PLL Championship Props: Premier Lacrosse League player props for Sunday's Championship Game
The Chaos have battled their way back to the Premier Lacrosse League title game, knocking off the second-seeded Chrome and third-seeded Archers on their way for the right to defend their title. The Waterdogs were victorious over the Atlas and the top-seeded Whipsnakes.
For the first title game in PLL history, the Whipsnakes will be watching the championship from home. The matchup should be defined by versatility and physicality. In every PLL title game, it’s been about the stars delivering incredible performances to secure a win. This year’s edition should be no different. In a game that could come down to faceoff and goalie play, it’ll be critical for both teams to make the most of each of their possessions. Let’s look at the best prop plays for Sunday’s game, which is being shown on ESPN+ at 3:00pm ET.
Chaos most faceoffs won (+105)
This is listed as a game prop, but really this is about Max Adler vs Jake Withers. They met last year, and Adler won more than 93% of the clamps in the game. Adler has elite hand speed, and Withers plays for groundballs after the clamp, so that is expected. Withers was actually credited with more draw wins on the day. He prevented Adler from exiting cleanly and allowed the Waterdogs’ wings to have an impact. The title game could be similar, with Adler winning clamps and Withers making a mess of the whole proceeding while Zach Currier and Ryland Rees charge from the wing.
What Adler has going for him is his postseason track record. Adler is now at 62% this postseason, including a 10/17 outing against Connor Farrell. He was at 55% last postseason, including battling to near 50% with Trevor Baptiste, and splitting the draws against Joe Nardella. Adler elevates his game in the postseason as well as anyone. He’ll still dominate clamps and give his team an opportunity on every ground ball. CJ Costabile and Troy Reh, who are both in the top 4 among ground balls by LSMs and top 16 in the league overall, should be able to have enough of an impact on the wings to allow the Chaos come away with a slight edge on faceoffs in this game.
Ryan Smith (Chaos) under 1.5 points (+100)
The Chaos have played plenty of low-scoring games this year. It’s been their style since last season. They play aggressive defense, relying on Blaze Riorden to make saves and limit scoring. The offense has been doing just enough to win. Their semis win was by a 9-7 score and the quarters were 11-3. Before that, you have to go back to late July to find the last time the Chaos hit double-digit goals. Smith has been a lineup regular, but not a productive one. Since July, Smith has taken a total of 9 shots, with 6 of them coming in a single game against Redwoods. He recorded a total of 10 points in that time, with 5 of them coming in that Redwoods game.
As the season has gone on, the Chaos offense has been driven by Josh Byrne, Dhane Smith, Chase Fraser, Challen Rogers, Kyle Jackson, Chris Cloutier and Mac O’Keefe. With the PLL Championship on the line, it will fall on those players to elevate their play and take the game over. For Ryan Smith to have a multiple-point impact, he’ll have to move ahead of Dhane Smith, Rogers and Fraser on the right side. On top of that, he’ll need the left side of the offense have a reduced role. In 2021, the Chaos title was delivered by 6 points from Dhane Smith and 4 each from Fraser, Cloutier and Byrne. Ryan Smith had 1 point on just 3 shots in that game. Chaos should keep the ball in the hands of the players who delivered the title a year ago. Ryan Smith will be out there, but he shouldn’t have the impact of the Chaos’ stars.
Josh Byrne (Chaos) over 4.5 shots on goal (-115)
Byrne is set to shoot early and often. His lowest shot total this year was 4. That was when he spent a game shadowed by Defenseman of the Year JT Giles Harris. Byrne is in the top 16 in the league in shots taken, and this year his shots are hitting the net 60% of the time. Against Waterdogs earlier this year, he took 7. Last week against Archers he had 11. The week prior he took 8. The Waterdogs have allowed 47 shots from the high lefty wing, which is where Byrne starts his dodges. Byrne plays to get into the middle of the field against his defender. He either sweeps over the top of the defense towards the middle, where Waterdogs have allowed the second-highest number of shots in the league at 102. Or he goes underneath to the goal line, where the Waterdogs have allowed 57 shots, the third-highest number in the league.
Waterdogs goalie Dillon Ward also plays a very high arc, meaning he stands far out of the goal to try to cut shooting angles. This can result in more shots on goal that Ward is able to grab because of his arc, getting a save in the process. The Waterdogs allowed 28 shots on goal against the Whipsnakes in the semis, the highest total of weekend. The week before, Atlas put 25 shots on goal against the Waterdogs, the second-highest total of the quarterfinals behind only the Chaos. For the Chaos to have success in this game, it will fall on their star players to create. Expert Byrne to be a major part of the game plan. Ward may make a lot of saves, but Byrne should be firing away as usual.