry because there will be more lacrosse coverage coming your way all offseason from myself and Lacrosse Playground. Then it will be NLL season before we even know it.
Best of luck and let’s cash some bets!