National Lacrosse League Picks: NLL Week 13 Best Bets (Saturday, Feb. 24)

National Lacrosse League Picks: NLL Week 13 Best Bets (Saturday, Feb. 24) article feature image

Christian Bender/NLL. Pictured: NLL regular-season game action between the Buffalo Bandits and the Toronto Rock on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024 at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.

There are five more National Lacrosse League games on Saturday, and I have best bets for three of the games.

We have two games taking place in Upstate New York and I’m betting the total in each of them. Then, I’m also betting a player’s goals prop in the Halifax-Saskatchewan matchup.

Let’s take a look at my three picks for Saturday in the NLL.

If you’re an avid bettor who’s new to lacrosse or a lacrosse fan who’s new to betting, check outmy guide on how to bet on lacrosse for some tips to use when placing a lacrosse bet.

Rochester Knighthawks vs. Las Vegas Desert Dogs

Rochester (-2.5) Odds-250
Las Vegas (+2.5) Odds+175
TimeSaturday · 7 p.m. ET

Odds via ESPN Bet

The Knighthawks host the Desert Dogs on Saturday night with Rochester looking to snap a five-game win streak after starting the season 3-0. The Knighthawks are 2.5-point favorites, but I’d rather bet the total of 23.5 than lay the points with Rochester.

Rochester's glaring weakness this season is a defense that hasn’t held a team to fewer than 11 goals all season. Its goals against average is a league-worst 14 per game, and it entered this weekend allowing the highest opposing shooting percentage of 20.4%, according to LaxMetrics.

Las Vegas hasn’t been much better, allowing an average of 12.6 goals per game, but it's been notably less consistent. It held Albany to six goals, a season-low for Vegas, but allowed a league-high 21 goals in its game against Panther City the week before that.

In this game, I expect the Desert Dogs defense to struggle to keep the Knighthawks under its season average of 13 goals.

The Knighthawks offense plays fast and leads the league in shots on goal per game with an average of 57.4. They have yet to score at least 12 goals in all but one game this season and should be able to put up 12-plus on a Las Vegas defense that's allowing goals on 18.8% of shots — the fifth-worst mark in the NLL right now.

All but one of Rochester’s games have gone over 23.5, and games featuring Rochester have an average total of 27 goals.

Bet this total to go over 23.5 as well at -115 at DraftKings or ESPN Bet.

Pick: Over 23.5

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Buffalo Bandits vs. Albany FireWolves

Buffalo (-1.5) Odds-190
Albany (+1.5) Odds+145
TimeSaturday · 7:30 p.m. ET

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

The total for the Buffalo Bandits’ second meeting with the Albany FireWolves is also set at 23.5 and I am betting this game to also go over that mark.

Similar to Rochester, Buffalo’s offense has been producing, but a struggling defense has weighed down the team as a whole.

Buffalo has scored at least 12 goals in all but one game this season, averaging 12.9 goals per game — the third-highest mark in the NLL.

Meanwhile, its defense has allowed 12.6 goals per game and allows goals on a slightly below-average rate of 18.1%, according to LaxMetrics.

Six of Buffalo’s nine games have gone over 23.5, including its last five. Its first meeting with Albany earlier this season saw a total of 30 goals scored.

Albany has seen fewer games surpass 23.5, with only three of its nine games seeing 24 or more goals scored, but I still have concerns with its defense. Albany’s defensive shooting percentage is even worse than Buffalo's, allowing goals on 18.8% of shots — fifth-worst in the NLL.

Doug Jamieson leads all starters in saves per 60 minutes with 49.6 and save percentage at 82.5%. However, his 10.5 goals against average, while still very good, suggests this defense isn’t doing a great job of limiting the amount of shots he faces.

He’ll face a Buffalo offense that averages the fourth-highest shots per game with 53.6 and scored 13 goals on just 45 shots in their previous meeting.

While Albany’s offense has cooled off as of late, it has the firepower to expose this Buffalo defense. Ultimately, I don’t think this total is high enough for these two teams. Bet over 23.5 at -115 at DraftKings or ESPN Bet.

Pick: Over 23.5

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Saskatchewan Rush vs. Halifax Thunderbirds

Saskatchewan (+1.5) Odds+140
Halifax (-1.5) Odds-190
TimeSaturday · 8 p.m. ET

Odds via bet365

Another rematch on Saturday features the Saskatchewan Rush hosting the Halifax Thunderbirds.

Halifax is a 1.5-point favorite despite defeating the Rush by five goals in both teams’ season opener. Instead of betting a side or the total, I’m targeting a goals prop for a player who we’ve profited off twice already this season.

Ryan Benesch continues to defy his age and play at a high level, but the sportsbooks have posted inflated points and goal props all season. Once again, his goals prop is set at 2.5 despite scoring only three or more goals in four of his 10 games this season.

He’s also surpassed this mark in only eight of his last 29 games and faces a Rush defense that has allowed an average of just 8.4 goals in its last five games.

While Halifax has more firepower than most of the teams Saskatchewan has faced lately, it also has a lot of mouths to feed and reactivated Randy Staats this week.

At +135 at bet365, this is a great price to bet Benesch to stay under 2.5 goals on Saturday night.

Pick: Ryan Benesch Under 2.5 Goals

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