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Week Four Best Bets - Top Three Games of the Weekend

If you’ve been tailing the picks in these articles, let me open with an apologize. It’s feast or famine. All over map. Two weeks ago? A perfect 3-0. So how do I follow that up? With a nice juicy 0-3. I can’t make any promises this week. Tail at your own risk.

There are a few teams that I’m a fan of this week, and I actually had a more than three games I considered making my favorite. Some of these are games I imagine you may not actually tune into, or even feature teams you might not have watched yet this year. But you should. I firmly believe every team in the country has at least a couple players that deserve a little bit of time on your screen each Saturday.

Fairfield -1.5 over Providence

I’ve had good luck with the Stags and I’m going back to the well. You can get them giving two goals at plus money, and that’s enticing to me. Fairfield has covered in each of their last three games, including two outright wins as a decent favorite. The loss was a 10-8 battle with Richmond, who is no slouch. Providence comes in having lost two straight to Brown and Saint Joseph’s, with the latter being a blowout where they really didn’t have the ball much. Faceoffs have been something of a struggle for the Friars. The numbers are skewed by the Saint Joe’s game a bit where they went 2-26, but they have three players who have taken at least 10 faceoffs, and the highest winning percentage among them 31.7%. Their best outing was a 9-15 day against Holy Cross, and otherwise haven’t won the faceoff battle once. Fairfield aren’t world beaters facing off, but they’re as good or better than some of the teams that already have had big days against Providence. I like the Stags to cover here behind big days from the attack, with Bryce Ford in particularly doing damage.

UMass +3.5 over Yale

This one is always good. Yale head coach Andy Shay spent plenty of time on the sidelines with Greg Cannella, making this game a regular on the schedule. And it’s always close. The line is 3.5, but this game hasn’t been decided by more than three goals since 2009, and they’ve played eight times in that span. Six of those have come since 2017. These teams play close. The UMass defense is quite good, led by Matt Knote in net. He comes in sporting a gaudy 63.5% save percentage, giving up less than eight goals per game. The UMass offense is not packing much of a punch thus far, but the Yale defense has also looked ineffective at times. UMass has a quality win over Army, and I think BU humbled them a bit last week. There isn’t a lot of data here, as UMass has only played three games and Yale just wto. But I’ll take Yale to win the game, and UMass to battle in this one and keep it within four goals.

Penn State +4.5 over Penn

Since the pandemic cancelled season of 2020, Penn has played a total of 23 games (not including a 2021 game with Cabrini). The margin has been greater than four goals three times. The Nittany Lions are now 3-1, and 3-1 against the spread, their lone loss at the hands of Villanova where they lost outright as 1.5 goal favorites. They’re scoring just under 16 goals per game. They’re senior heavy, with experienced players like TJ Malone and Jack Traynor leading the offense. Hudson Bohn and Chase Mullins have formed a nice faceoff battery. Meanwhile, Penn is coming off a loss to Duke in which Handley was largely neutralized by Wilson Stephenson. His shooting percentage through two games is just 14%. You can bet it won’t stay there, but for now, Penn needs to answer the question, “who else can drive this train from the midfield”. Gabe Furey is shooting just under 17%, and Shipley is at 10%. Furey and Shipley will be doing a lot in the midfield with Handley, but that’s not enough for a trip to Memorial Day for me. I’ll take Penn State to cover, as Penn just always seems to play close games, and they’re still trying to get their big guns going.


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