2024 College Lacrosse Championship Mid-Season Predictions: NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Title Futures to Bet Now

2024 College Lacrosse Championship Mid-Season Predictions: NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Title Futures to Bet Now article feature image

FOXBOROUGH, MA – MAY 29: The NCAA Men’s Division 1 National Championship trophy on the Gillette Stadium turf before the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Championship between the Ohio State University Buckeyes and the University of Maryland Terrapins on May 29, 2017, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The 2024 NCAA men’s lacrosse season is now past it's mid-point and plenty of teams are vying for pivotal conference wins.

But what does it take to be a college lacrosse championship contender?

I look at final four teams from the past four seasons, examine which current top 10 teams meet the "championship" standard and give title futures to bet now!

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.

What Is Needed to be a National Championship Contender?

Before I dive into which teams to bet, wait to bet or pass on in regards to 2024 NCAA men’s lacrosse national championship odds, let’s take a look at some recent Final Four teams and see what they have in common by using data from Lacrosse Reference.

TeamAdj. Off. EfficiencyAdj. Def. EfficiencyNet EfficiencyAdj. Faceoff %
2023 Notre Dame (Winner)40.1% (2nd)20.6% (1st)19.5%52.1% (32nd)
2023 Duke (Runner-Up)37.5% (5th)25.8% (8th)11.7%62.3% (4th)
2023 Penn State35.3% (11th)24.6% (4th)10.7%49.5% (40th)
2023 Virginia41.9% (1st)26.6% (13th)15.3%57.4% (13th)
2022 Maryland (Winner)41.9% (1st)21.3% (1st)20.6%67.3% (1st)
2022 Cornell (Runner-Up)34.9% (11th)26.3% (13th)8.6%50.2% (36th)
2022 Princeton37.6% (4th)25.7% (9th)11.9%52.8% (27th)
2022 Rutgers36.1% (8th)25% (7th)11.1%48.2% (41st)
2021 Virginia (Winner)36.7% (5th)28.1% (20th)8.6%65.1% (7th)
2021 Maryland (Runner-Up)40.7% (2nd)24.8% (6th)15.9%51.9% (27th)
2021 Duke36.6% (7th)24.6% (5th)12.0%62.2% (11th)
2021 North Carolina41.3% (1st)27.2% (15th)14.1%58.7% (14th)
2019 Virginia (Winner)36.0% (7th)27.3% (16th)8.7%59.8% (16th)
2019 Yale (Runner-Up)35.5% (9th)29.8% (33rd)5.7%78.3% (1st)
2019 Penn State43.4% (1st)28% (22nd)15.4%60.8% (12th)
2019 Duke34.0% (T-12th)25.3% (3rd)8.7%53.8% (28th)

Since 2019—when the shot clock was first introduced in NCAA men’s lacrosse—all four champions have finished the season with both an Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Efficiency ranking in the Top 20. Additionally, three of the four runner-ups have also boasted an Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Efficiency ranking in the Top 20. 2019 runner-up Yale is the only team that did not meet this standard thanks to their 33rd-ranked defense.

Additionally, all but one Final Four team during those four seasons has ranked in the Top 10 in at least one efficiency category, with 2022 Cornell being the only exception thanks to an 11th-ranked offense and 13th-ranked defense—still very impressive marks.

During that same span, every Final Four team but one has had a Net Adjusted Efficiency (Adjusted Offensive Efficiency subtracted by Adjusted Defensive Efficiency) higher than +8.5%. The lone team below was the aforementioned 2019 Yale, who overcame their mediocre +5.7% Net Adjusted Efficiency thanks to faceoff specialist TD Ierlan and an Adjusted Faceoff Percentage of 78.3%.

In relation to recent rule changes to the faceoff, no team since 2021 Lehigh has finished with higher than an Adjusted Faceoff Percentage of 72%. It’s highly unlikely that we see another team like 2019 Yale make it to the title game in this era.

A high Adjusted Faceoff Percentage has helped teams like 2019 Yale overcome large inefficiencies on either offense or defense en route to the Final Four, but this is not a great predictor of a Final Four run, particularly given the current parity at the faceoff in 2024.

2024 teams currently in the top 20 that don’t meet the +8.5% Net Efficiency threshold are Army (+6.2%), Cornell (+8.2%), Penn (+5.7%), Maryland (+8.4%), Michigan (+4.9%), Towson (+5.7%), St. Joe’s (+4.1%) and Yale (+4.8%). So ultimately, when determining if teams are championship contenders, we should look at their Offensive and Defensive Efficiency metrics and their Net Efficiency as a whole.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the current Top 10 teams according to the Inside Lacrosse media poll and their championship potential.

