Editor’s Note: This recurring series is written by Billy Costigan.
It is hard to believe that after this weekend we will be halfway done with the Premier Lacrosse League regular season. Let’s pick a few more winners before the two week all star game break.
PLL Week 4 Recap
Parity, the state or condition of being equal, may not be a single more fitting word to describe the teams in this league!
Obviously, the eight teams are not perfectly equal in terms of talent and success. But with three games in week four being decided by just one point, it’s truly anyone’s league. No team is ever out of it and no matter how sure one side may look, either can always win.
The ever present parity shouldn’t be a surprise either. There are only eight teams for all the best lacrosse players in the world. Each year another class of amazing players enters the league from college, making the competition for those spots even tougher.
Most teams are forced each week to make decisions to leave phenomenal players off their game day rosters, because of the limited roster space.
Honestly, the parity is a real treat for the viewers! Who doesn’t love close battles down to the wire? There are no Thursday Night Football snooze fests between the Giants and Jaguars in this league. Every single game keeps you on the edge of your seat and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
So many games so close does create some betting angles to consider as well.
Week 4 was a perfect example where underdogs dominated the spread (4-0) but favorites won 3 out of 4 games outright on the moneyline. This is in line with the season long numbers where underdogs are leading against the spread 10 to 6 but favorites are leading on the moneyline 11 to 5 wins.
What these numbers appear to be telling us is that a lot of games have had the underdog win against the spread but the favorite still got the outright win on the moneyline. This makes sense given that every spread is at least 1.5 points and so many games have been decided by just a single goal.
So like everything this alone is not enough to blindly make picks by, but is something to keep in mind. This data suggests that if you like an underdog take them on the spread plus the points or if you like a favorite take them on the moneyline to just win the game outright.
That may seem obvious already, as in any sport spreads are a safer way to take underdogs since they can lose the game but still win against the spread and asking a favorite to just win the game by 1 is an easier thing to do then winning by multiple points. But the way the PLL is trending makes this angle look stronger than ever.
PLL Week 5 Report
Archers -1.5 (-130) / ML -175
Redwoods +1.5 (+100) / ML +140
Over 24.5 (-105) / Under 24.5 (-125)
Starting off the weekend in Minneapolis is a rematch of the epic 2019 semi-final between Archers and Redwoods. While this matchup has been close in the past and Redwoods have found themselves on the winning side more often than not, I’m not so sure that will be the case here today.
Redwoods boast veteran poles Glazner and Epple who could strike fear into the heart of any offensive player. However Archers have Hossack holding down the fort with the assistance of formidable short stick d mid Harris.
Archers are also leading the league in settled defense, allowing their opponents to shoot only 16.2% in settled situations. This won’t bode well for Redwoods’ 6 on 6 offense, they’ll have to find some success in transition which is no easy ask either.
On the offensive side things don’t look great for the Redwoods either. While they do have stars in Heningburg and others, they’ve yet to really impress as a team this season. Meanwhile Archers offense is looking dangerous as ever. The Archers lead the league with 14 scores per game compared to the Redwoods just 9 average scores per game.
Rookie additions Moore and DiSome have fit well and only made Archers (with veterans like Manny, Holman, and Schreiber) more dangerous.
One area Redwoods would hope to gain an edge in is the one area that constantly plagues Archers, the face off X. While I am still hopeful for him, Archers rookie Inacio hasn’t found his footing yet, having won just 35% of faceoffs.
Redwoods have notorious face off beast, Ierlan. Normally it would be a very sure thing that this experienced star would eat up a rookie. However Ierlan appears to be in a bit of a slump facing off at just 44% this year.
If Redwoods are going to have any chance they will need Ierlan to bounce back and absolutely dominate the X, in the 60% range or better. Those extra possessions will be necessary to have extra chances at the Archers’ solid defense and goaltending. Even more importantly Redwoods will want to keep the ball out of Archers’ high powered offense’s sticks.
I’m leaning toward Ierlan being able to bounce back and beat up on a rookie. However if he really is in a bad funk, then there could be a chance for Inacio to finally find success. Either way I’m not sure faceoffs alone will be enough to carry Redwoods but they have got to try. As much as Archers’ lack of faceoff success pains me, I’ve seen them get the job done before without it.
Heningburg to go over his points total is worth a look as well. While Pannell’s 2.5 prop has a better price it’s harder to pick a Redwoods attackman given the Archers success in settled situations. If Redwoods are going to find enough points some of them have to be in transition which would involve midfielders. So I’ll go with their midfielder who is on fire this year, Heningburg.
Pick: BET Archers -1.5 (-130)
BET Moore Over 3.5 Points (-110)
LEAN Heningburg Over 2.5 Points (-185)
Atlas -1.5 (+105) / ML -130
Chrome +1.5 (-135) / ML +100
Over 23.5 (-125) / Under 23.5 (-105)
The second game of the weekend features the team everyone expected to be very good, 3-1 Atlas vs the team not many people expected much out of, 4-0 Chrome. Going into this game on paper the teams though, these teams currently appear rather equal.
In addition to similar records, both squads are averaging 13 scores per game. Atlas are giving up an average 10 scores a game and Chrome are giving up 9.5 average scores per game. Atlas’ points leader (Teat) has 16 points and Chrome’s points leader (Nichtern) has 16 points. Both teams also have faceoff men who are having career years. So what’s going to be the difference?
If either Baptiste (74%) or Farrell (63%) can find an edge to gain any kind of decent majority of wins that would be huge for their teams chances. It would appear though that this is slated to be a rather even battle at the X.
