NCAA Lacrosse Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Virginia vs. Maryland Betting Preview (March 19)
Larry French/NCAA Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Virginia standout Connor Shellenberger, left, competes against Maryland Terrapins.
The rematch that lacrosse fans have been clamoring for is finally here.
Defending champion Virginia takes on last season’s runner-up Maryland in a battle between the nation’s top-two ranked teams in Saturday’s NCAA men’s lacrosse showdown.
The game takes place at the neutral site of Audi Field in Washington, D.C. and should have a playoff atmosphere.
Both undefeated teams enter with the contest with perfect 6-0 records and impressive wins over similar opponents. So, where does the betting edge lie?
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 on lacrosse for some tips to use when placing a lacrosse bet.
Virginia vs. Maryland
|Time||Saturday, 3 p.m. ET|
|TV||Big Ten Network|
The Terrapins enter the rematch as the No. 1 team in the nation and 1.5-point favorites. Despite missing last year’s Tewaaraton award-winner ( the trophy given annually to the best men’s lacrosse player in the nation) Jared Bernhardt, Maryland ranks first in offensive efficiency, according to Lacrosse Reference and has the highest goals per game average (17.5) this season.
The program’s continued success is due in large part to the continued elite play of star attack man Logan Wisnauskas and additions of graduate transfers Jonathan Donville and Keegan Khan.
The Terrapins’ defense has also been playing at an elite level, holding teams to an average of 9.33 goals per game, which ranks 10th in the nation. Junior net-minder Logan McNaney has a .526 save percentage, allowing an even more impressive 8.80 goals per game.
The key factor that could swing this game in either team’s favor is pacing. Maryland prefers to operate at a much slower tempo, ranking 37th in pacing. The team’s ability to slow down the pace will be tested against this run-and-gun Virginia offense.
If they end up in another shootout with the Cavaliers, the Terrapins could find themselves in a similar game to last year’s championship and once again on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
We mentioned Maryland’s top offensive rankings in goals per game average and offensive efficiency, but who sits behind it in both categories. You guessed it: Virginia. The Cavaliers rank second in offensive efficiency, according to Lacrosse Reference, and have averaged 17.33 goals per game in six contests.
The Cavaliers are led by Tewaaraton hopeful Connor Schellenberger, who leads the nation with 4.17 assists per game and is second with 6.67 points per outing. Matt Moore and Payton Cormier have been equally impressive, and the trio has combined for more than half the team’s 164 points.
The defense ranks 15th in average goals per game allowed (10), and freshman goalie Matthew Nunes boasts a .549 save percentage and 9.45 goals per game allowed average. However, the Wahoos’ secret weapon could be faceoff specialist Petey LaSalla, who has a propensity to push the ball on fast breaks and find the back of the net. He currently has five goals on the season and has contributed to the Cavaliers ranking 11th overall in pace.
This Virginia team likes to push in transition and you can expect the team to deploy a similar fast-paced game plan reminiscent of last year’s title game against Maryland.
Virginia vs Maryland Betting Pick
Both squads sit at 6-0 record with victories over quality opponents. Virginia defeated teams currently ranked in the Inside Lacrosse Top 20 in No. 18 Johns Hopkins and No. 10 North Carolina. On the other side, Maryland has three ranked wins with victories over No. 20 Loyola, No. 3 Princeton, and No. 16 Notre Dame this season.
These teams have also earned wins over High Point and Syracuse. On paper, these are the top programs in the country and the eye test reaffirms that fact. So, what’s the best play here? In a game that reads close to a Pick’em, the value lies with the underdog Cavaliers.
Despite a slightly different cast of characters than in last year’s championship, Virginia has looked just as dominant in nearly all of its games. I expect Virginia to push the tempo on offense and force Maryland into a run-and-gun type of game that the Cavaliers are a bit more suited for in this matchup.
As 1.5-point underdogs at DraftKings, I believe the Cavaliers are in a prime spot to cover the spread and potentially win outright. The last two matchups between these teams have been decided by one goal and both times ended with the Cavaliers on top.
I’m expecting a similar situation to play out here and like backing Virginia getting +1.5 goals against Maryland.
Pick: Virginia +1.5