TeamAdj. Off. EfficiencyAdj. Def. EfficiencyNet EfficiencyAdj. Faceoff %
No. 1 Notre Dame43.8%23.6%20.2%62.9%
No. 2 Virginia36.8%25.6%11.2%56.8%
No. 3 Duke40.3%21.8%18.5%59.4%
No. 4 Syracuse38.7%23.3%15.4%64.7%
No. 5 Army36.1%29.9%6.2%61.0%
No. 6 Maryland33.7%25.3%8.4%61.6%
No. 7 Johns Hopkins36.8%25.8%11.0%53.6%
No. 8 Penn State36.6%24.2%12.4%48.2%
No. 9 Georgetown36.6%27.3%9.3%58.2%
No. 10 Yale36.9%32.1%4.8%67.3%
No. 11 Denver34.5%25.6%8.9%64.4%
No. 12 Penn29.4%23.7%5.7%46.9%
No. 13 Cornell40.5%32.3%8.2%53.1%
No. 14 Princeton34.1%22.9%11.2%53.0%
No. 15 Michigan35.5%30.6%4.9%63.0%
No. 16 Boston U33.5%24.6%8.9%47.5%
No. 17 Harvard38.0%28.4%9.6%46.6%
No. 18 Towson33.0%27.3%5.7%58.7%
No. 19 Richmond35.4%22.8%12.6%52.1%
No. 20 St. Joe's33.8%29.7%4.1%47.1%

2024 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Title Futures: Bet, Wait or Pass

No. 1 Notre Dame: Bet

Longest Available Odds: +400 on FanDuel

If you haven’t already bet Notre Dame, now might be the time to do so. The defending champions haven’t seen much movement to their odds, opening no longer than +500 in January and never getting longer than that even after their upset loss to Georgetown.

At +400 with a game against Duke on the horizon, their odds will likely only get shorter. If Notre Dame beats Duke, their odds could drop to +350 or shorter, whereas a close Fighting Irish loss to the Blue Devils would likely keep them at around +400.

So, are the defending champions worth betting at this short price?

Notre Dame is still the best team in college lacrosse by my estimation, and their efficiency metrics back that up. Notre Dame ranks first in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency at 43.8%, and their Defensive Efficiency of 23.6% ranks fifth in the nation.

If you haven’t bet the Irish yet, now is the time to do so, even at +400.

No. 2 Virginia: Wait

Longest Available Odds: +450 on FanDuel

If you consider Virginia in the same tier as Notre Dame and Duke, then now could be the time to bet the Cavaliers. Yet, I’m not buying the Wahoos at these odds. Virginia checks the necessary boxes as a contender. They rank 13th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, seventh in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency and have the 17th-ranked Adjusted Faceoff Percentage.

Yet, their odds are far too short to bet right now.

The Cavaliers have what it takes to make it back to Memorial Day Weekend, but you’re better off waiting until after they play (and likely lose to) Duke and Notre Dame before betting their championship odds. If I’m wrong and they are able to beat Duke and/or Notre Dame, then their odds likely won’t be much shorter than they already are.

No. 3 Duke: Bet

Longest Available Odds: +425 on DraftKings

Unlike Notre Dame, Duke’s odds likely could get longer if they lose their third game of the season. Yet, I think there’s a great chance that the Blue Devils beat the Irish on Sunday as I believe this is the best buy-low spot for the Blue Devils. Duke hasn’t looked as dominant as it did entering the season and nearly lost to Boston outright as a 6.5-point favorite.

However, their schedule has been filled with tough opponents, and their efficiency metrics suggest this team is still just as good as advertised.

No. 4 Syracuse: Bet

Longest Available Odds: +1200 on FanDuel

My favorite bet on the board is Syracuse at +1200. The Orange’s win over the Blue Devils was a departure from their earlier wins this season. Syracuse had proven it could win with big offensive performances paired with dominance at the faceoff. Yet, its losses to Maryland and Army and even the win over Hopkins raised concerns about the defense.

The Orange's win over Duke proved their defense could put together an elite performance against a highly efficient offense, and even their 14-12 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday included a strong defensive effort. The Orange finished with an Adjusted Defensive Efficiency of 21.8%, which is better than their season average of 23.3% that ranks fourth in the nation.

With the addition of Mason Kohn this season, Syracuse boasts the second-highest Adjusted Faceoff Percentage and has all the pieces to go on a deep playoff run. Bet the Orange now at +1200.

No. 5 Army: Pass

Longest Available Odds: +1600 on DraftKings/FanDuel

Are we sure Army is even the best team in the Patriot League?

The Black Knights enjoyed the top spot in the media poll for a couple weeks before losing to Patriot League rival Boston U. Yet, their fall from grace was somewhat inevitable given their defense, which ranks 42nd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

As a result, Army did make a goalie change by opting to start Sean Byrne over Matt Chess against North Carolina, and Byrne did make some big stops. However, Army’s defensive woes go beyond goaltending.

