National Lacrosse League Betting Odds, Picks: Saturday NLL Week 20 (April 15)
Halifax, Nova Scotia – Mar 03, 2023: National Lacrosse League game between the Halifax Thunderbirds and Buffalo Bandits at the Scotiabank Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Trevor MacMillan/Halifax Thunderbirds)
The 2023 National Lacrosse League season is approaching its end with just three weeks left including this one. The NLL playoff race is at its peak and I have three bets in three different games. Let’s take a look at the side, total and player prop I’m targeting on Saturday.
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Toronto Rock (-3.5) vs. Philadelphia Wings
|Time||Saturday, 7 p.m. ET|
Odds via bet365
The Toronto Rock host the Philadelphia Wings on Saturday night and the game features the largest spread of the weekend, with Toronto a 3,5-point favorite. The game will feature Dan Dawson and Mitch De Snoo’s return to the Toronto lineup and the Rock debut of offseason signing Chris Corbeil. Yet, 3.5 points is too many for a game with playoff implications on the line—especially considering the last meeting between these two teams featured an overtime win by the Wings.
The Rock have been favored in every game this season and are currently 8-8 against the spread. They’ve been a 3.5-point favorite just once before this season, failing to cover in an 11-10 win over the Georgia Swarm. Their previous two games against the Wings feature a 14-5 win in Week 8 and a 10-11 loss in Week 14. This team has been wildly inconsistent, failing to cover against teams like Albany and Georgia, while defeating Buffalo 18-7 last week. While the Toronto Rock are currently the favorites to win the 2023 NLL Finals—and rightly so—this inconsistency is not what you want when backing a 3.5-point favorite against a desperate Wings team.
As for the Wings, they’ve been a completely different team in the back half of the season and the main catalyst has been their acquisition of forward Mitch Jones. Since Jones joined the lineup, the Wings have improved from a 1-6 team to winning five of their last nine games. Jones is averaging more than seven points per game with Philadelphia and recorded seven when the Wings last faced Toronto. Furthermore, since acquiring Jones, the Wings have either won or lost by three goals or less in all but one of their games—a four-goal loss to Halifax.
Philly is in position to secure a playoff spot if they can win their remaining three games and I think they’ll bring their A-game and keep this contest close with a potential win outright even in the cards. Bet Philadelphia to cover the 3.5-point spread (-110 on bet365.)
Pick: Philadelphia Wings +3.5
Albany FireWolves vs. Georgia Swarm (-2.5)
|Time||Saturday, 7 p.m. ET|
Odds via BetMGM.
The Swarm are the hottest team in the NLL, erasing an 0-7 start and winning seven of their last eight games to put themselves in a position to make the postseason. The main catalyst for their success has been rookie goaltender Brett Dobson, whose goals against average of 10.6 and 78% save percentage rank top-six among starters.
While the market has certainly caught up to Georgia, with the Swarm drawing their first -2.5 of the season, I think there’s still some value on betting the total in this game. Can we cash the under in all three matchups between the Albany FireWolves and Georgia Swarm this season? With the total set at 24.5 once again, I certainly think so.
Not only has this Dobson-led Georgia defense managed to hold their last four opponents to 7.75 goals per game, they held Albany to a combined 12 goals in their first two meetings thanks to 20-4 and 9-8 back-to-back victories. Both those games stayed under the 24.5 mark and 10 of the Swarm’s 12 games have stayed under this since Dobson became the starter.
As for Albany, the FireWolves have struggled on offense, managing to average just 8.42 goals per game in their last seven contests. While the Albany defense has been up and down this season as well, 2020 Goaltender of the Year Doug Jamieson has returned to form in their last six games and should be able to keep the Swarm in check enough to keep this total low.
Additionally, the FireWolves will be without their team’s points leader Kieran McArdle for the fourth straight game and while Connor Kelly was able to shoulder the load en route to an Albany victory last week, I don’t think we’ll see an offensive outburst from this depleted FireWolves roster. Bet this total to stay under 24.5 once again (-115 on BetMGM.)
Pick: Under 24.5
Saskatchewan Rush vs. Halifax Thunderbirds (-1.5)
|Time||Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET|
Odds via FanDuel.
The Saskatchewan Rush host the Halifax Thunderbirds with both teams needing a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Thunderbirds enter as 1.5-point favorites, but I’m going to avoid betting a side in what should feel like a playoff game.
After a fairly promising start to the season, the Saskatchewan Rush find themselves in a familiar position to the end of last season—and one that the franchise has been in very few times during their time in Saskatchewan. The Rush are in need of three straight wins to simply improve to 9-9 and keep their playoff hopes alive. Yet, nothing about this team has screamed “playoff run” for weeks and a big question mark for the team has been their defense—particularly goaltending.
Starting netminder Alex Buque got off to a hot start but has been shaky during the second half of the season. Eric Penney hasn’t done much better in relief and is listed as questionable, which means we could see rookie Laine Hruska in net following a brief appearance totalling two and half minutes. The Rush have allowed an average of 13.3 goals in their last seven games, so Halifax should have plenty of opportunities to find the back of the net.
So, rather than play the game total, I’m targeting Thunderbirds forward Randy Staats’ goals prop of 1.5. The over is currently juiced at -150, but this is still a favorable price to bet Staats to record at least two goals on Saturday night. Staats has scored two or more goals in 10 of 14 games this season, making his true odds closer to -250. With Chris Boushy out of the lineup for this game, Staats will likely be relied upon as a goal scorer even more on Saturday and I expect him to be able to find the back of the net at least twice. Bet Staats to go over 1.5 goals (-150 on FanDuel.)
Pick: Randy Staats Over 1.5 Goals (-150)
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