NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Betting Odds & Picks: Best Bets for College Lacrosse Week 3

NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Betting Odds & Picks: Best Bets for College Lacrosse Week 3 article feature image

EAST HARTFORD, CT – MAY 28: Maryland Terrapins attack Owen Murphy (55) advances the ball as Princeton Tigers defender Colin Mulshine (43) pursues during the Division I Mens Lacrosse Semifinals held at Rentschler Field on May 28, 2022 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Larry French/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

We have another loaded Saturday slate for Week 3 in men’s college lacrosse after cashing our lone Friday bet. I have bets in five more games this weekend, so let’s take a look at where the betting edges are.

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.

No. 15 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Johns Hopkins

North Carolina (+1.5) Odds+134
Johns Hopkins (-1.5) Odds-164
TimeSaturday · 12 p.m. ET

Odds via FanDuel

North Carolina hosts Johns Hopkins on Saturday and the Tar Heels are 1.5-point underdogs following their 2-0 start. Hopkins enters its fourth straight game as a favorite and is on a three-game win streak. Rather than bet a side in a matchup that saw UNC erase a two-goal deficit and score six straight to defeat Hopkins last year, I’d rather play the total of 24.5.

Last year’s contest saw just 18 goals scored and I expect another low-scoring affair in 2024. The Blue Jays offense has been extremely efficient, but plays at a very slow pace, taking an average of 42.9 seconds to take their first shot in a possession (64th), according to Lacrosse Reference. They’ll also face a Tar Heel defense that ranks fifth in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing goals on just 20.9% of defensive possessions.

On the flip side, UNC plays at one of the faster paces but is much less efficient, scoring on just 29.3% of offensive possessions (36th) and is facing a Blue Jays defense that ranks 14th in adjusted defensive efficiency. While the Tar Heels’ tempo has been fast through two games, they’ve blown out both their opponents this season and should value their possessions more in a close game.

Finally, both defenses are led by goalies who have career save percentages north of 50%, with Chayse Ierlan stopping 53.3% of shots faced this season and Collin Krieg stopping 70%, albeit against some weaker competition.

Trust these defenses to keep their opponents in check and bet this game to stay under 24.5 at -110 on FanDuel.

Pick: Under 24.5

No. 5 Denver vs. No. 8 Cornell

Denver (+2) Odds+145
Cornell (-2) Odds-185
TimeSaturday · 2 p.m. ET

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

Cornell travels to Denver and opened as high as a 2.5-point road favorite despite only defeating Lehigh in its lone game this season. The Big Red also lost some key pieces from their championship run two seasons ago like the aforementioned Ierlan and the top pick in last year’s PLL draft, defenseman Gavin Adler. Meanwhile, Denver is 3-0 with wins over Johns Hopkins, Air Force and Utah. Denver has since moved to a 1.5-point underdog at most sportsbooks while still sitting at +2 on Caesars and DraftKings.

I’ll take Denver and the points and even sprinkle on the Pioneers to win outright at +145.

I don’t buy into home field advantage in college lacrosse often, but Denver is certainly a school with an advantage at home when it comes to the amount of travel and altitude opposing teams must adjust to. Even ignoring the travel and location, this 2024 Denver team edges out Cornell.

While the CJ Kirst-led Big Red offense should be just as efficient as it was in 2023, their defense has holes and allowed Lehigh to score on 37.1% of its possessions. When adjusting for its opponent and removing garbage time, Cornell’s defensive efficiency was even worse at 39.5%. While we only have one game to go off, that ranks 72nd of the 76 NCAA Division I teams.

Meanwhile, Denver boasts one of the most balanced teams in the nation, ranking 13th in both adjusted offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency, according to Lacrosse Reference. Alec Stathakis has also continued to dominate at the faceoff dot, winning 63.9% of draws and should stay above 60% against Cornell’s Jack Cascadden. Bet a full unit on Denver +2 and a half unit on the moneyline.

Pick: Denver +2 (1 unit) & Denver ML (0.5 unit)

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No. 4 Maryland vs. No. 11 Princeton

Maryland (+4) Odds-560
Princeton (-4) Odds+370
TimeSaturday · 2 p.m. ET
TVBig Ten+

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Maryland faces a new-look Princeton on Saturday afternoon and is a 4-point favorite at home. However, the total of 24 on DraftKings is what we’re targeting in this game.

