Man, how awesome is it that the PLL is back? In year three, the league continues to grow, the Cannons are the newest team to join the fold, MLL players have joined the fray and the best part of all – we once again get to bet on professional lacrosse. Last year, we got a taste of lacrosse betting with the bubble tournament, but this year we’re getting the whole enchilada – 11 weeks of glorious spreads, over/unders and money lines focused around the terrific product that the PLL puts out.
As far as the betting implications for week one, my best advice? Tread lightly. Sure, we all have our hot takes and predictions for the upcoming season (cough, Redwoods +450, cough) but all they are is exactly that — hot takes. Heading into the 2021 PLL season, the only data we have to draw from is stats from the previous two seasons ( one of which being a unique bubble-style tournament), final rosters and views on rookies. Until we see these teams in game speed action, even the strongest handicap is still naturally half-baked (which goes great as a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, but not so great when trying to win money sports betting).
That’s why for week 1, while I’ll still have some action, it will be for “pizza money” because I simply can’t be fully confident that my perceptions will play themselves out just yet. Now that I’m done sounding like your sports betting dad, let’s get into some of the value I’m seeing on the week one board!
PLL Goal Totals
Blindly playing the UNDER was absolute money in the bubble tournament last year, for whatever reason games were just staying well below the posted totals and as we saw books adjust and come out with lower totals, we saw the OVER start hitting with more regularity. I’ll be watching to see if this year’s season sees the same slow start as the bubble tournament, and while I don’t put much stock into this week’s scrimmages, the highest combined point total was 18 points in the Cannons 10-8 win over the Whipsnakes.
As far as plays for me on this week’s totals, the lone look I have this week is UNDER 24.5 in weekend finale between the Redwoods and the Chrome. The Woods only allowed 10.8 PPG in the bubble tournament and are poised to stay one of the best defensive teams in the league, adding standout SSDM Isaiah Davis-Allen to an already stout unit. Across from them will be the Chrome who were dead last in scores against in the bubble, allowing 12.8 PPG, however, they spent their offseason strengthening up their defense, especially in the draft where they added a lock-down defender in JT Giles-Harris out of Duke and former Tewaaraton nominee Ryan Terefenko, a potent SSDM out of Ohio State. I’m looking for defense to be the star as the PLL wraps up week 1 from Gillette Stadium.
Week 1 Play: Under 24.5 goals in Redwoods (-1.5) vs Chrome (+1.5)
PLL Game Spreads / Money Lines
Betting against the spread offers an opportunity to get some more manageable prices than what you’ll find on the money line if you like the favorite. As I said earlier, I’ll spend the weekend studying and seeing which of my preconceived notions were correct and which teams I need to adjust my view on. Even so, there is some value I like on this weekend’s slate, both plays talked about on the first edition of the Bet On Lacrosse podcast.
The first actually comes from my co-host with THE most, Doug Greenberg, who’s best bet is Archers -1.5 over the Atlas on Saturday. Everyone is talking about the Cannons being the “new kids on the block” but how about the turnover on the Atlas sideline? They’re an entire new look squad who will be without the first overall pick in the draft, Jeff Teat, who’s status is still up in the air along with several other notable Canadians due to travel restrictions. They’ll be facing off against a team in the Archers who are about an in-sync as you can get and currently hold the 3rd best odds to win the title this year at +450. While I think the Atlas will find their stride as the year goes on, I think it’ll be a bit easier for the Archers to get up to speed with a week of practice than a talented but new-look Atlas. I’m rolling with Dougie Fresh on the ARCHERS -1.5.
Week 1 Play: Archers (-1.5) to cover against Atlas (+1.5)
The second play I’m looking at was my best bet for Bet On Lacrosse. I know I said don’t get carried away in week 1 but I LOVE the value were getting on the Chaos +2.5 as they open up the season against the defending champion Whipsnakes. All games opened up this week lined -1.5 to the favorites, including this one, yet enough money apparently came in on the Whips to make them -2.5 point favorites.
I get it, the Whips are the only champions the league has known for a reason, there isn’t really a weak spot in their game and they recently added Connor Kirst, a standout midfielder from Rutgers, to an already stacked offense. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the love for the Whips, but in week 1 to be giving 2.5 goals to the Andy Towers coached Chaos seems like a market overreaction to me.
Offensively, the Chaos was right behind the Whips in overall scores in the bubble with 70 and now adds the most prolific goal scorer in Division I Men’s lacrosse history in Mac O’Keefe from Penn State to an already impressive unit. Defensively, a unit anchored by Jack Rowlett – who led the team with 9 caused turnovers last season – and the 2019 Dave Pietramala Defensive Player of the Year, Jarrod Neumann, stands in front of Blaze Riorden who boasted a 61% save percentage in the bubble. The Chaos has been looking forward to this rematch all year long giving them bit of added motivation to start the season off on the right foot, give me the CHAOS +2.5 Saturday afternoon.
Week 1 Play: Chaos (+2.5) to cover against Whipsnakes (-2.5)
Best of luck on your bets and be sure to check out the Bet On Lacrosse podcast every week for deep dives on every game!