National Lacrosse League Betting Odds & Picks: NLL Week 6 Bets for Saturday
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 16: Nick Damude #39 of the Panther City Lacrosse Club takes a break during a stop in play in the first quarter of the Las Vegas Desert Dogs’ inaugural regular-season home opener at Michelob ULTRA Arena on December 16, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Panther City defeated the Desert Dogs 9-3. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for National Lacrosse League)
We have a jammed-pack National Lacrosse League slate with 12 teams in action on Saturday. Last night, we kicked off the weekend with a Wings cover against the Desert Dogs, bringing my 2022-23 NLL record to 12-5 (+7.2 units). So, let’s take a look at the bets I like Saturday night.
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 lacrosse for some tips to use when placing a lacrosse bet.
Georgia Swarm vs. Buffalo Bandits (-1.5)
|Las Vegas Odds||+160|
|Time||Saturday, 7p.m. ET|
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
The Buffalo Bandits head to Georgia to face the Swarm as heavy favorites on the moneyline. While this will only be Georgia’s third game this season, it already feels like a must-win given how competitive the East Conference is this season.
The Georgia Swarm will always be competitive as long as Lyle Thompson is on the floor, but he can only do so much. While the Swarm offense still has plenty of pieces to be dangerous, their defense hasn’t instilled a lot of confidence through its first two games. Craig Wende has allowed an average of 13.72 goals per game and his 73% save percentage is third worst among starters in the league. The Swarm will likely need to win in a shootout against the Bandits—which is no small task considering the weapons Buffalo has.
The Bandits may not be getting the same amount of love as the San Diego Seals — the only team with shorter championship odds — but they’ve bounced back nicely from their Week 1 loss to the Albany FireWolves. Since their 0-1 start, they’ve recorded multi-goal wins against two East Conference foes and fellow title contenders in the Toronto Rock and Halifax Thunderbirds. They have the firepower on offense to hang with the best, even in the wake of Chris Cloutier’s injury. When eight-time goaltender of the year Matt Vinc is on his game, they can beat anybody.
That’s why we’re seeing all but one sportsbook make the Bandits 2.5-point favorites on Saturday night. However, Caesars Sportsbook is offering the Bandits at -1.5 at the very reasonable price of -130. I don’t think betting Buffalo -2.5 is that bad of a play considering the matchup (though 2.5-point favorites have historically only covered 41% of the time), but at its current price, Bandits -1.5 is one of my favorite bets of the night.
Pick: Buffalo Bandits -1.5
Rochester Knighthawks (-1.5) vs. Panther City Lacrosse Club
|Panther City Odds||+155|
|Time||Saturday, 7 p.m. ET|
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
This game features some late additions to my betting card. No team has been hotter than the undefeated Rochester Knighthawks, whose championship odds went from as long as +5000 before the season to +1800. A lot of their success has come from offseason trade acquisition Connor Fields, who has contributed on 25 of Rochester’s 41 points this season and leads the league in points.
Unfortunately for Rochester, it’ll be without Fields in its matchup with Panther City on Saturday. It’s rare that a single NLL player’s absence can have such a large impact on my handicap of a game, but Fields is a player who has had a huge impact on Rochester’s success. According to LaxMetrics.com, Fields ranks sixth in WAR — a new metric for lacrosse fans, but one that underlines his impact to his team.
On the flipside, Panther City has looked like a team that can hang with anybody. While their only wins have come against an 0-3 Las Vegas, their two losses arguably tell us even more about Tracey Kelusky’s squad. Panther City only lost to the defending champions 12-9 in their second game of that weekend and managed to cover the 2.5-point spread in an 11-9 loss to the Saskatchewan Rush. I’m not ready to crown them a playoff contender just yet, but they’ve picked up where they left off last year and are going to be a good team to back as underdogs.
That’s why I’m betting Panther City +1.5 (+110 on DraftKings) tonight and wouldn’t be surprised if they even win outright in Rochester. The key will be the play of Panther City goaltender Nick Damude, who boasts the second-lowest goals against average among starters (9.06), and held a Rush offense that put up 18 points in Week 1 to just 11 points last week.
The presence of Damude paired with Knighthawks netminder Rylan Hartley (tied for second best save percentage at 80%) is also why I like a bet on the under at 23.5 (-120 on Caesars). I think this game could be low-scoring, which would help Panther City cover, and think 23.5 is an overreaction to some high totals through the first five weeks of the season. However, if you only have a 22.5 available at your sportsbook, I’d be inclined to pass on the total.
