The lines are out. The first official betting on lacrosse is taking place. Let’s take a look at the options for opening weekends. Below are the current (7/24 at noon) lines.
Game 1 – Redwoods vs Whipsnakes
The first game is a rematch of the championship last season. These teams met three separate times last year:
Week 5: Redwoods win 14 – 11
Week 9: Whipsnakes win 17 – 4
Championship: Whipsnakes 12 – 11
Average Total Heads Up: 23.0
Average Redwoods Total: 23.0
Average Whipsnakes Total: 24.4
Game 2 – Chaos vs Chrome
These two met twice last year in two of the higher scoring games. We can see that their average total between the two games was 29.5 which is exactly what Draftkings has the opening line set at.
Week 5: Chaos win 15 – 14
Week 6: Chrome win 19 – 11
Average Total Heads Up: 29.5
Average Chaos Total: 25.9
Average Chrome Total: 26.4
Game 3 – Waterdogs vs Atlas
With the Waterdogs being an expansion team, these two have never met.
Average Total Heads Up: N/A
Average Waterdogs Total: N/A
Average Atlas Total: 25.7
Breaking it down
The first thing that jumps off the page at me is the incredibly high totals for games 2 and 3. The average total for the entirety of the 2019 regular season was 24.5 and we have two opening week games that are 4 and 5 points above that. In the entire regular season only 5 out of 30 games (16.7%) broke the 30 point threshold, and two more hit 29 (23.3%).
On top of that we can take a look at how the totals moved throughout the season. Below are charts looking at the average totals game by game and also week by week.
I broke this out because my initial thought would be that scoring may increase throughout the season as the brand new teams continued to build chemistry on offense and became better at executing their schemes. Looking at these charts we can see a few things. One of the things is that there is no correlation when looking at totals vs individual games as the season goes on. When we break it down week to week we can see there is a slight, but weak correlation (R value = 0.22).
Now generally, we don’t want to remove data to prove a point, but if we take out week one, the very first week ever of the league, and chalk that up to being a weird week because of that. We look at weeks 2 through 10 and the R value jumps to a moderate correlation of 0.47.
I think there is going to be a good amount of value in taking the unders, especially early in the season.
On top of that if we take a look at the score differentials we can see that an insane 13/30 games (43%) were decided by 1 goal. 23 of the 30 games (77%) had a differential of 3 goals or less. While I do not think the rate of one goal games can possibly continue, it goes to show just how even these teams are across the board.
With the Waterdogs expansion draft, and the condensed training camp and season due to COVID, I plan on betting underdogs until proven otherwise.
My weekend picks
Pick of the day (POTD) – Waterdogs/Atlas U28.5 (-115).
The gambler in me loves to bet overs because it’s more fun to cheer for points when watching. Though, as stated above I just think these totals are set pretty high to start. This game needs to hit the under 51.5% of the time to break even. Last year during the regular season 76.7% of all games and 70% of Atlas games specifically came in under 28.5.
The loss of Jules Heningburg puts a bit of a damper on my overall outlook for the Woods but I still like them here with these odds. DK is predicting a much lower scoring game here than the other two, which favors the underdog. The PLL only has 7 teams, there is talent everywhere and the difference in teams is razor thin. The Whips were hit the hardest by the Waterdogs expansion draft and I think it might take them a little bit to really get going. The Woods need to win this game 45.45% of the time to break even, and I see this game as a coinflip and I would still favor the Redwoods if the odds were even.
While the Waterdogs are brand new, an expansion draft in a 7 team league is simply not the same as one in a league of 30 teams. There is so much talent that every team can go deep. On top of that I love what Coach Copeland has done assembling his team, he’s looked to find the most versatile players that can play attack or midfield and be shifted all over. The dogs only need to come out on top 41.84% of the time for this to break even. Bet the dogs, both the water and under.