NCAA Lacrosse Betting Odds & Picks: College Lacrosse Rivalry Week Best Bets
COLLEGE PARK, MD – MARCH 06: Eric Malever #4 of the Maryland Terrapins handles the ball against the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays at Maryland Stadium on March 6, 2021 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
It’s officially “Rivalry Week” in NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse. There are a handful of conference rivals meeting this weekend and I have picks for three of the biggest college lacrosse rivalries. Let’s take a look at what I’m betting in Michigan-Ohio State, Army-Navy and Maryland-Hopkins.
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.
Michigan (-1.5) vs. Ohio State
|Ohio State Odds||+105|
|Time||Friday, 8 p.m. ET|
|TV||Big Ten Network|
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
We start in the Big Ten with Michigan vs. Ohio State. Michigan has impressed in its past three Big Ten games — including a 16-11 win over Maryland — and enters this game as a favorite for the first time in its past seven games. The Wolverines are a modest 6-4-1 against the spread this season and face a Buckeyes team that is 4-6-1 ATS.
Michigan has been tough to figure out, but seems to be at the top of its game since entering Big Ten play. Since beating Maryland, the Wolverines were narrowly edged by Rutgers, 12-13, and let Penn State rally late in a 9-11 loss last week. Michigan has had a lot of success in large part due to faceoff specialist Justin Wietfeldt, who has faced off at better than 56% in all four Big Ten matchups and is securing a 63.1% draw percentage (eighth best in the nation.)
In addition to the faceoff advantage, Michigan will also boast a few other edges. Ohio State has the 11th-worst defensive efficiency rating according to Lacrosse Reference, and turns the ball over at the seventh-highest percentage in the nation.
While Michigan has also had its fair share of defensive struggles, the offense has been able to make up for defensive shortcomings thanks to the nation’s ninth-best shooting percentage (33.3%). Their offense’s efficiency, combined with an expected possession advantage, should allow the Wolverines to build margin and cover the 1.5-point spread. Bet Michigan -1.5 (+105 on DraftKings).
Pick: Michigan -1.5
Navy vs. Army (-3.5)
|Time||Saturday, 1 p.m. ET|
Odds via FanDuel.
The Army-Navy game gets underway at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday with 7-6 Navy hosting 9-2 Army. The eighth-ranked Black Knights are as high as a 3.5-point favorite, depending on the sportsbook, and enter this game following a one-goal loss to sixth-ranked Cornell. The total is set at 22.5 at most sportsbooks.
The “service academy unders” trend doesn’t just apply to college football. The lacrosse version of the Army-Navy game has also seen very low totals. Last year’s game was the first to reach 23 goals since 2004 (though it still stayed under the total of 24.5) and during that span the average goal total was just 17.65 per game. That average remains the same when you just look at the totals of the three meetings that occurred during the shot clock era (starting in 2019.) Yet, even if we toss out all the history and focus just on this year’s teams, there is still a case to bet this total to stay under 22.5.
Army boasts the second-best defense in the country in terms of goals against and is allowing an average of just 8.27 goals per game. Army also ranks fifth in defensive efficiency, allowing goals on just 22% of its defensive possessions, according to Lacrosse Reference. On the other side, the offense has struggled lately and has missed the program’s leading scorer, Brendan Nichtern, who is now in the PLL. The Army offense is scoring on just 28.2% of its possessions and is shooting just 29% (40th in the country.)
As for Navy, it has dealt with injuries on the offensive side and, despite a four-game win streak, is averaging just 10.69 goals per game (52nd in the nation.) They score on just 26.8% of their offensive possessions and are shooting at the sixth-worst percentage (24%). However, the Navy defense has been a bright spot and is only allowing goals on 27.1% of defensive possessions.
This faceoff battle between Army’s Will Coletti and Navy’s Anthony Ghobriel should be tight, so I don’t expect any significant possession advantage for either team. I also expect both teams to value their possessions and slow the tempo. There are few things more American than betting a service academy under, no matter the sport, so bet Army-Navy to stay under 22.5 goals (-122 on FanDuel) on Saturday afternoon.
Pick: Under 22.5
Maryland (-2) vs. Johns Hopkins
|Johns Hopkins Odds||+185|
|Time||Saturday, 6 p.m. ET|
|TV||Big Ten Network|
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
We wrap up with another Big Ten matchup and arguably the biggest game of the weekend. The winner of this installment in the Maryland vs. Hopkins rivalry will likely become the favorite to win the Big Ten tournament and will greatly bolster its NCAA Tournament resume.
While I think Hopkins has a great shot at upsetting the Terps, Maryland has been Jekyll and Hyde this season and that scares me away from backing Hopkins as such a short underdog. I just don’t know if I’ll be getting the Terps team that knocked off UVA, or the one that lost to Loyola and Michigan. Instead, I have my eyes set on the total.
Five of Maryland’s 11 games this season have surpassed 24.5 goals, but only one of its four Big Ten matchups has seen more than 23 goals — an 11-16 loss to Michigan. John Tillman and company love to control the tempo and have been waiting an average of 32.7 seconds before taking their first shot (50th in the nation), according to Lacrosse Reference. Their offense has also been just moderately efficient, scoring on 27.9% of possessions in Big Ten play.
Johns Hopkins has been slightly more efficient, scoring on 30.5% of its possessions, but is just as content as Maryland to play slow. The Blue Jays play at the 11th-slowest pace in all of college lacrosse and have stayed under 24.5 goals in nine of 14 games. Both Hopkins and Maryland have also allowed an average of 11 goals or less per game. Bet this to stay under 24.5 goals (-110 on Caesars.)
Pick: Under 24.5
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