Another Friday, another weekend full of games to entertain us. It’ll be tough to top last week, with heavyweights going down in their opener and new contenders emerging to join the Top 20.
As always, for a full run down of this weekend’s game, check out the Sticks In podcast. Our lines come from DraftKings, and if there is any change, they’ll be updated as best I can before faceoff.
Be warned. I’m not a pro gambler. I’m not even an amateur gambler. I am very bad at this. Last summer I tracked my picks for a PLL season and ended up a handful of units because I got rescued by plus money on player props. But I won’t let a little issue like “aggressively loses money” to stop me from making picks this college season. Or maybe it’s time to call 1-800-GAMBLER.
Fairfield -3.5 over Wagner
Not a sexy game, and I imagine it doesn’t crack the big screen in your viewing set up. I honestly don’t blame you. Neither team is likely going to be there Memorial Day weekend, neither team had a bunch of names on Preseason All American lists, neither team has gotten a Top 20 vote. However, none of that really matters for picking a game, nor does it definitely declare that these teams aren’t worth watching. Jack McKenna is a star at Fairfield. I wrote about him in the fall as he enters this year as a 40+ goal scorer and the reigning CAA Rookie of the Year as a freshman. McKenna is 6-6, 240 lb attackman. Last year, he served as a major off ball threat and as a finisher. In a scrimmage against Yale, and in the Stags first game against Lehigh, he showed he’s much more than that. Against Lehigh he had five goals, four of which were unassisted. Against Yale, he created his own shot several times against multiple different Yale defenders. Dodging from behind, with his length he reaches GLE in about two strides, and once that happens, he has the leverage with his physicality and is getting a shot off. If you remember the early days of the MLL, you might remember Tim Goettelman of the Lizards. Jack McKenna will remind you of him. A massive frame, powerful, gets to spots seemingly easily and can get a shot off. McKenna is the Stags best weapon, but he’s not their only weapon. They still ride well, they still cause turnovers, and have skilled options stepping into larger roles this year. I think McKenna will overpower Wagner on his own, and Fairfield covers this number with ease.
Syracuse +4.5 over Maryland
OK, this is a sexier game. This is the one that I would have on the big screen in the viewing hierarchy. Maryland is in an unfamiliar spot, they’re coming off a regular season loss and they haven’t had one in nearly three calendar years. Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun broke the news that Logan McNaney has a torn ACL, which will end his season. Teddy Dolan looks to be the one who will get the nod, but the Binghamton transfer has his work cut out to take over the spot of a goalie who is 35-2 in his career. Maryland’s defensive midfield was exposed a bit too. The good news, Maryland won most statistical categories in their loss. They won ground balls, Wierman went over 80% facing off, they took more shots, it wasn’t like they were a total mess. Wierman likely has a big edge again when Cuse comes to town. The top billing in this game though will almost certainly be Brett Makar, a 1st Team All American in the preseason, likely guarding Joey Spallina, the new 22 and the sports brightest young star as the top freshman in America. That game within the game will be a blast. But really, I don’t think that’s where Cuse wins or loses this one. The Cuse midfield needs to produce against the unit that is, for now, the clear Maryland weakness, their defensive midfield. Michael Leo and Finn Thompson are super freshmen, this will be the game they can really start writing the story of their Cuse career. If Cuse is to win, I think their midfield will need to carry the day and they’ll need another sharp outing from Will Mark. Either way, I like this one to stay within five goals, so I’m taking Cuse and the points.
Lehigh -3.5 over Hobart
Hobart gave up 14 goals to Canisius. Yes, they scored 20, but giving up 14 is concerning. As with just about Lehigh game this year, the plan starts with Mike Sisselberger. He’s got a solid chance at ending the year and his college career as the owner of multiple faceoff records. Against Canisius, Hobart used three different players at the faceoff spot, with Seamus Schofield and Cam Kewley doing most of the work. Christian Mule, Scott Cole, and Justin Tiernan combined for 13 goals against Fairfield for the Mountain Hawks, Mule in particular looked excellent as the QB of the offense. I think Sisselberger has one of those days where he is up between 70-80% facing off, and Lehigh gets out to a lead that Hobart can’t close just because they won’t have the ball enough.
And finally, something special for all you game pickers. I am tracking spreads, odds, results, and outcomes for every team in DI this year when there is a line available. I am sharing that with everyone for the season. I hope it allows you to bet responsibly and with as much information as possible. Enjoy it yourself, share it others, tell them to visit Sticks In.
Each team has a tab with their schedule on it. This part was due to the incredibly thankless job that Chris Jastrzembski does every year. For each team, you can see the spread, money line, and game total, along with their record for the year both straight up and against the spread. A green highlight means that was a winning outcome, a red means it lost. The lines will be entered once they go live on DraftKings, then again on Saturday morning just before the games start. This way, they will reflect the odds that were available the moment the game faced off. Just about every game should be as up to date as possible, the only challenge is that I’m in Connecticut, and because of the law I am geofenced from seeing any CT school gambling lines. So Yale, Sacred Heart, Quinnipiac, and Fairfield in particular will require me getting lines from someone outside the state. Over the course of the year, you’ll be able to see what teams are best on the moneyline, against the spread, who hits overs the most, and so forth.