Premier Lacrosse League Week 5 expert picks and best bets: Can the Chaos finally get their first win?

Premier Lacrosse League PLL
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Charlie White

Lacrosse · 1 month ago

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Lacrosse handicapper for Pickswise.

Week 4 of the Premier Lacrosse League was full of surprises, unless you followed these articles. If it weren’t for the Atlas missing an open shot with less than a minute left to cover the -1.5, we would have swept the board. Alas, Week 4 proved that anything can happen in this league. But most importantly, we are seeing the board very well.

Let’s carry that energy into this week and delve into what I believe are the best values on the board for Week 5 action.

Chaos ML (-125) over Cannons

“We want to win the war,” said Chaos head coach Andy Towers after their blowout loss to the Waterdogs last weekend. Well, the outlook on said war all but diminishes with a loss to the Cannons this week. Towers is the best coach in the league at getting his players to carry his coaching style onto the field. However, for as long-sighted as Towers claims to be, he has to be short-sighted this week after starting the season 0-4. The players know that too. A loss to the Cannons puts them at 0-5, two games behind the hypothetically 2-3 Cannons team. That would all but nullify their chances at winning back-to-back championships. 

This is a must-win scenario for the Chaos this week, and frankly they’re just too talented to be 0-5. Yes, everyone has harped on the fact that their roster was decimated through the first three weeks of the year due to a lot of their stars playing in the NLL Championship, but the table has been set and their backs are against the wall. Those guys are back and have one week of game action under their belt. I had a feeling that those guys wouldn’t immediately make the transition from indoor to outdoor lacrosse in just one week and that they would look sloppy. Well, now that they got the jitters out I expect them to revert back to the superstars that they are. 

These teams met last season in the exact same position. The Cannons rolled in with a 1-3 record with the Chaos trotting out at 0-4. The Chaos more-or-less revved up the engines and started to really turn it on with their backs against the wall, winning 14-10. The Chaos finished the year winning 6 out of their last 8 games after starting 0-4, ultimately winning the championship. If there’s any team that knows how to switch gears at a minute’s notice in this league, it’s the Chaos. 

You can argue that the Cannons need to win this game just as badly as the Chaos do, and I truly believe that the hungriest dog will win in this fight. I can throw out a bunch of statistics and game plan matchups in favor of the Chaos, but I think all of that goes out the window this week. Hungry dogs run faster, and the Chaos will be chomping at the bit. Trust them to take home the victory this week against a Cannons team that still lacks a true identity.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Chaos vs Cannons

Waterdogs +1.5 (-105) over Whipsnakes

The Waterdogs had a week two win snatched out of their grasp by the Whipsnakes earlier this year, falling in overtime, 12-11, after blowing a second-half lead. The revenge factor should play a large role in why I think the Waterdogs can not only cover but win outright, but there are even more reasons to like the Dogs this week.

Much like the Chaos, the Waterdogs record is a poor reflection of just how good they actually are. This team is littered with talent all across the board, from star attackman Michael Sowers to reigning midfielder of the year Zach Currier. If it weren’t for issues at the faceoff stripe leading to two blown leads, this team could very well be 3-1 right now. They’ve now had four weeks to play together and understand their weaknesses and are finally coming into form. They are receiving heavy contributions from relatively unlikely suspects like Connor Kelly and Kieran McArdle to bear some of the load off of guys like Sowers and Currier. An 18-goal performance against Blaze Riorden and the Chaos defense is just the beginning for this team.

Yes, the Whipsnakes are very good, but they haven’t always looked the part of an undefeated team this season. Three one-goal victories on the year have propelled them to yet another 4-0 start in this league. If a couple bounces don’t go their way, we could be addressing this team in a completely different light. While the Waterdogs aren’t free from critique either, I believe that you can throw the records out the window in this one. 

The Waterdogs offensive weapons have the ability to pose a serious threat to a sound Whipsnakes defense. They have guys like Sowers and Kelly that can beat you one-on-one from anywhere on the field, Ryan Brown who you can’t slide off of, and complimentary pieces like Kieran McArdle, Ethan Walker and Jack Hannah who can fill in the gaps where necessary. The Waterdogs have the ability to change the defensive equation for the Whipsnakes just by having those guys out there. 

The Whipsnakes have enjoyed hot starts in every season since the league’s formation, have made the championship game all three years and won two of them. Everyone wants to beat the Whipsnakes, most everyone does not. The Waterdogs are one of the few teams that can, and I have a feeling that they will.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Waterdogs vs Whipsnakes

Atlas vs Chrome Over 23.5 (-125)

Neither team has really given us bettors any reason to trust the over this week, and that’s why I love it. When you see two teams of this caliber square off in the middle of the year, the opposite of what you think will happen generally happens. We saw it last week when the Archers/Atlas game SOARED under the high total of 25.5. I expect the same type of thing this weekend in this game. 

The Atlas offense has looked like a shell of themselves in the past two weeks, only averaging 9.5 goals per game on just over 18% shooting. Do I think that their offense is as good as advertised through the first two weeks? Probably not. Do I think that they are much better than what they have been playing like recently? Undoubtedly. At some point, the wheels have to come back on for an offense stacked with talent like the Atlas. Although a tough opponent in the Chrome defense, I think we see them get back on the scoring wagon. 

On the other hand, the Chrome have narrowly escaped with victories in the past two weeks and have proven to the league that they can beat the odds no matter what hand they’re dealt. They are just as comfortable playing with a lead as they are playing from behind, something that is imperative if they get down early in this game. 

Both teams will put their best foot forward to win this game, and I think that will drive the pace up. The Atlas love playing fast and pushing transition and should net a good amount of goals doing just that in this game. The Chrome are chameleons and can adapt to any style of play they need to in order to win. If the Atlas comes out firing in transition, expect the Chrome to do the same. 

So far in 2022, there is a stark trend when it comes to predicting totals to go over or under. In matchups where the faceoff advantage is less than a 58%/42% split, the over is 5-1. When the faceoff advantage is greater than that, the under is 8-2. The faceoff matchup between Trevor Baptiste and Connor Farrell is going to be a good one, and I fully expect it to be almost split 50/50. That bodes extremely well for the over. 

I think both teams will have equal opportunities to put up points in this game, and they will ultimately deliver. Go against the grain, take the over.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Atlas vs Chrome

Pickswise is the home of PLL Predictions. Check out all of our PLL Picks throughout the Premier Lacrosse League season.

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