While Army still boasts the eighth-most efficient offense and faceoff unit, their concerns on defense are real, and their strength of record makes their 8-1 start less impressive. Furthermore, their Net Efficiency of +6.2% currently keeps them out of “contender” status. With odds no longer than +1600, you’re better off passing on any Army futures.

No. 6 Maryland: Wait

Longest Available Odds: +1200 on FanDuel

While the Terps secured a pivotal 13-11 win over Penn State on Sunday night, their odds are still fairly short for a team that hasn’t exuded championship prowess all that much this season. Maryland’s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency of 33.7% ranks 18th, and their Adjusted Defensive Efficiency is 10th at 25.3%.

With a Net Efficiency of +8.4%, they are hovering around contender status based on our criteria, but they are not a great bet at this time with a few tough Big Ten matchups on the horizon.

Even if they do continue to build momentum, the premium at which the sportsbooks will likely continue to price Maryland’s future odds may prevent them from ever being a great futures bet. Wait for now, and if the Terps do continue to play well, consider betting them against the spread game-by-game before betting a title future on them.

No. 7 Johns Hopkins: Bet

Longest Available Odds: +1400 on DraftKings

While Syracuse is my favorite bet in the championship futures market, Johns Hopkins at +1400 is a close second. Johns Hopkins is incredibly balanced with an Adjusted Offensive Efficiency ranking seventh, an Adjusted Defensive Efficiency ranking 14th and an Adjusted Faceoff Percentage ranking 24th.

As of right now, they should be favored ahead of Maryland and Penn State in the Big Ten and have the best chance at a title run among the three right now.

Their loss to rival Navy tainted their resume, but they still have an impressive win over Virginia, outplayed Syracuse despite the loss and have the ability to run the table in the Big Ten. At +1400, now is the time to bet the Blue Jays before their pivotal game with the Nittany Lions.

No. 8 Penn State: Wait

Longest Available Odds: +1400 on Caesars

Hopefully you bet Penn State at +1600 back in January when I gave it out as my favorite preseason title future. If you didn’t, you’re better off waiting until after the Penn State-Hopkins game.

Despite me being high on Hopkins, Penn State still has a great chance at a Big Ten title thanks to their eighth-ranked offense and ninth-ranked defense. Furthermore, their +12.4% Net Efficiency ranks fifth among Top 20 teams.

Yet, their 41st-ranked Adjusted Faceoff Percentage is a concern, and that was made evident in their blown lead and eventual loss to Maryland. The Nittany Lions are likely a team I’ll still want to buy into, but you’re better off waiting until after this weekend.

No. 9 Georgetown: Wait

Longest Available Odds: +2500 on FanDuel

Georgetown is flying under the radar after a slow start, but the Hoyas currently rank 10th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, 21st in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency and 15th in Adjusted Faceoff Percentage. The Georgetown win over Notre Dame was no fluke, and the Hoyas could have the pieces for a Final Four run.

At +2500, I wouldn’t fault anyone for betting the Hoyas at this price. This is one of the situations where you risk getting a worse price if they beat Denver, but their matchup with the Pios could be very telling, and the reward of seeing how they play that game could be worth the risk of getting a shorter price after.

Right now, I recommend waiting before buying into Georgetown, but keep the Hoyas on your radar as a team that could be a Final Four dark horse if they continue to play well.

No. 10 Yale: Pass

Longest Available Odds: +1600 on Caesars/FanDuel

Yale once again is being powered by an elite offense and strong faceoff unit that can mask its issues on defense. However, of the five Ivy League schools in the top 20, their Net Efficiency of +4.8% ranks the worst. While we saw previous Yale Bulldogs teams go on Final Four runs despite a below average defense, the impact of their faceoff advantage is not nearly what it was during their 2018 and 2019 playoff runs.

Their defense currently ranks 63rd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency during competitive situations and will likely continue to be this team’s Achilles heel. At +1600, there’s no value right now in betting Yale to go on a championship run in 2024.

Rest of the Ivy League: Pass

Of the four other Ivy League teams in the top 20, only Princeton (+3500 at Caesars) and Harvard (+7500 at FanDuel) meet the +8.5% Net Efficiency threshold. With that said, Harvard is not a viable betting option right now considering that the Crimson could still potentially not qualify for the four-team Ivy League tournament.

Princeton is in better shape, but along with Harvard, its resume will likely not be strong enough to earn an at-large bid without winning the Ivy League tournament.

Cornell (+3000 at bet365) and Penn (+3000 at DraftKings) are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Cornell ranks second in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, but 55th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency and is facing off at just barely above 50%. Penn ranks third in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, but is 43rd in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and has an Adjusted Faceoff Percentage of 47%.

Both have the ability to pull off upsets, but history says they’re not true contenders given their shortcomings and are even worse bets given their shorter odds.

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