Premier Lacrosse League: Season recap, betting results and an underdog champion
The Premier Lacrosse League wrapped up the season on September 18, as the Waterdogs took home the title with an 11-9 victory over Chaos at Subaru Park in Philadelphia. It was a great year for parity in the PLL. The Waterdogs and Chaos both finished in the bottom half of the standings in the regular season. The Chaos, a seven-seed, defeated second-seeded Chrome, and third-seeded Archers to get to the championship game. The Waterdogs defeated the Atlas, and then the top overall seeded Whipsnakes in the semifinals, marking 2022 the first year in the PLL that the Whipsnakes were not in the title game.
Looking back at the year from a handicapping perspective, this is only fitting. It was a big year for underdogs and Waterdogs both.
Against the Spread
The team that finished the regular season with the best record, the Whipsnakes, actually had a poor season against the spread. They built their identity as a team that wins close games, coming out on the right side of one-goal contests with regularity. This year, they were 4-1 in one-goal games. The Whipsnakes were favored in nine out of 10 games this year. While they won eight of those games, they covered in just four of them. The best record against the spread this year belonged to the Redwoods, who finished 4-6 but 7-3 against the spread, before ultimately losing in the postseason and failing to cover against the Archers.
The Redwoods were an underdog six times, and covered in five of those games, with two outright wins. The worst record against the spread belonged to the Atlas. They had a 6-4 record but were just 3-7 against the spread. They were the favorite in eight games, with just 2 covers coming in those games. In fact, the Atlas covered as a favorite in Week 2 against the Cannons and then didn’t cover as a favorite for the rest of the year. They finished the year with the worst record in the league against the spread at 3-8. The other noteworthy record belonged to the team that finished in last, the Cannons.
Despite going 1-9 on the year, the Cannons were actually 5-5 against the spread, a better ATS record than Chaos and Atlas, as well as the top playoff seed the Whipsnakes. They weren’t favored in a single game all year. Across the regular season, underdogs won 62.5% of the time, a trend that now stretches back multiple seasons in the PLL. However, the money line is a different story.
|Regular Season Records|
|Team||Overall Record||Record Against the Spread|
The Money line
Money line favorites had a very strong season in the PLL. Over the regular season, the favorites won 30 money line games, a 75% win rate, while underdogs won 10 games on the money line. The Whipsnakes were favored in nine games, winning eight times as the favorite, the highest mark in the league, despite being one of the league’s worst teams against the spread. The Atlas and Archers were both favored eight times. The Atlas were able to win six of those games outright as favorites. The Archers also won six of their games as favorites on the money line in the regular season.
The Cannons were the league’s worst team, finishing at 1-9 and an underdog in all 10 games. A $100 weekly money line bet would only have been profitable for three teams in the PLL this year. In fact, weekly money line bets on the two teams that ultimately made it to the championship would result in over a $700 loss. In the postseason, money line underdog bets were quite profitable. In six postseason games, the underdog won outright four times. The Archers covered in the quarterfinals, and the Waterdogs covered in the title game, but otherwise, the underdog won each game outright. A money line bet on the Waterdogs in the title game still carried -120 odds, as bookmakers expected a tight game.
|Regular Season Results and Money Line Profitability|
|Team||Record||Net on $100 weekly ML wager|
If you think life is too short to bet the under, it was a good year to be a Redwoods or Waterdogs fan. Both clubs hit the over seven times in 10 regular season games. Three times this season a 31-goal game was played, and Waterdogs were a team in two of them. Once against the Chrome in Week 3 and again against the Atlas in Week 9. For under bettors, it was all about the Chrome. Despite having two high-scoring rookies lead the team from the bottom of the standings to a two-seed in the postseason, the Chrome only went over three times in 10 regular season games and didn’t hit the over in their lone playoff game either. The Chrome also won the lowest scoring regular season game of the year, a 12-3 victory over Redwoods.
Across the regular season, overs hit 52.2% of the time. But once the postseason rolled around, the Chaos became kings of the under. With Blaze Riorden in net and a physical defense, the Chaos played for low-scoring games and delivered. They went under in all three rounds of the playoffs, holding teams to single digits until the Waterdogs put up 11 goals in the playoffs. The Waterdogs went under in two of their three postseason games as well. Across the playoffs as a whole, the under hit five times in six games. With the playoffs in the books, the over won 22 times and the under won 24 times of the 46 PLL games played this season.
|Regular Season Over/Under Totals|
|Team||Games Over||Games Under|
The Waterdogs took home the title this year in the PLL, despite being a .500 team in all regards in the regular season. They were 5-5 in the standings, and also 5-5 against the spread. They were only favored in three games in the regular season, winning one of them and never covering. The first time the Waterdogs were a favorite and won was the championship game. They may, however, consider changing their name to Underdogs.
In the seven games they were underdogs, they covered five times with four outright wins. In the postseason, the Waterdogs took it to another level. They covered each game as underdogs, in the quarterfinals against the Atlas and semifinals against the Whipsnakes, and then won as the favorite and covered in the title game against the Chaos. In the regular season, the Waterdogs went over seven times in 10 games, tied with the Redwoods for the most in the PLL. In the postseason, that trend reversed, going over just once in three games.
However, the money line became quite profitable. If a bettor placed a $100 money line bet on the Waterdogs to win each of their playoff games, it would result in a $348 profit. The Waterdogs postseason saw them as 1.5-goal underdogs in both the quarters and semifinals before being made a 1.5-goal favorite in the title game. Finishing the year 8-5, the Waterdogs had the best year in the league against the spread and hit more overs than anyone in the league.