Pick: Panther City +1.5, Under 23.5
New York Riptide vs. Toronto Rock (-1.5)
|New York Odds||+160|
|Time||Saturday, 7 p.m. ET|
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
The New York Riptide’s battle with the Toronto Rock already feels like it has playoff implications. Toronto is favored by 1.5 points, despite failing to cover in both matchups last year and even losing the first meeting outright. The total sits at 24.5 on most sportsbooks, but Caesars is offering a 23.5 at even money.
The Rock have looked like a shell of the team that defeated the Vancouver Warriors 19-8 to open the season, and while I still think it’s too early to press the panic button, this Riptide team could give them trouble in transition much like Rochester did in Week 2. Nick Rose has done his part through the past three games, holding teams to an average of 10 goals per game, but whether the offense can do enough to pull away from a pesky Riptide team remains to be seen.
While it sounds counterintuitive, I think the Riptide’s best chance at covering and potentially winning is to score early and often. While Toronto is certainly built to get into a fast-paced shootout, that type of game will benefit New York. The Riptide will also be getting some help on offense in the form of Callum Crawford and Tyler Digby, who will return to the lineup on Saturday. New York is live to win this game, but I recommend the safer bet of Riptide +1.5 at +105 on DraftKings.
While Crawford and Digby are big additions for the Riptide, New York defender Dan MacRae will miss his third straight game, which obviously doesn’t help the Riptide, but does help this game potentially go over the total. I think this game could end up being high-scoring and think over 23.5 (+100 on Caesars) is also worth a wager.
Pick: New York Riptide +1.5, Over 23.5
Colorado Mammoth (-1.5) vs. Calgary Roughnecks
|Time||Saturday, 10 p.m. ET|
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
In Denver, the Colorado Mammoth will be raising their 2022 NLL Championship banner, while the visiting 1.5-point Calgary Roughnecks will be looking to play spoiler. The total varies across sportsbooks, with some offering as high as 23.5.
While it’s still early to be nervous about this team’s playoff chances, the Mammoth appear to be a tier below the San Diego Seals and Saskatchewan Rush, which leaves Colorado, Calgary and Panther City fighting for potentially the last spot in the West if an East team claims the wild card spot. I have not been impressed with what I’ve seen from the Mammoth in their first two games and the offense appears broken even considering Ryan Lee’s absence. Unfortunately for them, they’re facing a Roughnecks defense led by Christian Del Bianco, who is tied for second in save percentage among starters.
Yet, who else is tied with an 80% save percentage? Mammoth goalie and 2022 NLL Finals MVP Dillon Ward. Ward had a rough Week 1, but managed to bounce back with a 48-save performance against Panther City. This goaltender duel could be the best we see all weekend and it’s why I like betting this game to stay under 23.5.
Goals should be at a premium against this netminder and I think we should see a relatively slower paced game. Bet under 23.5 on DraftKings at -130.
Pick: Under 23.5
San Diego Seals (-1.5) vs. Vancouver Warriors
|San Diego Odds||-300|
|Time||Saturday, 10p.m. ET|
Odds via BetMGM.
Also out west is a showdown between the winless Warriors and undefeated Seals. The Seals are 2.5-point favorites at most sportsbooks, but BetMGM is currently offering a -1.5.
Any way you slice it, the Warriors have been bad. They’re 0-3 and have a league-worst goal differential of -22. Furthermore, they just released veteran goaltender Steve Fryer, who may have not played great in their first three games, but wasn’t necessarily the problem either. While the Warriors have had a lot of success historically against San Diego, defeating them in two of three games last season, they opted to let last year’s goaltender Alex Buque walk in free agency (and he now leads the league in lowest goals against average with 8.84).
On the flip side, the Seals look like an entirely better beast this season, ranking second in goals for with 45 in three games. Much like the Bandits’ matchup, this is another great spot to back a short favorite, even if the spread is juiced at -145. I expect the Seals to dismantle the Warriors en route to a multi-goal victory and would bet Seals -1.5 on BetMGM.
While I’d be comfortable betting -2.5, I’d rather lay the juice to get the better number considering that San Diego has only covered -1.5 once in their past three games, albeit against much tougher opponents.
Pick: San Diego Seals -1.5 (Bet down to -155)