NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Betting Picks: Best Bets for College Lacrosse Week 5

NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Betting Picks: Best Bets for College Lacrosse Week 5 article feature image

ANN ARBOR, MI – MARCH 25: Johnathan Peshko #51 of the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays runs with the ball during the 4th quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at U-M Lacrosse Stadium on March 25, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Jaime Crawford/Getty Images)

Week 5 in men’s college lacrosse is here and I have another full card. This weekend I’m targeting six games, with picks ranging from heavy favorites to outright underdogs. Let’s take a look at what my best bets for this week 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. 7 Maryland vs. Brown

Maryland (-10.5) OddsN/A
Brown (+10.5) OddsN/A
TimeSaturday · 12 p.m. ET
TVBig Ten+

Odds via BetMGM Sportsbook

Maryland fell to Notre Dame last weekend, recording its first loss of the season. It enters this weekend as a 10.5-point favorite against a winless Brown. The Terps should win this one fairly easily, but 10.5 points is way too much to lay in this spot against a Brown team that has shown some fight in all of its losses. The better way to back Maryland in this game is to bet the total of 23.5.

The Terps' defense currently ranks third in adjusted defensive efficiency with a mark of 21.6%. Four of their five games have stayed under 23.5 goals, and in their lone game against a currently unranked opponent, Maryland held Loyola to just four goals in an 11-4 win. Brown ranks 65th in offensive efficiency and should struggle to score double digits in this matchup.

While the Bears' defense doesn’t rank much better at 50th in adjusted defensive efficiency, I don’t expect this Terps offense to run up the score given their 62nd-ranked pace. With a game against Virginia looming next week, expect Maryland to get out to a sizeable lead and set its offense on cruise control.

Trust the Terps' defense and bet Under 23.5 at -120 on BetMGM.

Pick: Under 23.5

Ohio State vs. No. 4 Notre Dame

Ohio State (+5) Odds+470
Notre Dame (-5) Odds-750
TimeSaturday · 12 p.m. ET
TVBig Ten+

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

We’re betting an Ohio State game again this weekend, but this time we’re targeting the total instead of taking a side. Notre Dame is rightly a five-goal favorite, but I think the total of 23.5 is a few goals too high for a game featuring the top two defenses in adjusted efficiency.

Four of Ohio State’s five games have stayed under 23.5 and only two of them have seen more than 19 goals scored. The two that did go over 19 goals were against the third- (Cornell) and 10th-most (Virginia) efficient offenses, according to Lacrosse Reference. Granted, Notre Dame ranks first in adjusted offensive efficiency, but, as we know with totals, it takes two to tango and I’m not sure if Ohio State’s 35th-ranked offense will be able to muster enough against the Fighting Irish defense. 

Notre Dame has yet to allow more than 10 goals in regulation and has an adjusted defensive efficiency of 21.5%. The Irish will be able to effectively limit a Buckeyes offense that only managed eight goals when facing Virginia’s 15th-ranked defense. Notre Dame and Ohio State should be able to put on a defensive clinic and both offenses’ slow paces (Ohio State ranks 55th and Notre Dame ranks 73rd) should help this total stay under 23.5. Now, we’ll still need to see if Ohio State defenseman Bobby Van Buren’s injury from last week will keep him out of this game, but even if he’s a scratch, I trust the Buckeyes' defense to limit the Irish enough to keep this total low.

Bet this game to stay Under 23.5 at -110 on Caesars.

Pick: Under 23.5

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Villanova vs. No. 14 Penn

Villanova (+2) Odds+175
Penn (-2) Odds-230
TimeSaturday · 1 p.m. ET

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Penn is coming off a weekend that saw it upset last week’s No. 1 Duke and lose to No. 18 North Carolina in the same weekend. Yet, I put more stock in its victory over the Blue Devils than a close loss to a hungry Tar Heels team with both teams on short rest. Penn opened as a 1.5-point favorite and is now at -2, but this spread is still to short against a Villanova team that saw sizable roster turnover this offseason. Last year, Penn fell to Villanova in a one-goal game, but the advanced metrics suggest the Quakers are a much better team than this current iteration of the Wildcats.

The Emmet Carroll-led defense ranks 14th in adjusted defensive efficiency during competitive situations, according to Lacrosse Reference, and Carroll has an adjusted save percentage of 64% excluding garbage time, which ranks second in the nation. The Quakers' offense has looked solid as well, ranking 20th in offensive efficiency during competitive situations. 

Meanwhile, Villanova ranks 41st in adjusted offensive efficiency and 38th in adjusted defensive efficiency this season. While the Wildcats have a slight edge at faceoff, Penn’s duo of Chris Arceri and Mac Eldridge have shown steady improvement and should be competitive enough that Villanova isn’t able to convert any faceoff success into scoring runs.

Trust Penn to win by margin and cover the -2 at -125 on DraftKings.

