2022 Premier Lacrosse League Championship Betting Odds, Picks: PLL Bets for Chaos vs Waterdogs
Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Byrne (22), Steve DeNapoli (left).
The Premier Lacrosse League championship is almost here, and for the third straight time, the 2021 PLL defending champion Chaos will play for a PLL title. The Waterdogs will make their first appearance in the PLL Championship and are 1.5-point favorites heading into the game, despite the matchup being a pick ‘em on the moneyline. The total is currently 22.5 at FanDuel.
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Waterdogs (-1.5) vs. Chaos
|Time||Sunday, 3 p.m. ET|
Odds via FanDuel.
The last time these teams faced, both were 0-3 and still seeking their first win of the season. The Waterdogs doubled up the Chaos in their week four meeting and came away with an 18-9 victory. Both the Waterdogs and Chaos would continue to have up and down seasons before entering the playoffs as the fifth and seventh seeds respectively.
Yet, the PLL playoffs are all about getting hot at the right time, and both teams have managed to win two straight as underdogs to secure a spot in the 2022 PLL Championship game. Thus, it is ironic that both teams are currently minus odds on the moneyline, with FanDuel now making the matchup a pick ‘em with both teams at -110 on the moneyline.
The last meeting between these teams was the first game back for many of Chaos starters, who missed the first three weeks due to the National Lacrosse League Finals, but Chaos were still without both attackman Chris Cloutier and faceoff specialist Max Adler.
On the other side, Dillon Ward was back on the Waterdogs roster, but he played the role of backup goalie in this game, with Matt DeLuca making his fourth start in net this season. The Waterdogs were also still without starting faceoff specialist Jake Withers due to injury. While all those were key absences for both teams, there are still some things we can take away from the Chaos and Waterdogs’ only meeting this season.
First, the Waterdogs were able to beat the Chaos defense both in transition and in settled six-on-six offense. The Waterdogs scored four transition goals on Chaos in their first meeting and have been an opportunistic team throughout the season. Ryland Rees and Zach Currier’s ability to push the ball in transition could be relied on heavily if the Waterdogs opt to play fast on Sunday.
However, the Waterdogs may also try to beat the Chaos in a settled, six-on-six offense. The Chaos defense has played very well the past two games and has played toward goalie Blaze Riorden’s strengths, denying teams the middle of the field, forcing them to take low-quality shots that Riorden can easily save. They are one of the best teams at stopping shots down low, and Riorden has allowed the lowest shooting percentage from the low wings. This was evident in the Chrome and Archers’ inability to get to the middle of the field and generate quality shots.
Yet, the Waterdogs are one of the best teams at getting to the middle of the field and have demonstrated that in their past two games. The Waterdogs also take the most shots in the league and are the second-most efficient offense in settled situations. Chaos did just take down the most efficient offense, but Archers suffered more from a low shot volume and a hot goaltender last week. Waterdogs should be able to secure more possessions than Archers and given their versatility on offense, should be able to attack Chaos in more ways than they saw last week.
Even if Chaos denies Waterdogs the middle of the field like they did for Archers and Chrome, the result could be equally problematic. The Waterdogs have the ability to dodge down the alley with players like Connor Kelly and Jack Hannah and feed players like Michael Sowers, Kieran McArdle and Ryan Brown on the opposite back pipe when denied the middle of the field. We could also see the Waterdogs attack from behind the net with dodgers Sowers and Kelly. Waterdogs’ ability to spread out the defense and get to the middle of the field will be key in putting goals past Riorden.
One advantage that the Chaos hold is their ability to score on the power play. The Chaos are converting on 52% of their power play opportunities and are the only team to score on more than half of their chances. In the postseason, Chaos have converted on 100% of their power play chances, albeit only going on the power play once in each of their past two games.
In their one meeting with the Waterdogs, Chaos drew six penalties for a total of 3.5 penalty minutes and scored on four of those six power play chances. It was the lone bright spot of the day for the Chaos. If you take away those four goals, Tommy Kelly’s goal off the faceoff and three goals in garbage time, you’re left with just one Chaos settled, six-on-six goal during the important minutes of the game.
The Waterdogs defense is not fazed by the pairs offense that the Chaos runs and has shown they can effectively neutralize them. The Waterdogs’ key will be limiting penalties, something they’ve managed to do well this season. The Waterdogs took the second-fewest penalty minutes in the league with 15.5 minutes this season and while they struggled earlier in the season, Waterdogs managed to kill all five of their opponent’s power play opportunities in the postseason. If the Waterdogs can limit Chaos’ power play opportunities, they will take away one of its biggest advantages.
Ultimately, I think the Waterdogs have the edge in a game that has been priced as a pick ‘em. I recommend betting Waterdogs on the moneyline at -110 and would bet them all the way to -130.
As far as the total of 22.5 goes, I think the sportsbooks got it right. Blaze Riorden and Dillon Ward are two of the better goaltenders in the league right now and are stopping 74% and 58% of shots respectively in the postseason, which is why this total is set so low. Additionally, while the last meeting between these teams went over this mark, the Waterdogs scored three two-pointers and the Chaos had three late goals during garbage time. Despite this, both defenses have struggled at points and both offenses have the ability to put up points making me hesitant to play the under at 22.5. The potential for multiple two-pointers also makes this total subject to a variety of outcomes.
Will the Chaos control the tempo like in their previous two playoff games? Will Waterdogs push in transition like in their game against Atlas and last matchup with Chaos? Will either team gain a significant advantage at the faceoff?
Rather than bet under 22.5, I’d be more inclined to play a live under if we see a surge of early goals and the total swells up to 24.5 or 25.5. As far as betting the pre-game total, it’s a pass for me.
Pick: Waterdogs ML (-110)