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NLL Weekend Primer, Week 16

The trade deadline has passed. Teams made their moves, loaded up for a run or stock up on picks, and with about a month of regular season left, it’s crunch time. The March to May is here in the NLL. This week, there are seven games on the schedule. No Sunday games, everything is Friday and Saturday night. The highlight of the weekend will surely be Toronto visiting Banditland, but Calgary has a huge opportunity against San Diego, while the Riptide and Saskatchewan battle to keep playoff hopes alive. 



Last week, I was 2-6 against the spread and 5-3 on game totals.


For the season, I am 35-55 against the spread and 49-42 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.


PANTHER CITY LACROSSE CLUB (6-6) VS HALIFAX THUNDERBIRDS (7-6)


When: Friday, March 15th. 6:30pm EDT. 

Where: ScotiaBank Centre, Halifax

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

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


The Pick:


Panther City won in OT last week against Philly without Callum Crawford on the back of an insane game from Nick Damude. It was a very gutsy win for the boys from Frisco. At 6-6, they are one of several teams firmly in the middle of the standings that could easily wind out on the outside of the playoff picture. All these games are massive at this point. Halifax has lost two straight against Georgia and San Diego. Falling to .500 with the rest of the pack is not where they want to be. Two big injuries to watch in this one are Crawford for PCLC and Randy Staats for Halifax. It’s all hands on deck right now. If Damude stays hot, Halifax will need all the firepower they can get. I’ll be on the Birds and the under. 


SAN DIEGO SEALS (9-4) VS CALGARY ROUGHNECKS (5-7)


When: Friday, March 15. 9:00pm EDT.

Where: WestJet Field at ScotiaBank Saddledome

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

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


The Pick:


San Diego beat Halifax a week ago and has won three of four. The only loss was Toronto. The Seals have a favorable schedule the rest of the way, every team they play the rest of the year is currently .500 or worse. A charge to the one seed is difficult, but not impossible. Calgary boldly battled back into the playoff race in February but now has lost two in a row. They have six games left, this one feels critical. The schedule isn’t easy, but if they want to make the playoffs, they’ll need to knock of San Diego, Albany, or Buffalo along with notching wins against the Rush and PCLC. A tall order, but for a talented group. San Diego won’t go easy on them though. I’ll take Calgary at home in this one, and the under. 


LAS VEGAS DESERT DOGS (4-8) VS VANCOUVER WARRIORS (3-9)


When: Friday, March 15. 10:00pm EDT.

Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

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


The Pick:


Vegas has lost two straight. At 4-8 with six games left, they aren’t yet mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but it’s going to take lot for them to make the postseason. It probably starts with losing, at most, one more game the rest of the way. This week they get a Vancouver team who’s going to be the spoiler the rest of the way. The Warriors have to win out to finish .500, and that probably wouldn’t get them to the playoffs. They can, however, wreck a few other seasons over the next six weeks. They play Vegas twice in the next 15 days. This is a fun one. Vancouver has a solid young defense that’s done a lot of growing this year. Still, though the value is awful, I can’t pick against Vegas getting goals in this one. Desert Dogs and the under. 


ROCHESTER KNIGHTHAWKS (5-6) VS ALBANY FIREWOLVES (10-3)


When: Saturday, March 16. 7:00pm EDT

Where: MVP Arena, Albany

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: Albany favored by 1.5, game total set at 25.5


The Pick:


Rochester and Albany on the second half of a home and home. This week it’s to the capitol region. The Hawks won last week, playing to the script they love. Connor Fields has roughly a zillion points, and they just overwhelm the opponent with offense and a barrage of weapons. A key to that game was that Albany just got blitzed early. The Hawks were up 5-1 when the game was 11 minutes old. Albany fought back to a halftime tie, but when Rochester gets rolling like that early, gains confidence, and puts runs together, they just are brutal to beat. The 3rd quarter was like the first. That’ll be the script again in this one. Rochester is digging out of a hole created by a six game losing streak mid season. No easy wins the rest of the way for them, their remaining schedule includes this game, plus dates with Halifax, Toronto, and Georgia. I’ll take Rochester to stay hot and, as always with the Hawks, the over. 


TORONTO ROCK (11-2) VS BUFFALO BANDITS (6-6)


When: Saturday, March 16. 7:00pm EDT.

Where: KeyBank Centre, Buffalo

How to Watch: TSN, TSN+, ESPN+

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


The Pick:


Game of the week no doubt. Banditland will be rocking. Buffalo is in an interesting spot. They set at .500 with six games to go. They’ve won one of their last four, an OT victory over Saskatchewan a week ago. Two moves could potentially offer some help in this one. They traded for Paul Dawson, giving their defense some more size, and they signed Connor Farrell to help them at the faceoff spot. Given last week’s result, you could make  case that Farrell being dominant facing off was the extra possession that turned that game into a win for Buffalo. This week he’s up against TD Ierlan, who he’s struggled with in the past in the field game. Toronto is 11-2 with five games left, it would take not only an epic collapse but some serious help for them to miss the postseason. They have won five in a row, so that seems unlikely. I think Buffalo turns it up here, starts the battle towards the playoffs with a bang. I’ll take the Bandits getting goals at home, and because there were 30 goals the last time they played, the over 


PHILADELPHIA WINGS (4-7) VS GEORGIA SWARM (8-6)


When: Saturday, March 16. 7:30pm EDT.

Where: Gas South Arena, Georgia

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+ 

The Spread: Georgia favored by 1.5, game total set at 23


The Pick:


Philly lost in OT to Panther City a week ago. Now 4-7, they need to get hot in a hurry. This week’s matchup is a tough way to start a run. The Swarm have just four games left including this one. They’ve won two straight against Halifax and Calgary, and are in really good form right now. They also just can’t stop playing one goal games. The last time they played a game decided by more than one was February 10. The schedule the rest of the way for Georgia is favorable, and all their games are at home. Philly will be in desperation mode, while Georgia can stay to form and get close to locking up a playoff spot. I’ll take Philly getting goals and the Swarm playing another close one, with the under. 


NEW YORK RIPTIDE (6-7) VS SASKATCHEWAN RUSH (4-6)


When: Saturday, March 16. 9:30pm EDT.

Where: SaskTel Centre, Saskatchewan

How to Watch: TSN, TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: New York favored by 1.5, game total set at 23.5


The Pick:


The Saturday night cap, second half of the TSN double header. New York beat Vegas a week ago at home to get themselves close to .500. The Riptide have been cold since their four game win streak in February. The schedule the rest of the way has plenty of favorable wins, starting with a home and home vs Saskatchewan this weekend. The difference in the cold streak has been the offense going cold. New York aimed to change that with a big trade, acquiring Taggart Clark from Philly for a pick that could end up being the first overall selection in the next NLL draft. The right side gets fortified, and New York is clearly going for it. The Rush are in the middle of a frantic month. March already had five games on the calendar for them, but they’ll play six this month thanks to a make up game from January. The Rush have nine games left including two double headers and the make up game. A playoff charge would be the stuff of legend if they can pull it off. I’ll take New York in this one, and the under. 


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