Pick: Penn -2

Loyola (Md) vs. No. 6 Duke

Loyola (+7.5) Odds+950
Duke (-7.5) Odds-5000
TimeSaturday · 3:30 p.m. ET

Odds via BetMGM Sportsbook

While Duke got a quick win against Princeton following its upset loss to Penn, I’m not sure the Blue Devils are done avenging last weekend’s mishap. They’ll get another great opportunity against a Loyola team that has struggled this season.

Duke, for my money, is still a top-three team and the advanced metrics back me up. The Blue Devils rank second in adjusted offensive efficiency and third in adjusted defensive efficiency during competitive play, according to Lacrosse Reference. Loyola ranks 23rd and 27th in those respective categories, but the biggest disparity between the two teams is at the faceoff.

Loyola ranks 65th in adjusted faceoff percentage while Duke is 15th. Even if Loyola is able to slow down Duke’s high-powered offense, the Blue Devils will be able to turn the success they do have into multi-goal runs. Ultimately, the Greyhounds are too outmatched against this ACC juggernaut that has an average margin of victory of 10.8 goals in their five wins.

Bet Duke -7.5 at -125 on BetMGM.

Pick: Duke -7.5

No. 9 Syracuse vs. No. 2 Johns Hopkins

Syracuse (+1.5) Odds-110
Johns Hopkins (-1.5) Odds-120
TimeSaturday · 6:30 p.m. ET

Odds via BetMGM Sportsbook

Arguably the biggest game of the weekend is the neutral site battle between two historic programs in Syracuse and Johns Hopkins. The Orange opened as 1.5-point favorites with the moneyline priced as a pick ‘em. Hopkins quickly became the 1.5-point favorites, but I don’t think that spread is large enough. Syracuse has played great against unranked opponents and been competitive against top-10 opponents in Maryland and Army, but this spread is severely underrating a Hopkins team that just knocked off an even better ACC opponent in No. 5 Virginia last week. The Blue Jays are balanced, ranking in the top 15 in adjusted defense (10th), offense (12th) and faceoff efficiency (14th), according to Lacrosse Reference.

Now Syracuse actually ranks even higher in adjusted offensive efficiency at fourth, but its 21st-ranked defense has shown some cracks that I think Hopkins can exploit. The Jays play a physical brand of lacrosse and utilize their attackmen like Jacob Angelus and Garrett Degnon all over the field. They can score off the dodge, generate open looks on the crease off precise ball movement and shoot from range if you try to take away the middle of the field. Meanwhile, Syracuse’s defense has struggled against top-10 opponents, posting an adjusted defensive efficiency above 30% against both Maryland and Army.

Prior to last weekend, the Hopkins defense had held opponents to nine or fewer goals in four straight games. In fact, they were close to keeping Denver under 10 in their first game before allowing three goals in the final four minutes of regulation, including two off penalties. Hopkins played great settled defense last week against Virginia as well, with several Cavaliers goals coming on broken plays and transition. If the Blue Jays can limit the Orange in transition, they should have moderate success against this Syracuse offense.

While Syracuse also edges out Hopkins at the faceoff on paper, the Blue Jays have the ability to mix it up at the dot with two faceoff specialists both facing off 50% or higher. Logan Callahan and Tyler Dunn have played well against some tough competition and should be able to take away any perceived advantage Syracuse’s Mason Kohn might have.

I like Hopkins enough to make this a rare two-unit best bet. Even though I expect the Jays to win by margin, we’ll play it safe and bet a unit on the 1.5-point spread (+120) and another unit on the moneyline (-120) on BetMGM.

Pick: Johns Hopkins ML (1 unit) & Johns Hopkins -1.5 (1 unit)

Mercer vs. Le Moyne

Mercer (-2.5) Odds-250
Le Moyne (+2.5) Odds+180
TimeSunday · 12 p.m. ET

Odds via BetMGM Sportsbook

My final bet of the weekend comes on Sunday between … checks notes… Mercer and Le Moyne. Mercer is as high as a 2.5-point favorite at home, but I’m questioning whether it should be favored at all. You might have had little reason to watch this game prior to reading this, but this is a great spot to bet Le Moyne as a road underdog.

In its first Division I season, Le Moyne ranks 48th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 63rd in adjusted defensive efficiency during competitive situations. While those aren’t eye-popping numbers, their numbers rank ahead of Mercer’s 69th-ranked offense and not far behind the Bears’ 54th-ranked defense. The Dolphins also should have a significant edge at faceoff, ranking 39th in adjusted faceoff percentage compared to Mercer’s 63rd, according to Lacrosse Reference.

Ultimately, this line should be at worst a pick ‘em or at best favor the Dolphins. Bet one unit on Le Moyne +2.5 (-125) and a half unit on the moneyline (+180) on BetMGM.

Picks: Le Moyne +2.5 (1 unit) & Le Moyne ML (0.5 unit)

Note: This article was originally published at 11:04 p.m. ET on March 8 and incorrectly stated that Syracuse was hosting Johns Hopkins. It has since been corrected to specify that the game is being played at a neutral site.

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