NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Final Four Betting Picks: College Lacrosse Best Bets for Virginia vs Maryland

NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Final Four Betting Picks: College Lacrosse Best Bets for Virginia vs Maryland article feature image

COLLEGE PARK, MD – MARCH 16: McCabe Millon #9 of the Virginia Cavaliers handles the ball against Will Schaller #27 of the Maryland Terrapins during the second half of the NCAA men’s lacrosse game at SECU Stadium in College Park, Maryland on March 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott Taetsch for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

One of the greatest rivalries in in college lacrosse caps off Saturday’s Final Four. No. 6 seed Virginia is a 2.5-point favorite in its matchup with No. 7 Maryland, and the total ranges between 23.5 and 24 depending on the sportsbook. Let’s take a look at my favorite bets for the second Final Four game.

No. 6 Virginia vs. No. 7 Maryland

Virginia (-2.5) Odds -245
Maryland (+2.5) Odds+194
TimeSaturday · 2:30 p.m. ET

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Maryland’s 29th Final Four appearance — and third in the last four years — is its most improbable in a while. As underdogs, the Terps crushed Princeton to open the tournament and then upset Duke thanks to a masterful game plan from head coach John Tillman and Co.

While I think Virginia should be favored, it should only be slight favorites on the moneyline given how both teams are playing. While Maryland will certainly have its hands full with this Virginia offense, this is a favorable matchup for a Terps offense that finally appears to have found its groove. Not only has the Cavaliers defense been vulnerable off ball this season, they’re also in the middle of a goalie controversy. 

After Hopkins went up 4-0 early last weekend, Virginia coach Lars Tiffany pulled his streaky starting goalie Matthew Nunes in favor of redshirt freshman Kyle Morris. While Morris played well and the goalie change was likely the right move, Virginia's netminder situation is one that could go south quickly regardless of who ends up getting the start Saturday.

Clearing has also been an issue for Virginia throughout the season, and failed clears led to several goals in both their opening game against St. Joe’s and quarterfinals matchup with Hopkins. Part of Maryland’s resurgence has been its ability to generate offense off the faceoff and in transition — another area of concern for the Wahoos on defense.

When these teams last faced, Virginia won 14-10, but the game was closer than the final score indicated. Maryland held Virginia’s settled offense mostly in check, with four goals coming on broken plays or rebounds and another when they were a man down. Maryland also had a goal taken off the board because of a timeout being called right before Braden Erksa scored, then Erksa had a goal waived off after being called in the crease on the very next play.

Finally, I expect Maryland’s faceoff specialist Luke Wierman to give the Terps a possession edge. Wierman won several faceoffs cleanly when these teams last met, generating transition offense and assisting on one goal. Although Virginia's Anthony Ghobriel went 50% against Wierman back in March, I think we could see the faceoff battle tilt in Maryland’s favor a bit more than last game.

Ultimately, I expect the Terps to keep it close enough to cover the 2.5-point spread with the potential to even pull off the upset. Bet Maryland +2.5 at -122 on FanDuel.

I’m also targeting two player props in this matchup.

Virginia attackman Connor Shellenberger will likely draw Maryland’s top defender Ajax Zappitello. Shellenberger has been held to three points or fewer in each of these teams’ last three meetings, and while Virginia has other initiators, stopping Shellenberger could lead to a Terps upset. In March, Shellenberger had just one goal and one assist when guarded by Zappitello, so I think there’s a good chance Shellenberger stays under 4.5 points Saturday. Shellenberger has stayed under this number in nine of 17 games, so -115 on DraftKings is a fair price to bet him to be held to four points or less again.

I’m also betting Eric Spanos to go over his points prop of 2.5 points. While Spanos has been streaky this season, he had success against Virginia in their last meeting. Spanos scored two goals early when drawing a short-stick defender and then added two more assists after drawing more attention from the defense later in the game. Spanos has surpassed this total in just six of 15 games, but has been playing attack lately and I think this is a good spot to bet him to record three or more points. Bet Spanos over 2.5 points at +136 on FanDuel.

Picks: Maryland +2.5 | Connor Shellenberger Under 4.5 Points | Eric Spanos Over 2.5 Points

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