National Lacrosse League Betting Odds & Picks: NLL Week 8
Photo courtesy of Jaclyn McKee/National Lacrosse League
The National Lacrosse League’s Week 8 slate features four matchups and I’m eyeing a bet on the total in each game. My 2022-23 NLL record is 18-11 (+7.05 units), so let’s try to add to that with five bets this weekend.
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Rochester Knighthawks vs. Buffalo Bandits (-1.5)
|Time||Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET|
Odds via bet365.
The biggest matchup of the weekend features upstate New York rivals in the undefeated Rochester Knighthawks and last year’s East Conference champion Buffalo Bandits. Despite owning the best record in the league, the Knighthawks enter as 1.5-point underdogs and the total ranges from 23.5 to 24.5.
These offenses have the ability to put up points, but I think this total is inflated. Both defenses rank in the top three in goals against among teams that have played five games and I think both Buffalo and Rochester will sit in and play a compact defense and let their goalies stop outside shots. While Rochester will have to keep its eye on Josh Byrne, who’s both a threat from range as well as off the pick, I think it’ll be able to force the Bandits to take tough shots.
Additionally, both netminders have been at the top of their games, with Rylan Hartley and Matt Vinc both stopping 80% of the shots they’ve faced. Hartley and Vinc have also played well this season against potent offenses, with both holding the Toronto Rock to eight or fewer points. They’re also averaging a goals against average of less than 10 through five games.
Bet this total to stay under 24.5 (bet365), sit back and enjoy a fierce Friday night battle in upstate New York.
Pick: Under 24.5
Las Vegas Desert Dogs vs. Vancouver Warriors (-1.5)
|Las Vegas Odds||+110|
|Time||Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET|
Odds via bet365.
Last week’s game between the Warriors and Desert Dogs was one of the highest-scoring affairs of the season, with Vancouver finishing on top, 19-16. With 35-combined goals being scored in these teams’ first meeting, it was surprising to see a sportsbook post a 22.5 total for the rematch this week.
Unfortunately for both Vegas and Vancouver, their seasons already appear over as they sit firmly in the basement of the West Conference. While both teams have struggled to put up points in their previous matchups, neither had played an opponent at the same caliber as themselves until last week. Both teams had to face defenses that were out of their league, so an offensive explosion when these two teams first met probably shouldn’t have been so surprising. So, is now the time to bet this total to soar over again? Or will these teams come back down to earth?
History shows us that the second game between teams facing each other in consecutive matchups tends to be lower scoring than the first, with teams scoring an average of 4.5 less goals in the second game. And while I would be surprised to see this game reach 30+ points again this week, 22.5 is still too low of a total for two comparable teams that have finally been able to face bottom tier defenses.
Neither defense played well both young goaltenders were forced to see far too many point-blank shots last week — a trend that could continue this week. Furthermore, both teams love to push transition and, ironically, have struggled to defend breakaway situations, which is also why we saw so many goals last week. While I think both defenses will make some adjustments, we should be in for another shootout and I like betting the total to go over 22.5 (-115 on bet365).
Pick: Over 22.5
Philadelphia Wings vs. Toronto Rock (-1.5)
|Time||Saturday, 1 p.m. ET|
Odds via bet365.
The Toronto Rock travel to Philadelphia riding a two-game win streak. Meanwhile, the Wings look to get back in the win column and keep pace in a crowded East Conference. Both teams have had their ups and downs this season so it will be interesting to see which teams show up on Saturday afternoon.
Toronto is 3-2, but its only losses are to the top two teams in the East — Buffalo and Rochester. Nick Rose has played really well in all five games and is tied for first in save percentage at 82%. Furthermore, the Rock offense is finally starting to find its groove and is playing a Philly defense prone to giving up transition goals.
On the flipside, Philly’s offense is surprisingly ranked second in net rating despite failing to look like a true championship contender through seven weeks. While the team has struggled to put together complete games, it has the offensive pieces to at least pressure Rose and this Toronto defense. The real question is whether it can overcome frequent defensive lapses during substitutions and get stops against a Rock offense with an equal amount of offensive weapons.
I expect these offenses to play fast early on and think 22.5 is too low for teams with this much firepower. However, I think the Rock have the depth to eventually outlast the Wings and win by a comfortable margin — something they’ve been able to do in all three of their wins.
Bet this game to go over 22.5 (-130 on bet365) and the Toronto Rock to cover the 1.5-point spread (-135 on bet365) on Saturday afternoon.
Pick: Over 22.5, Toronto Rock -1.5
Albany FireWolves (-1.5) vs. New York Riptide
|Time||Saturday, 7 p.m. ET|
Odds via BetMGM.
Neither Albany nor New York entered with very high expectations given the competition in the East, yet the FireWolves have managed to surprise many with their young squad, while the Riptide have underperformed even by their standards.
The Riptide’s 0-4 record led to the dismissal of general manager Jim Veltman, as well as some big trades with Panther City, which sent forwards Jake Fox and franchise-leading scorer Callum Crawford down South in exchange for defender Chad Cummings and a handful of prospects and draft picks. While it’s still too early to tell if New York has completely thrown in the towel on its season, the offense will look a tad different when it faces Albany.
The FireWolves on the other hand are coming off a big upset over Halifax, despite missing top forward Connor Kelly last week. The FireWolves have managed to stay in the mix in the East, thanks in large part to stellar goaltending, particularly from Doug Jamieson. Jamieson ranks third in save percentage (81%), which is just below Nick Rose and 2022 NLL Finals MVP Dillon Ward.
On the other side, Riptide netminder Steve Orleman played surprisingly well between the pipes last week, stopping 78% of shots from the top-ranked Knighthawks. He also had some help from the newly-acquired Cummings. The Riptide’s losses on offense are concerning when you consider that Fox and Crawford contributed on 14 of their 40 points (35%), despite both playing in only three games for the Riptide.
Now there were also some defensive personnel moves this week for both teams, with the Firewolves trading defender Adam Bomberry to Buffalo. They then ended up swapping defender Curtis Conley and a draft pick for Riptide defender Leo Stouros. I don’t think any of the moves should significantly hamper either defense, with Stouros and Conley both still expected to play in Saturday’s game.
Ultimately, I think both defenses come out strong and while I lean toward Albany to get the win and cover, I’d rather bet on both these teams to keep this total low. Bet this total to stay under 24.5 goals (-115 on BetMGM) in Albany.
Pick: Under 24.5