Maryland’s defense has returned to form this season with the team’s championship-winning goalie Logan McNaney back in net. The Terps have allowed an average of just nine goals through three games and rank sixth in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing goals on just 21.1% of possessions. Meanwhile, Princeton’s defense has allowed an average of just 5.5 goals through two games, holding both opponents to under six goals. While their competition has been way weaker, they still possess the third-best adjusted defensive efficiency at 18.9%, according to Lacrosse Reference.

Both teams also boast adjusted save percentages in the top five, with Maryland ranking fifth at 63.6% and Princeton ranking fourth at 64.2%. While both offenses are converting more than 30% of their possessions into goals, they each play at extremely slow paces when excluding garbage time. Maryland takes an average of 42.6 seconds to get its first shot off (67th) and Princeton averages 35.4 seconds (48th). Furthermore, this meeting last year saw just 16 goals scored despite a more seasoned Tigers offense.

Expect this total to stay under 24 in what should be a close game with a slight faceoff advantage for the slower-paced Maryland.

Pick: Under 24

Utah vs. Vermont

Utah (-2.5) Odds-325
Vermont (+2.5) Odds+250
TimeSaturday · 2 p.m. ET

Odds via FanDuel

Utah was a team I expected to struggle out the gate when I bet it to stay under its win total, facing three straight top-20 teams (Ohio State, Denver, Syracuse) to start the season. The Utes will get an easier matchup in their return home against Vermont. Utah is currently a 2.5-point favorite against Vermont and, like Denver, is one of those teams with a travel and altitude advantage when opponents come to town.

The loss of faceoff specialist Cole Brams in the offseason has hurt Utah, forcing it to play a lot of defense against its first three opponents and putting pressure on its struggling offense. Yet, the Utes defense has still held up, posting an adjusted defensive efficiency of 27.1% during competitive situations (excluding garbage time), which ranks 26th in the nation. While their offense has failed to score more than eight points in a game so far, their faceoff disadvantage has led to an average of just 36 possessions per game, which is 69th in Division I. That should improve against a Vermont team that saw a lot of roster turnover this offseason. 

Vermont lost one of the top faceoff specialists in the nation in Tommy Burke to the transfer portal and lost goaltender Matt Shaffer and defensemen Colin Sharkey and Jackson Canfield to graduation. The result has been a defense that ranks 71st in defensive efficiency in competitive situations, according to Lacrosse Reference. Vermont’s offense hasn’t done much better, ranking 65th in offensive efficiency, and its faceoff advantage of year’s past is no more.

Bet Utah to get its first win of the season and cover the 2.5-point spread at -128 on FanDuel.

Pick: Utah -2.5

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Penn vs. No. 14 Delaware

Penn (-1.5) Odds-120
Delaware (+1.5) Odds-110
TimeSaturday · 3:30 p.m. ET

Odds via BetMGM Sportsbook

Penn hosts Delaware on Saturday afternoon in both team’s third game of the season. This game opened with Penn as slight favorites but has shifted to a pick ‘em on most sportsbooks, with Delaware only as high as +100 on the moneyline on FanDuel.

Penn’s defense has picked up where it left off this season, but its offense has taken a slight dip without Sam Handley, and its faceoff struggles have been evident early this season. While I expect Delaware to win a close one, I’m targeting the total of 24.5 in this matchup.

Penn’s defense ranks 17th in adjusted defensive efficiency and goaltender Emmet Carroll has the sixth-best adjusted save percentage at 62.7%, according to Lacrosse Reference. On the other end, Delaware ranks even higher in defensive efficiency at 16th and is actually first in defensive efficiency when eliminating garbage time.

Delaware’s offense has been efficient through two games, but will get its toughest test against Penn. As for Penn, it is a tad less efficient and also play at the 72nd-slowest pace, taking an average of 43.5 seconds before getting its first shot off. Last year, Delaware and Penn ranked 51st and 52nd in pace, respectively, and I expect this game to stay slow as well.

Bet this total to stay under 24.5 at -115 on BetMGM.

Pick: Under 24.5

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