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The 2023 PLL Gambling Retrospective

With the PLL season wrapped up, it’s time to take a look at where there was money to be made. Multiple books offer lines on PLL games, as well as props, futures, and most anything else you’d want to bet on. For the purposes of this piece, I spent the year using lines from DraftKings, so that’s where the spreads and odds come from. We’re also just sticking to the regular season. I hope your picks did well, I hope you didn’t tail my weekly picks because they were not good, and I hope you played responsibly.


Against The Spread


The Waterdogs and Cannons both went 7-3 against the spread this year, the best records in the league. The Cannons were an underdog four times this season; they got goals in each of their first four games, and then not again for the rest of the regular season. They also got plus money frequently early in the year, since they came into 2023 with very low expectations, picked by many to be a basement dweller. As an underdog, they were 2-2 covering three times, and as a favorite they went 5-4 covering four times. The Waterdogs splits as a dog and favorite are the exact same. After starting 0-2 against the spread, the Waterdogs went 7-1 over the last eight, winning outright six times.


A one unit play on the Waterdogs spread every week this season would have you at +10.79 units at the end of the regular season. A one unit play on the Cannons spread every week was a slightly better return - you’d be sitting at +11.33 units at the end of the regular season. The average odds for a bet on the Waterdogs was -106. The Cannons were better value, with average odds this year at -101, damn near even money.


The worst team in the league this year against the spread was, as you can probably guess, the Chrome. After winning outright as an underdog in week one, the Chrome went winless the rest of the year. Not only that, they only covered once the rest of the year. The offense was woeful, as they went under in all of their last seven games. A one unit play on Chrome every week would have you at -4.26 units, helped only by the nice plus money payout late in the year. Their average odds came in at -124, so really not much of a reason to be taking Chrome against the spread all year.


On the Money Line


The Archers had the best record in the regular season at 8-2, while the Waterdogs and Cannons each went 7-3. Waterdogs were a money line underdog just twice all year, so there wasn’t a ton of value in riding the defending champs to win outright. Archers didn’t play a single game in the regular season as a straight underdog, the value for betting them to just keep winning disappearing pretty early in the year. They were a massive money line favorite week one, and never had better value on the money line than -115.


Because expectations were low, the Cannons were straight underdogs in each of their first four games, and won two of them outright. It wasn’t until Week 7 that the value really disappeared for the Cannons on the money line. The Cannons still, on the year, had average odds of plus money, coming in at +106 because of those early games. A one unit bet on the Cannons money line would have you at +10.95 units at the end of the regular season, a heck of a year to be betting just winners.


If it took you a while to trust the Cannons and just went with the Waterdogs and Archers all year, you still did ok. The Archers, because they just kept winning, paid decently well. Risking a unit on the Archers money line every week would put you at 11.32 units at the end of the regular season. So ahead, but not a ton of value there. The average money line odds for an Archers game this year was -151, so not often a great bet.


The Waterdogs had two games where they were at plus money straight up and won both games. The value was also much better, with an average odds this year of -119 on the money line. A one unit risk on the Waterdogs in every game would have you at 9.89 units at the end of the regular season.


Obviously, you don’t need to be a stats genius to come up with the fact that the Chrome were the worst team in the league on the money line. They won their first game of the year at +100, and then lost nine straight. That leaves you sitting at -7 units on the season if, because of some sort of gut feeling you must have had, you bet the Chrome to win outright every week.


Over/Unders


When it comes to where Vegas set the total every game, there wasn’t much variety. It was almost always between 23.5 and 25.5. There were just two games in the regular season that didn’t fall in that range, the last two games of the year for Chrome against Redwoods and Chaos. The total dipped to 22.5 for those matches.


If you polled fans about who would hit the over the most this season way back in May, you’d expect to hear the same couple teams. Atlas, Archers, maybe Waterdogs, a few Whips in there. But nobody would tell you Cannons. And yet, Cannons games went over eight times this year, more than anyone else. Whipsnakes, Atlas, and Archers each hit the over in seven games.


Risking one unit on the Cannons over every week would have you at 12.95 units at the end of the regular season, not a bad return at all.


And now finally, a place to rely on Chrome to make you some money. Chrome were the kings of the under this year, no surprise as their offense struggled so much. They hit double digit goals in just three of their ten games his year. After going over in two of their first three, the Chrome went under in seven straight games. That includes two games with a total set at 22.5, the only two in the PLL all season with a total that low. Chrome went under eight times, the next most in the league was Chaos and Redwoods who each hit the under five times.


Risking one unit on the Chrome under every week would have you at 13.15 units at year’s end, a very solid return.


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