If I had to lean towards one team getting a bigger advantage through faceoffs here though, it would be Atlas. Baptiste has the better percentage so far this year and has contributed more on offense as well.
Atlas do have a slight goaltending edge with Concanon (60%) versus Chrome’s Sconone (54%).
This may be one of the tougher games to call this week as far as picking a winner. If I had to pick though I would lean Atlas.
There are just too many potential advantages pilling up for the bulls. From further depth at offense to goaltending, the faceoff X, and pace of play. Atlas like to attack earlier and play faster while Chrome does not. To make matters even worse for them Chrome will be without their head coach this week.
This game is going to show us which of these teams is really good and I’m betting that’s going to be Atlas.
Pick: BET Atlas -145
LEAN Nichtern Over 3.5 Points (-140)
Chaos -1.5 (+115) / ML -125
Cannons +1.5 (-145) / ML -105
Over 23.5 (-105) / Under 23.5 (-125)
Starting off Sunday is a matchup between 1-3 Cannons and 0-4 defending champs Chaos. As we’ve said before no one is ever really completely out of it in this league, but a win would be huge for either of these teams.
Chaos have suffered from just barely getting most of their stars back recently. Can’t count them out since they’ve turned it around before. But in a 10 game regular season you don’t want to start out 0-5 and have to win out just to get a .500 record.
Cannons are averaging 11 scores per game and giving up 14.5 sources per game, while Chaos average just 9 scores per game and give up 13.8 per game. Both goalies are coming in just above 50% but are each still very talented and have the ability to take over a game.
Neither team has found huge success at the faceoff X either. Chaos are facing off at 49% as a team and Cannons 46% as a team.
With either team unlikely to gain a huge possession advantage from the X, and both having solid goalies, under 23.5 may be worth a look. Cannons have reached 11 goals just twice and Chaos have only been in double digits once this year.
On defense Chaos will rely on Neuman (2CT, 9GB) and Rowlett (2CT, 6 GB) to be able to handle Cannons’ offensive stars and their deadly ever developing 2 man game. They also benefit from veteran long stick midfielder CJ Costabile (1CT, 14 GB) who can still turn defense to offense quickly and has already racked up 6 points this season.
Chaos offense has been barely treading water. O’Keefe (6G, 12PT, 2A) and Berg (3G, 3A) have been playing well. But Chaos will need all their returning NLL stars to find their grove quickly.
Cannons’ offense could be their x factor here. Everyone knows Cannons attackman Thompson (9G, 6A) is one of the best to ever do it. Rookie addition Nolting (8G, 5A) has fit in very well playing with one of his childhood heroes in Thompson. They’ve found great success working the two man game this year. The chemistry is so good I think it’s safe to say they are actually both making each other better.
This could be the game where Chaos “gets right” but I’m not so sure. Even if they do win it might be another PLL classic and by just one goal. So while I don’t hate it if you’re confident enough to take Cannons moneyline, I’m going to play it safe on the spread and take Cannons plus the points. Underdogs’ success against the spread this year makes it look like an even better call to just take the points.
Pick: BET Cannons +1.5 (-145)
BET Nolting Over 3.5 Points (-115)
BET O’Keefe Over 2.5 Points (-150)
LEAN Under 23.5 (-125)
Whipsnakes -1.5 (-125) / ML -160
Waterdogs +1.5 (-105) / ML +130
Over 24.5 (-115) / Under 24.5 (-115)
Capping off the weekend is Waterdogs (1-3) taking on Whipsnakes (4-0). Their record and Whipsnakes pedigree might make them look like an easy choice. Again though given underdogs success against the spread and the Waterdogs’ potential, the dog and the points might be the play.
Faceoffs could be an issue here though for Waterdogs. Whipsnakes have bona fide star Nardella (66%) at the X. Waterdogs are without Withers so they must use Tucci (50%) who’s been holding his own but has never gone up against the likes of Nardella. But this would have been a good week to be able to dress two face off guys for Waterdogs and have options.
As is so often the case Tucci will at least need to neutralize Nardella and not let him gain a sizable lead to keep the Waterdogs in the game. Tucci doesn’t need to be 65% this game, he’s just gotta prevent Nardella from getting too far above 50% (easier said than done).
Between the pipes Bernlohr (60%) is thrusting himself into MVP talks for Whipsnakes. Waterdogs have gotten solid performances out of DeLuca (45%). However they have NLL Champion and Team Canada goalie Ward back now and I don’t see how they don’t start him here. He’s another level of player and could make a big difference.
In their week 2 meeting Whipsnakes won by just a single goal in overtime. Waterdogs were without their starting goalie Ward though and all signs point to him being back here. Furthermore 3 of Whipsnakes 4 victories this season have come by just a single goal. So I’m feeling pretty good about riding with the Dogs plus the points.
Given the Whipsnakes success in the cage and the Waterdogs getting back such a high quality goalie it’s also worth looking at the under 24.5 points for the game. In previous 3 meetings these teams have combined for 23, 24, and 17 points.
Pick: BET Waterdogs +1.5 (-105)
BET Under 24.5 (-115)
LEAN Kelly Over 3.5 Points (+145)
Looking forward to another exciting weekend of PLL action! How many games will be decided by one point this week? Hopefully a lot to help us work that underdogs against the spread angle.
After this weekend the players have next weekend off followed by the All Star Game on July 16th at Gillette Stadium. I’m planning on attending that game in person so if you want to meet the man behind the bets in person and talk some lacrosse, shoot me a DM!
This break will be a good time to further develop any numbers you’ve been compiling or systems you’ve been looking at.
I’m hoping during the break to get out an article just to help you bet futures (league winner and MVP), so be on the lookout for that next week!
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!
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