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NLL Weekend Primer: Week 4

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

Three weeks in and teams are starting to show their identity a bit. Albany remains the hottest team in the league and a great story early on, Buffalo got a big win over San Diego in their home opener, and both Vancouver and Saskatchewan had big wins. It’s the holidays, so only three games in NLL Week four; two are played on Friday night, one on Saturday. Enjoy your holiday weekend, take in some lacrosse. 


Last week I was on 3-2 game spreads and 2-3 on game totals


For the season I am 10-6 against the spread and 8-8 on game totals.


TORONTO ROCK VS PANTHER CITY LACROSSE CLUB


When: Friday, Dec. 22, 8pm EST

Where: Dickie’s Arena, Texas

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: Toronto favored by 2.5, game total set at 22.5 


The Matchup:


Toronto has looked like a title contender early, a testament to just how deep they run considering both Tom Schreiber and Latrell Harris are out. In their first and only game, the Toronto defense smothered Philadelphia. And that was a Wings team that still had their weapons on offense. Mitch De Snoo and Brad Kri have been, to no surprise, arguably the best in the business. Mark Matthews is already cranking out the highlights, fitting in just right with Toronto. When you’re game planning for a team, there’s two ways to do it. Look for where the weakness is, so you can attack it. Or look for where the strengths are, and think about eliminating them. I really don’t know if either is relevant for Toronto right now. They don’t have many attackable weaknesses, and the strengths are too numerous to avoid.


Panther City gets a home game following their heartbreaking loss to Vegas. PCLC is still a young group, with plenty of dynamic talent in their first or second years as pros. This is the sort of game that can reveal some character, and give fans a feeling how the team is developing. Home game, off a brutal loss, against a heavyweight opponent on a Friday night in prime time. Callum Crawford has been a goal scoring machine ever since someone called him washed during game one (poking bears remains a poor strategy). Jonathan Donville is a played they can rely on. This is the type of game where fans will want to see some big plays from Ryan Sheridan.


The Pick:


PCLC has had a week to get over their tough loss to Vegas. Toronto boosts one of the best defense and transition groups in the NLL. They’ll be keyed on slowing down Crawford as a goal scorer, and when they do, PCLC will struggle to find goals. Toronto is the pick at -2.5, with the under. 


GEORGIA SWARM VS COLORADO MAMMOTH


When: Friday, Dec. 22, 9pm EST

Where: Ball Arena, Colorado

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

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


The Matchup:


Somehow we’re already doing rematches. Colorado’s first two games are a home and home with Georgia. The Mammoth lost their opener by a six goal margin in Georgia. They gave up 16 goals in that game. That’s in part due to Dillon Ward being absent, as the injury bug has already bitten Colorado hard. But there are still some weapons out there. Zed Williams is a force, Eli McLaughlin is a goal scoring machine. Despite this being just the second game of the year for Colorado, it’s a known opponent. They have the scout, and a week off to work with it. 


Georgia is coming off a game where they played Vancouver close for a half, and got blown out in a half. The Warriors scored 15, more than 10 came in the second half. Lyle Thompson remains a force of nature, already at 12 points in two games. The firepower on the offense end always jumps out to me on paper. But they have games with things just stall a bit and they can’t find the back of the net. Sometimes it’s a hot goalie, bad shooting night, whatever the case may be, but it happens a bit too often. Brett Dobson is a spectacular goalie, He’s seen nearly 50 shots in each of the first two games, that’s a lot of volume. Colorado’s offense did not look as good as Vancouver’s did last week, but the Swarm defense still will need to stay composed.


The Pick:


Georgia needs to bounce back after a rough second half against Vancouver. The firepower is there, the personnel on paper is there, it’s about execution. The challenge is Colorado just has a way of winning games they really need. It’s how they keep making the NLL finals. When it’s time to win and the stakes are high, they elevate their game. That said, this isn’t a high stakes game. It’s game two for them. Georgia getting goals here is my pick, but if you are actually going to make wagers and bet money, the value is terrible. Georgia +1.5 has -160 odds. I will also be on the under this one.


VANCOUVER WARRIORS VS ROCHESTER KNIGHTHAWKS


When: Saturday, Dec. 23, 7pm EST

Where: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester

How to Watch: TSN+, ESPN+

The Spread: Rochester favored by 1.5, game total set at 24.5 


The Matchup:


This is going to be billed as a shootout, and rightfully so. Connor Fields had 11 points last week and leads in a Rochester team that’s started the season 2-0. This is the first time they’re favored in a game, and are a heavy money line favorite to boot. Fields is joined by outstanding rookie Thomas McConvey, and newly acquired second year star Ryan Lanchbury, who had four points in his Knighthawk debut. The Warriors also have scored 30 goals in just two games. Slowing down a Vancouver team that is coming off an offensive explosion will be the task of the day. 


The Warriors took Georgia to the woodshed a week ago, winning 15-7 in a game that was 4-3 at halftime. Vancouver’s Ryan Martel was, in my opinion, the player of the week in the NLL last week. Adam Charalambides stood out as well, while vets Kevin Crowley and Keegan Bal filled the stat sheet as well. That foursome looks fierce. Aaron Bold was been good in net, and the Warriors defense has looked stout. Owen Grant looks like a star already. 


The Pick:


The billing will be a shootout and I’m here for it. The largest total of the week at 24.5. The Knighthawks are out to as hot a start as they were a year ago, and Connor Fields is once again unguardable at time. But I’m going to take the Warriors here. Their second half against Georgia stood out. You can get Vancouver at +1.5 at plus money, I’m going to take the Warriors here. I'll probably regret it, but tis the season.


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