We got hot last week! The three favorites from Sticks In went a perfect 3-0, and we’ll be looking to keep it that way this weekend. As always, for a rundown of the full weekend slate and a pick against the spread in every game, check out this week’s Friday episode of the Sticks In podcast. I don’t love the board as much this week as last week, but no excuses, let’s make a few picks.
UVM -1.5 (+105) over Brown
I’m still not sold on Brown. That Quinnipiac loss terrifies me. I think we all knew coming into the year it was possible, even likely, that Brown stumble out of the gate. They graduated a massive amount of talent on both ends of the field. Devon McLane, Trevor Yeboah-Kodie, and Connor Theriault are excellent players, but it takes a lot more than those three to win games. It was positive to see Brown bounce back with a win against a decent Providence team, which is always a fiery in state rivalry type game. Through two games, Brown is shooting about 24%. That’s not great. They’re winning faceoffs, but they’ll face their toughest match up yet in Tommy Burke. The poor shooting numbers don’t bode well against UVM goalie Matt Shaffer. I think Vermont has found their formula and identity in a big way. Lean on Burke for possession, let Alviti and Canfield be stoppers in front of Shaffer, and let quality veterans like Closterman and Haley drive the train on offense. The Catamounts have an identity, I’m not sure Brown does yet. At plus money, I’ll take Vermont in this one.
Princeton +2.5 (-115) over Maryland
Princeton dominated Monmouth in their opener, but they really didn’t pull away much from Manhattan on short rest. The Jaspers are not an opponent that should be overlooked, but rest assured, Princeton is a much better team. Maryland’s loss is to Loyola which is looking great now, as Loyola is pushing into the Top 10 nationally. I like the Tigers in this because of their depth of weapons. The Maryland defensive midfield still feels like a work in progress. Yes, Makar, Zapitello and the rest of the poles will frustrate, or even shut down, some Tiger weapons. But the Tigers will be seriously advantaged in their midfield matchups. The players who aren’t poled, whoever they are, will be leaned on and should win the day. You might see Maryland pole both English and Vardaro and leave Saris with a short stick, but I think even then Princeton is a favorite on that end. Maryland still has Luke Wierman who should give them an edge in possession, but Princeton outright isn’t crazy in this one, and I will gladly take 2.5 goals. If you love the Tigers here, the moneyline is +195.
UMass -1.5 (+125) over BU
I’m turning a corner on UMass. Not totally loving them yet – I think the offense still needs to find a few more weapons. But this UMass team is playing a brand of defense that’ll have you in an ice bath for days. Sharkey and Campbell, both from the transfer portal, are looking like All Conference players right now. Matt Knote in net is looking like an All American level goalie. He made 19 saves against Army, and he only needed to make nine against Lowell while this defense held them to just three goals. Goals against UMass will not be easy to come by. I think the experience gained in the Army win is paying dividends for this UMass team and they’re playing confident lacrosse. If UMass finds some weapons beyond Gabe Procyk, and can keep things about even facing off, they’ll really become dangerous.