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NLL Weekend Primer: Week 15

No rest for the weary, another loaded schedule this weekend. Last week, Toronto pulled away at the top of the standings and became the first team to reach double digit wins this year. They sit at 10-2, alone in the top spot. They, along with Albany, feel safely into the playoff picture at his point, as even a catastrophic collapse would probably leave them near the middle of the table. The Firewolves have a back to back this weekend and with a pair of wins, could get back to tied or even take the solo hold on first place. On the other end, Colorado fell to 4-8, and has a tough schedule left. They and Vancouver will need to really get hot to make a push for the postseason, and they’ll likely need some help from other teams as well. It’s a bit of an abbreviated primer this week, but all the info you need to tune in and enjoy the game is still here. 


Last week, I was 2-5 against the spread and 2-5 on game totals. I’m not counting the two games I picked in the dark with no lines. My worst weekend of the year!


For the season, I am 34-49 against the spread and 44-39 on game totals 


All spreads/odds come from DraftKings at the time of writing. In case you can’t tell from the records, I’m not good at this. If you are serious about picks/wagering, you should line shop across all sportsbooks and consider the odds you are getting. I don’t actually bet these games, just picks.


VANCOUVER WARRIORS (3-8) VS ALBANY FIREWOLVES (9-2)


When: Friday, March 8th. 7:00pm EST

Where: MVP Arena, Albany

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: Albany favored by 2.5, game total set at 24


The Pick:


Vancouver comes in off a huge win against Buffalo, and now gets to try and stay hot against one of the best teams in the league. Albany has won three straight. I like the matchup of young defensive star Owen Grant and young offensive star Alex Simmons or Tye Kurtz in this one. Vancouver has played good teams tough all year, even if it doesn’t end up with wins, and have a solid record against the spread. I’ll take the Warriors and the under. 


CALGARY ROUGHNECKS (5-6) VS GEORGIA SWARM (7-6)


When: Friday, March 8th. 7:30pm EST

Where: Gas South Arena, Georgia

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: Georgia favored by 1.5, game total set at 22.5


The Pick:


Calgary had a three game win streak snapped by Philly last week, while Georgia got a huge win against Halifax. Calgary played their way out of a huge hole and in firmly in the playoff hunt. The remaining schedule is not easy though. The Swarm have covered in four straight and Dobson has been on a heater, that’s enough for me to trust them at home. I’ll take the Swarm and the under. 


SASKATCHEWAN RUSH (4-5) VS BUFFALO BANDITS (5-6)


When: Friday, March 8th. 7:30pm EST

Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: Buffalo favored by 2.5, game total set at 23.5


The Pick:


Buffalo added Connor Farrell this week to hopefully solve their faceoff issues. The Bandits have missed Max Adler. They come in on a three game losing streak, but get to enjoy the cozy confines of Banditland in this one. The Rush dismantled Colorado a week ago, but are going to have a very busy month of March with six games. The Rush have won three of their last four, two of which were on the road. I’ll take Buffalo to win, but I say the Rush tank is still high enough to keep this one a battle. And the over. 


COLORADO MAMMOTH (4-8) VS TORONTO ROCK (10-2)


When: Saturday, March 9th. 5:00pm EST.

Where: FirstOntario Centre, Toronto

How to Watch: TSN, TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: Toronto favored by 3.5, game total set at 22.5 


The Pick:


Colorado dropped an ugly one last week against the Rush. They get to make a trip to the home turf of the best team in the league this week. Colorado is basically in “these are already playoff games” territory. They have just six games left. Toronto has the gigantic 3.5 goal line. Their defense and goaltending is as good as it gets. Colorado’s back is against the wall, and that’s when I like the Mammoth most. Give me Colorado to cover, and the under. 


ALBANY FIREWOLVES (9-2) VS ROCHESTER KNIGHTHAWKS (4-6)


When: Saturday, March 9th. 7:00pm EST

Where: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: Albany favored by 1.5, game total set at 24


The Pick:


Albany will be on the second day of a back to back, this one on the road though not too far from home. The Hawks snapped a six game skid a week ago with the tried and true formula of “just score a ton of goals.” Connor Fields was electric, Thomas McConvey had his best game yet. Rochester finding their stride again couldn’t come soon enough for Hawks fans. They’ll still need to get some good defense and goaltending, because Albany’s offense is loaded. It’ll be tough to win this one in a high scoring shootout. I’ll take Albany and the over. 


LAS VEGAS DESERT DOGS (4-7) VS NEW YORK RIPTIDE (5-7)


When: Saturday, March 9th. 7:30pm EST

Where: Nassau Coliseum, New York

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: New York favored by 1.5, game total set at 22.5


The Pick:


Vegas fell to Toronto last week, their third loss in the last four games. At 4-7, Vegas is currently on the outside looking for the playoff picture. The schedule the rest of the way has winnable games, two with Vancouver, plus a date with Colorado at home. But that won’t be enough. A tough road win in New York would be huge. The Riptide have lost three straight after their scorching hot January/February. They have just six games left and are floating on the playoff fringes. There’s still a good chunk of season left, but this one feels like a loser leaves town match. I’ll take New York to gut out the win and take the over. 


HALIFAX THUNDERBIRDS (7-5) VS SAN DIEGO SEALS (8-4)


When: Saturday, March 9th. 10:00pm EST

Where: Pechanga Arena, San Diego

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: San Diego favored by 1.5, game total set at 23.5


The Pick:


The Birds have stumbled a little in recent weeks, dropping games to Calgary and Georgia while beating up on the Rush. If they are eyeing a home playoff game they need to win games like this one to stay ahead of teams behind them. San Diego comes in having split a double dip a week ago, beating PCLC but losing to Toronto. The Seals are 6-2 since the calendar flipped to 2024. This is the best game of the weekend to me, a must watch matchup of title contenders. I’ll take the dog, give me the Birds and the over. 


PANTHER CITY LACROSSE CLUB (5-6) VS PHILADELPHIA WINGS (4-6)


When: Sunday, March 10th. 3:00pm EST

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: Philadelphia favored by 1.5, game total set at 22.5


The Pick:


Philly beat the Roughnecks last weekend, and did it with a spectacular game from Zach Higgins. It was the third 50+ save game from Higgins this year. Only Matt Vinc has that many, and the rest of the NLL combined has four 50+ saves this game year. The defense leans on Higgins incredibly hard, it’ll be more of that against Donville, Crawford, and Malcom. PCLC put up 15 last week in the loss to Rochester, showing that if a defense is going to give them chances, they’ll bury shots. Nick Damude needs to shake off last week’s bad outing and be on his game, the Wings offense is very good. I’ll take Philly in this one, and the over.


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