2024 Premier Lacrosse League Predictions for Every Team: Preseason PLL Win Totals, Top Seed Odds and Playoff Bets

2024 Premier Lacrosse League Predictions for Every Team: Preseason PLL Win Totals, Top Seed Odds and Playoff Bets article feature image

The 2024 Premier Lacrosse League season is a week away and there are a variety of preseason futures available. Whether it’s win totals, No. 1 seed odds or playoff picks, I break down each PLL team ahead of the 2024 season and give my best bets for each club.

Let's take a look at how to bet every PLL team before the start of the season on June 1.

Boston Cannons

No team added more impactful players than the Boston Cannons this season. Not only did Boston land the biggest defensive name in free agency in 2023 PLL Defender of the Year Garrett Epple, they also traded for former Whipsnakes starting defender Bryce Young and versatile midfielder Connor Kirst. Then if those moves weren’t enough, Notre Dame’s all-time points leader Pat Kavanagh fell to them at sixth in the PLL draft.

These moves could be enough to put a team that advanced to the semifinals last season over the top. While the Cannons will have some tough competition in the newly formed Eastern Conference, this team is built to beat anybody this season. While I’d make the Utah Archers slight favorites to win the title again, Boston is a very close second and the current favorite Waterdogs could take a step back under new head coach Bill Tierney as he adjusts to the pro game.

Last year’s high-powered offense led by MVP candidates Asher Nolting and Marcus Holman should be just as lethal and Boston finally has the pieces on defense to slow down opponents. There’s no better time to bet the Cannons to win the 2024 PLL Championship than now at +550 on multiple sportsbooks.

In addition to betting Boston to win it all, I like betting them to surpass their win total of 5.5 wins at +108 on FanDuel. At worst, I could see Boston splitting its games with conference opponents Atlas, Waterdogs and Whipsnakes then potentially losing to the Archers. That still would put them at six wins, which is the floor for this team in my opinion. More than likely, I expect a seven- or eight-win season for Boston and love betting them to go over their win total.

Picks: Boston Cannons Over 5.5 Wins | Boston Cannons to Win 2024 PLL Championship

California Redwoods

The market is down on the California Redwoods, and while their roster did undergo a massive overhaul, I think California may mostly be better for it. The loss of the aforementioned Epple in free agency and defensive leader Eddy Glazener to retirement leave massive holes to fill. Second overall pick in the 2023 PLL Draft Owen Grant can help fill one of those voids on defense, but he’s currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list. That said, he’ll have until the Redwoods’ first game in Week 2 to recover and the Woods also added long poles Chris Fake and Jared Conners in addition to some other depth pieces on defense.

While their defense is a work in progress, the offense could be even better in 2023. Long-time Redwoods players Jules Heningburg and Sergio Perkovic departed in free agency this offseason and Myles Jones was traded midway through last season. Yet, none of those three were playing to their potential on the Redwoods for some time and the additions of Chris Gray, Alex Simmons and rookies Levi Anderson and Garrett Degnon could all end up producing more for California.

So, while I don’t know if the Redwoods should have championship aspirations, I expect them to outperform the market’s current expectations for them.

California currently has the lowest win total at 3.5, but this is too low for a team that finished with six wins last season and arguably has a more favorable schedule. While having to play Utah twice is less than ideal, California’s other two Western Conference opponents in Denver and Carolina are much more favorable than having to face Boston, Maryland or Philadelphia twice. I also think the Redwoods getting a bye for Week 1 could benefit a team with a lot of roster turnover. Ultimately, I think California should be able to get to at least four wins this season. While it’s moved from -110 to -140 on DraftKings, the odds are still good enough to bet California to go over 3.5 wins.

Pick: California Redwoods Over 3.5 Wins

Carolina Chaos

The Carolina Chaos are also in the midst of an overhaul, particularly on offense. With star midfielder and elite passer Dhane Smith and a couple other offensive weapons opting out of this PLL season, Andy Towers decided to shift Carolina’s offensive philosophy from heavy two-man play above the goal line to an offense with Brian Minicus and the aforementioned Heningburg likely the prime initiators from behind the cage, with athletic stretch shooters like Perkovic and Tye Kurtz and two-handed dodgers Shane Knobloch and Eric Dobson up top. While I still expect we’ll see plenty of pick play, this Josh Byrne-led offense will look a lot more similar to its 2019 iteration than the one we saw from 2020 to 2022.

