So You Want to Bet on Lacrosse
There are plenty of people out there picking lacrosse games against a spread, or handicapping. The sports gambling business is absolutely booming, and lacrosse is very much in on the action in college, in the PLL and in the NLL. If you want to wade into these waters, a few bits of info might help you.
First, understand how to read lines. In a given game, there are a few basic things you can bet on. The outcome of the game against the spread, a bet on the money line, and the total number of goals scored in the game.
The spread is how many goals the game will be decided by. Let's say you see a spread of UVA -1.5 against Maryland. What that tells you is that UVA is favored to win the game by at least 1.5 goals. Determining if UVA won against the spread is to take UVA's goal total and subtract 1.5. If they are still the winner, they have covered. If you bet on UVA winning that game and it finishes 14-10, then UVA covers and you win since they won by more than 1.5 goals. UVA winning that game 11-10 means your bet is a loss, since they did not win by more than 1.5 goals. You can also bet a team to simply win or lose the game, that's called betting the Moneyline.
With all wagers, you'll see odds. Something like UVA -1.5 (-115). The -115 in the parentheses is the odds. A -115 means you would have to wager $115 on UVA -1.5 in order to win $100. On the other end, the underdog will usually be "plus money". So maybe Maryland is +1.5 (+115). In this case, a $100 bet wins you a $115 dollar payout.
The game total is simply the total number of goals scored by both teams, and you can bet on the over or under, meaning more or less than the total. If UVA/Maryland has a total of 24.5, you can bet that more than 24.5 goals will be scored or less, again with odds being shown for both sides of that bet.
This can be a lot. I get it. There are some really excellent resources out there to help you understand this further. But a few rules you should try and abide by out of the gate:
Pick a bet size and stick to it. This is often called a "unit". If you can afford to bet $10 a game, make that your unit, and stick to betting $10 at a time. Don't bet more unless you have excellent information, research, or are fixing a game or something and want to up your units. Don't bet more money than you'd be ok just throwing out the window.
Be wary of pickers with plays that are all over the place. If someone makes a bunch of small bets, but then hits some giant five unit bet, they can inflate their record. Let's say I pick five games, with one unit on four of them and then a five unit play on the last one. I get all the one unit games wrong, but I hit the big play. I've gone 1-4 picking games, but with plus money I might be up on units. You might see someone up on units and say this is who I should follow, I should make the same picks. They're not good at picking games, they're getting bailed out by unreasonable plays. Doing this is a quick way to lose your money. Wager intelligently, avoid the giant swings.
Try and be informed. And that starts with the info below!
I track the result of each DI game in the course of the season. I do the same for the PLL regular season once that arrives. The link to those results is below. You'll see each teams schedule, their record overall, record against the spread, how often they cover, how they perform as a favorite and underdog, and when they hit the over or go under. I add the lines when they become available from DraftKings, and try to update them with any movement just before game time.
Arm yourselves with info and good luck with your picks!