NLL Eastern Conference Betting Odds, Picks: Buffalo Bandits vs Toronto Rock Game 1 Best Bet
Buffalo Bandits v Toronto Rock during the first game of the East Conference Finals. May 15th, 2022, at KeyBank Center. Photo by Joe Hrycych.
The National Lacrosse League playoffs continue on Friday night with Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The second-seeded Toronto Rock travel to Banditland to face the top-seeded Buffalo Bandits.
Buffalo is a 1.5-point favorite at most sportsbooks (though a couple have Toronto as the favorite), but this game is a pick ’em on the moneyline. The total is set at 22.5 across all sportsbooks.
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Buffalo Bandits (-1.5) vs. Toronto Rock
|Time||Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET|
Odds via FanDuel
The rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals is here, and if it’s anything like last season’s one-goal affairs, we’re in for a treat.
Toronto went 1-2 against Buffalo in the regular season, including dropping the final matchup and relinquishing home-field advantage in the playoffs. However, the largest margin of victory between these teams in the past two seasons belongs to the Rock, who defeated the Bandits 18-7 on April 1. That win came with both Chase Fraser and Tehoka Nanticoke out of the Bandits lineup; Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne were forced to carry the load on offense.
When Buffalo’s offense is at full strength, I think they can put up some points — even against a stout Toronto defense. If I had to choose a side, I’d lean toward Buffalo coming out and securing a victory in Game 1, but -108 isn’t a good enough price to back the Bandits. Instead, I am eyeing a player prop.
Byrne came up big for Buffalo in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, recording 11 and eight points against the Rock. He’s coming off a nine-point performance last week and appears to be fully healthy after dealing with injuries in February. While he’s statistically more likely to go over his goals prop (2.5) than his points prop (6.5), I think the latter is the one to target.
Excluding the game he got injured, Byrne has recorded seven or more points in seven of 15 games, meaning his true odds to surpass 6.5 is +114. The current price to bet him to go over his points prop is +124, but I think these odds are even better than they seem given the scenario.
Byrne thrives in front of the Bandits’ home crowd and has recorded seven or more points in 11 of 21 home games over the past two seasons. He now has a healthy cast around him, which will either take some attention off him when dodging to score, or allow him to draw and dump to rack up assists.
I think Byrne will factor into a lot of goals and I like betting him to go over 6.5 points.
Pick: Josh Byrne Over 6.5 Points (+124; FanDuel).
NLL Eastern Conference Series Strategy
Unlike our approach to betting the Western Conference Finals, these teams have very similar odds to make it to the Finals. Rather than betting this series, I’d look toward the title odds market instead.
Both Toronto and Buffalo are favored to win, regardless of the Western Conference opponent. Buffalo lost to Colorado in the 2023 regular season (and in the NLL Finals last year), while Toronto escaped with a one-goal overtime victory over Calgary earlier this year.
Despite these narrow outcomes, I like this year’s champion to come from the East, and I think the best way to attack is to bet on who you think will win this series to win the NLL Finals — it’s best to back one (or both) of them in this round.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a strong enough read on who will triumph between Buffalo and Toronto. So, for now, I’ll stay away from the futures market with the plan to potentially bet the winner of Game 1 between Toronto and Buffalo to win the NLL Finals at +180 or better.
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