While we’ll need to see how things pans out, I have high expectations for this offense in 2024.

Unlike California, the Chaos are not undergoing a transformation on defense. All of their starters are returning, including four-time goaltender of the year Blaze Riorden. While five of the other PLL defenses will have at least one new starting defender, Carolina’s unit is set and that should give the Chaos an edge at the start of the year.

Additionally, while the Chaos have made the playoffs in all five seasons, they’ve come very close to missing a handful of years, which is why their odds to be one of the six teams that make the playoffs in this eight-team league is only -250. The only other team with worse odds to make the playoffs is California at -245.

The past three seasons, the Chaos have dealt with several key players missing sometimes up to four weeks of the season due to schedule overlap with the National Lacrosse League (professional indoor league) or injuries sustained from that season. With this year’s NLL Finals ending in May, there is no overlap and less players are coming off a grueling NLL season. They’ll also be in a conference with the Utah Archers, a team they’ve beaten in four of their last six meetings including their lone meeting last season. Their other two conference foes are the California Redwoods and Denver Outlaws, teams they should at least split their two games with and could sweep both given some favorable scheduling.

Bet Carolina to make the playoffs at -250 on BetMGM or FanDuel.

Pick: Carolina Chaos to Make the Playoffs

Denver Outlaws

I love what the newly-named Denver Outlaws did in the draft, adding first overall pick Brennan O’Neill along with two more offensive weapons in Graham Bundy and Josh Zawada. Yet, Jake Piseno and Saam Olexo — both long-stick midfielders — were the only defenders they added this offseason to a defense with four players over the age of 30. While an improved offense can shoulder some of the load this season, I’m not convinced we’ll see a night and day turn around from Denver.

So, while I do think they will be more competitive than last season, that’s not asking much. The team formerly known as Chrome won just one game last year and that came nearly a year ago on June 4, 2024. Since that win, this team has lost nine straight with a goal differential of -39.

Furthermore, they are now in a conference with the defending champion Utah Archers, who beat them twice last season by a combined margin of 13, their rivals Carolina Chaos, who beat them by six goals, and a California Redwoods team that may have had an even better roster overhaul.

The addition of O’Neill will certainly do wonders for the Outlaws, but with one fewer team making the postseason this year, Denver could once again be on the outside looking in. A three- or even four-win season will be an improvement, but may not be enough to get into this year's six-team playoff. Given their conference and how the schedule plays out, I think there's still a better than a 31.75% chance this team misses the postseason.

Bet Denver to miss the playoffs at +215 on FanDuel.

Pick: Denver Outlaws to Miss the Playoffs

Maryland Whipsnakes

I think the Maryland Whipsnakes have a lot of upside this season after adding top collegiate defender Ajax Zappitello in the draft and bolstering their offense with potentially the steal of the draft in attackman TJ Malone. While the impact of the faceoff has been diminished, they’ll also have leading faceoff specialist Joe Nardella back this summer. That said, the 2023 PLL season was the first time the Whipsnakes finished below .500, and while I don’t expect that to become a new trend, I don’t see much value in betting Maryland's win total or current playoff futures. 

The main reason for staying away is that they’re in a conference with three teams that have given them trouble recently. I’ve already laid out why the Cannons could be the best team in the league, and while I think the Philadelphia Waterdogs could regress a little, they’ve still been a thorn in the Whipsnakes side. Then there’s the New York Atlas, who beat the Whipsnakes last season and should improve after adding a pair of top-five draft picks.

For now, the best way to bet Maryland is in their first game against a new-look New York Atlas on short rest.

While I expect the Atlas to improve, playing two games against conference opponents in 24 hours is a tough task. We didn’t see doubleheaders create much of an impact either positively or negatively for teams during the 2021 season when the PLL last scheduled them, but teams were getting closer to 48 hours rest during that season. It might also take some time for this Atlas defense to gel with Brett Makar presumably moving down to close defense to replace the now-retired Tucker Durkin and a new starting goalie in the form of either Tim Troutner or rookie Liam Entenmann.

