Lost my only bet last week on the PLL semifinals with the Archers losing to the Chaos, losing me 1.86 units. After a fantastic PLL season we’ve finally arrived at the championship with a matchup that no one could’ve seen coming early in the season, Waterdogs vs. Chaos.
Chaos vs. Waterdogs (9/18 3:00)
After a fantastic PLL season, the Waterdogs vs. Chaos will compete for this season’s championship game.
The Waterdogs started off the regular season slowly, going 0-3 in their first three games but turned it around as the season went on, riding out the rest of the year to finish off 5-5, dropping their last two regular season games to the Archers and Redwoods.
They impressed me the first week of the playoffs in their 19-14 win over the Atlas. They had to outwork the best face off man in the league in Trevor Baptiste to get possessions and won 52% of their draws. Then with a 52% shooting percentage, they scored a season high 19 scores on their 33 shots, with two two goals. Dillon Ward made 13 saves and had a 52% save percentage on the other end of the field on the shots he saw. Last week they outworked the Whipsnakes to get an 11-10 win to secure their spot in the championship and keep the Whips out of the championship game for the first time in PLL history. Dillon Ward had a fantastic 63% save percentage, making 17 saves in their one goal victory.
The Dogs have lead the league in scoring this season, averaging 13 scores per game but they’ve struggled defensively at times, allowing an average of 13.3 scores per game, second most in the PLL and the most of any team that made the playoffs.
The Chaos came into this season as the defending champions after catching fire late last season and riding that into the playoffs to the championship game and then beating the Whipsnakes to win the whole thing. This season didn’t go great for them in the regular season though as they went 2-8 and limped into the playoffs with the last spot, finishing only above the Cannons. But none of that mattered when it came playoff time, just like last year. In the quarterfinals, everything changed in the playoffs for Andy Towers’ Chaos as they dominated and knocked off the second place Chrome in an 11-3 victory with easily the best defensive showing of any game this season by any team in the league. Last year’s reigning MVP Blaze Riordan made 15 saves with an 83% save percentage last week to get that win. Last week their defensive dominance continued as they won 9-7, beating the Archers who lead the league in scoring in the regular season. Big Blaze was fantastic again in between the pipes with a 65% save percentage and 13 saves.
The Chaos struggled on both ends of the field in the regular season though. They scored the fewest goals in the PLL this season, averaging only 10.1 scores per game and they’ve allowed the second most of any team that made the playoffs, an average of 12.6 scores per game.
Clearly the regular season issues don’t matter for the Chaos when its the playoffs and they know how to win. This is a tough matchup for me to evaluate with the fantastic offense of the Waterdogs and Dillon Ward going up against the Riordan, the Chaos and their Buffalo Bandits offense who Ward shut down indoors in the NLL Championship this season. I think the Chaos end up going back to back and after having two horrendous regular seasons, they end up hoisting the trophy twice (except this year they won’t be able to funnel Pink Whitney and Bud Lights out of the thing and break it 30 minutes into their celebration.
Along with the usual moneyline, score line and total, the books are also offering us first half lines for the first time in PLL history this week. I’ll go with a unit on the Chaos +1.5, half a unit on the Chaos ML and half a unit on the Chaos +.5 in the first half. I’d slightly lean both the full game under and the 1H under but not enough to bet on either. Let’s have some fun too with player props that have never been offered before an go with .2 units each on Josh Byrne (+700) and Michael Sowers (+650) to score the first goal of the game.
.5u 1H Chaos +.5 (-140)
1u Chaos +1.5 (-155)
.5u Chaos ML (-110)
.2u First goal scorer: Michael Sowers (+650)
.2u First goal scorer: Josh Byrne (+700)
Record: 31–28 (-7.38)
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