Premier Lacrosse League Week 11 Expert Picks and Best Bets: Back the Cannons in a must-win spot

Premier Lacrosse League PLL

It is with great dismay that I sit here and type this article as this will be the last weekend of the year when we get a full slate of PLL action. We have had a great season so far in our best bets, hitting 10 of our last 15 including a 2-1 outing in Week 10. While the playoff picture is pretty set at this time, there are still a couple of plays that I like this week. It is worth noting that playoff seeds (aside from the one seed) don’t really matter in the grand scheme of the league. There is no home field advantage, the top seed gets a one-week bye. With 6/8 teams having clinched a playoff berth, there isn’t much to play for in the sense of playing for a better seed.

However, the top four teams in the regular season standings qualify for the PLL Championship Series which is a separate tournament in which players get bonus incentives in the winter of 2023. The Chrome and Whipsnakes have locked in spots, so the last two spots are up for grabs. So while there isn’t anything to play for in terms of playoff seeding for 2022, teams will be battling to grab a spot in the Championship Series.

Let’s finish the season strong and go 3-0 with my best bets for Week 11.

Chrome -1.5 (-105) over Redwoods

The Redwoods are one of those teams that are on the outside looking in when it comes to the Championship Series right now, and a blowout win along with a couple of other teams losses would cement a spot for them there. For all intents and purposes, it’s not looking good for them in terms of qualifying for that tournament. In addition, they will be missing some key pieces this weekend. The captain of their defense, Eddy Glazener, is out. Arden Cohen and Kyle Hartzell are questionable. They could be missing two or even three of their starting defenseman on Saturday, and for a defense that hasn’t been great all season in general – that is a bad sign. 

The Chrome have clinched a spot in the Championship Series already, but a win would cement them as the no. 2 seed in this year’s playoffs, meaning they would play either the Chaos or the Cannons in the first round. With how poor each team has looked this year, I would feel more confident having to play them in round one than a team like the Waterdogs or Redwoods.

No team wants to go into the playoffs coming off of a loss. For a team as young and inspired as the Chrome, they undoubtedly want to win this game to give them some momentum. When these teams met in Week 2 of this season, the Chrome were able to deliver a 9-goal victory. While I think both teams are much different now than they were back then, I still give the edge to Chrome if both teams are fully healthy. Now, with the Redwoods missing the bulk of their defensive starters, I have a tough time believing in them to keep this game close. I hate laying 1.5 goals in the PLL, but I feel good about this one. 

Waterdogs +1.5 (-140) over Archers

This is certainly a game that is crucial in the Championship Series qualifying. The winner of this game will be 6-4 and the loser will drop to 5-5. This means that the winner is guaranteed a spot in the Championship Series and the loser likely will not. Moral of the story is that both teams will be itching to get this win. In must-win games for both teams, we always take the underdog. 

Even if this game was being played with no benefit to either team, I still think that the Waterdogs are the better team in this one. Top-to-bottom these teams are pretty even, but I give the Waterdogs the goalie and faceoff advantage. If one of those guys goes off, this is the Waterdogs’ game to lose. If both do, then they will win this game. Both offenses are elite and the defenses are sound. This game is going to come down to who can win the possession battle. Possessions are won or stolen at the faceoff stripe and in the net. With the Waterdogs having the advantage in both of those facets, I am surprised we get to bet them as underdogs. 

Like I said, this game is crucial for both teams and I expect it to be close regardless. Each team wants to win this game for momentum going into playoffs as well as secure a spot in the Championship Series. In a toss-up game like this, we ride with the strategy that has been so profitable all year long and take the Waterdogs. 

Cannons +2.5 (-105) over Whipsnakes

This game is the one on the slate where it only really matters for one team. The Whipsnakes have already locked in the no. 1 seed regardless of the outcome of this game, while the Cannons are fighting for their playoff lives. If the Cannons can beat the Whipsnakes by 3 goals or more and the Chaos lose outright, the Cannons will miraculously become the last team in the playoffs. They play this game before the Chaos-Atlas game, so it’s not like the Chaos can win before them and they know they are playing for nothing. The Cannons have had a tumultuous season to say the least, but after all of that – they only need to win one game to secure a playoff spot. 

While I don’t take the Whipsnakes as a team that will lay down their arms just because they have nothing to play for, I do think that knowing the outcome doesn’t affect them in any way, shape or form will sit in the back of their minds. Their main goal in this one should be to come out the other side fully healthy and be able to get some good game action under their belts before a one-week break. The Whipsnakes have been in the championship in all three years of the PLL, so they know how to win in the playoffs. Winning or losing this game won’t change their mindset one way or the other. There is no momentum to be gained or lost. 

I could go on and on about why the Whipsnakes would be smart to just take this game easy, but you get the point. Yes, the Cannons have looked atrocious for the majority of the year on both offense and defense, but they are still loaded with talent. In their one game against the Whipsnakes last year, they lost by one goal. Albeit a very small sample size, they have shown they are capable of hanging with good teams. Knowing that they can still lose this game and cover the spread gives me a lot of hope. Like I said, they need to win this game like they need air to breathe. I think we will get the Cannons best game of the year this weekend in their attempt to win outright. Take the 2.5 in this game. 

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