So, to start this season, I like betting a well-coached Whipsnakes team to come out of Week 1 with a win and cover the 1.5-point spread. Bet Maryland Whipsnakes -1.5 at +105 on BetMGM.

Pick: Maryland Whipsnakes -1.5 vs. New York Atlas

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New York Atlas

I just laid out why I’m fading New York in its second game of a Week 1 doubleheader. But is there value on New York from a futures standpoint?

I tried to find an angle on this team, but they still have a lot of unknowns going into the season — which for New York fans has some pros and cons.

This team should be better. They added star Virginia attackman Connor Shellenberger — who likely would have gone first overall in most other drafts — and added him to an offense with former teammates Payton Cormier and Xander Dickson. Oh, and none of those three are even the best attackman on the roster (hint: it's Jeff Teat). The prospect of Teat playing with this unit is what excites me the most, but potentially the most impactful addition is the best goaltender prospect in a long time in Notre Dame’s Liam Entenmann.

Yet, here’s my issue with this team’s start to the season. Entenmann will be playing for a second national championship Monday and missing most of training camp this weekend. While he’ll ultimately claim the starting role, I’d expect to see Tim Troutner potentially start both of New York’s two games in Week 1. With two of their 10 games already occurring in the first week and some tough conference opponents, I’m hesitant to bet their win total or playoff odds.

While I gave out Connor Shellenberger for rookie of the year earlier in the month, I’m not seeing much value on the Atlas elsewhere at this moment. 

As of now, it’s best to pass on betting New York and see how they fare in their first two games.

Philadelphia Waterdogs

With so much parity in the PLL and six of eight teams making the playoffs, it’s tricky to fade teams so early in the season. Yet, there is one team I’m looking to fade and it’s the one that’s appeared in two straight championships and three straight semifinals: the Philadelphia Waterdogs.

This offseason, former head coach Andy Copelan stepped down and one of the most-decorated college coaches of all time in Bill Tierney was hired. While I’ll never doubt Tierney’s ability as a head coach, I do think coaching in the PLL is a different beast and Copelan deserves a ton of credit for the Waterdogs’ success. 

The last three first-year PLL head coaches all lost their first ever game and two of those three finished well below .500. While Philadelphia boasts one of the best rosters in the league, I think they’re being overvalued in the market, particularly in their win total of 5.5. I’ve laid out why the eastern conference should be very competitive when discussing Boston, Maryland and New York. All three have played Philadelphia tight, and if they split their games with each and lose to Utah in Week 1, they’ll already be a game away from staying under their win total.

So, while the Waterdogs could still easily make the postseason, I don’t see any value in betting their playoff, No. 1 seed or championship odds at their current odds-on favorite price. Instead, expect some regression early in Tierney’s tenure and bet them to stay under 5.5 wins at +125 on BetMGM.

Pick: Philadelphia Waterdogs Under 5.5 Wins

Utah Archers

Last but not least is the defending champion Utah Archers. While Utah will have to replace recently retired Matt McMahon and potentially Graeme Hossack on defense — no small task — this team’s coaching staff and veteran leadership should be able to keep the Archers near the top in 2024.

2023 PLL MVP Tom Schreiber still headlines an elite Archers offense and 2023 PLL championship MVP Brett Dobson backstops a Tony Resch defense that has been one of the best for five straight seasons regardless of personnel. The additions of Patrick Shoemay, Mason Woodward and Beau Pederson should all help this defense stay near the top.

As a member of the western conference, Archers will face a Redwoods team that they’ve consistently crushed, rebuilding Outlaws and new-look Chaos twice. There could be four or five wins against those three teams alone, though I expect Carolina to give them two competitive games like usual. The schedule itself is also fairly favorable, with Utah drawing the Waterdogs in Tierney’s first game as head coach and get Redwoods and Outlaws for their doubleheader weekend.

The Archers secured eight wins last season and I think there’s a great chance they get near that and go well over their win total of 5.5 at -139 on FanDuel. Considering the favorable schedule, I also think their odds to claim the No. 1 seed again have value at +400 on DraftKings.

Bet 0.5u on the Archers to earn the No. 1 seed and a full unit to go over 5.5 wins.

Picks: Utah Archers to Earn No. 1 Seed (0.5u) | Utah Archers Over 5.5 Wins

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