2023 Premier Lacrosse League Championship Betting Odds & PLL Picks: Archers vs. Waterdogs Best Bets
Photo courtesy of PLL. Pictured: Waterdogs attacker Michael Sowers, Archers midfielder Challen Rogers.
The 2023 Premier Lacrosse League championship is almost here! PLL MVP Tom Schreiber and the top-seeded Archers are seeking a title in their first PLL championship appearance, but will face the defending champion Waterdogs who are looking to go back-to-back. With seven sportsbooks offering odds and five of them posting props, there are plenty of betting angles for the 2023 PLL Championship. Let's take a look at where the edges are.
If you’re an avid bettor who’s new to lacrosse or a lacrosse fan who’s new to betting, check out my guide on how to bet on lacrosse for some tips to use when placing a lacrosse bet.
Archers LC vs. Waterdogs LC (-1.5)
|Sunday · 3 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel.
How to Bet the Side and Total (Spoiler: Don't)
This game is as close to a pick 'em as we've seen in a PLL championship. Waterdogs opened as slight favorites on the moneyline and -1.5 on the spread at nearly every sportsbook on Sept. 10. However, Caesars was the first to make Archers favored and DraftKings and BetMGM have since flipped. Still, no team is longer than -106 to win the title.
After re-watching the previous two matchups, I've decided to stay away from picking a side. I'd lean Waterdogs given goaltender Dillon Ward's presence in net and Archers starting attackman Connor Fields' doubtful status. Still, these are two of the deepest rosters on the most-balanced teams. If the sportsbooks let us bet this contest to be a one-goal game, that might be an easier bet than picking a winner.
As for the total, it's risen to 25.5 everywhere since Tuesday when we bet over 24.5. While I still like this game to go over 25.5, the edge is slightly diminished and I'm concerned weather could be a factor in Philly on Sunday. If you missed the initial 24.5, there are better ways to bet this game to be high-scoring.
Which Player Props are Worth Betting?
There are dozens of player prop options for the 2023 PLL Championship across bet365, BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel. I’ve narrowed down five specific props to target in the title game.
The first player I’m targeting is Waterdogs attackman Michael Sowers. The Philly native has averaged five points in his last five playoff games, including 13 in his last two games. Yet, both his goals and points props are juiced appropriately. Instead, I’m looking to bet Sowers to take more than 4.5 shots on goal (-140 on bet365/DraftKings).
Sowers has recorded five or more shots on goal in 9 of 12 games this season and 17 of his last 24 games, making -140 a great price. He had five in the first game against Archers and fell a shot short in their second meeting. Sowers is the only player to have success when guarded by Archers defender Graeme Hossack, shooting 25% — his second-highest mark of the season. Bet Sowers to shoot the ball on net at least five times on Sunday.
Another Waterdogs attackman I’m betting on is Ethan Walker. Walker has cemented his spot on the Waterdogs attack, tying Sowers as the team’s third-leading scorer with 30 points. He’s recorded at least three points in 7 of 12 games this season, and has gone over 2.5 points in all but two of his last nine games. He had a season-high seven points in the first game against Archers, and while he finished with just two points in the second, he took a season-high 11 shots. I think he’ll factor heavily in this game once again. Bet Walker to go over 2.5 points at -135 on BetMGM.
The last Waterdogs player I’m looking at is Connor Kelly. Kelly has been largely hit or miss this season, but has a knack for coming up big in the postseason. Kelly has had at least two points in 5 of 9 games this season and 14 of his last 22 games. He was also tied for the league lead in two-point goals this season with five despite playing in just nine games and has the most two-point goals over the past two seasons with seven — 1.5 is just too low of a line for a player who could cash his points prop with one shot. Bet Kelly to go over 1.5 points (-125 on Caesars) this weekend.
As for the Archers, I’m looking at attackman/midfielder/short-stick defender Tre Leclaire. Despite his various roles from game to game, he’s had at least two points in 8 of 11 games this season, including four points in the first game against Archers and two in the second meeting.
While I expect Grant Ament to start on attack with Fields out of the lineup, I wouldn’t rule out Leclaire getting some runs at attack, especially if another do-it-all midfielder Reid Bowering gets called up to fill Fields’ roster spot. Even if Leclaire stays at midfield, his ability to push the ball in transition should lead to a healthy amount of opportunities to shoot or assist. Bet Tre Leclaire to go over 1.5 points at -146 on FanDuel.
Finally, after giving out four straight over props, you’re ready to read the under that I like in this game. Hold on tight, because we’re fading the 2023 PLL MVP in the championship game.
Schreiber has stayed under 4.5 points in 8 of 11 games this season and 17 of his last 23 games. There’s no doubt that Tom Schreiber can do it all and he’s still going to demand the attention of the defense even if Fields is in the lineup. But if Fields is out, even more attention shifts to Schreiber. Waterdogs were burned by Schreiber in the first game thanks to his three goals (one a two-pointer) and two assists, and they responded by locking on to Schreiber and holding him to just one assist and 0-of-5 shooting in the second matchup. It won’t be easy keeping Schreiber off the stat sheet, but 4.5 points is too high for a player who’s only surpassed that number three times this season and six of his last 23 games. Don’t fear the juice and bet the Waterdogs defense to keep Schreiber under 4.5 points (-194 on FanDuel) in the championship.
Picks: Michael Sowers Over 4.5 SOG, Ethan Walker Over 2.5 Points, Connor Kelly Over 1.5 Points, Tre Leclaire Over 1.5 Points, Schreiber Under 4.5 Points
Saved the Best PLL Bet for Last
Now it's time for my final and favorite bet of the weekend. I don't think I've ever given out a bet that has moved from its opening price as much as this one, but the value on a certain game prop is still too good to pass up.
Stop reading this article and go bet the Archers to record more groundballs than Waterdogs at -240 … or whatever number is available.
Now that you're back, I'll explain why that was the easiest bet you could make this Sunday.
Since adopting the "concede and defend" faceoff strategy, the Waterdogs have NEVER recorded more groundballs against a team that is starting a faceoff specialist.
In these teams' past two meetings, Archers have recorded 55 and 50 groundballs to Waterdogs 31 and 30 respectively.
This line opened at -155 before getting bet down to -240 on DraftKings, but I'd still bet it at that number. The Waterdogs would need to win nearly every groundball to match the number that Mike Sisselberger will win off the faceoff. The chances of this happening are way less than the implied probability of 29%. Waterdogs only lost by a goal in the first matchup and won the second despite losing more than 62% of the groundballs. They're not going to abandon the faceoff strategy that has served them well all season.
If for some reason you're still not convinced, here is a football analogy: betting the Archers to record more groundballs is like betting on the team with a kicker on their roster to make more extra points and field goals than a team that didn't even dress a kicker — and even then that edge likely isn't as good as the one on this PLL prop.
Pick: Archers to Record Most Groundballs