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College Lacrosse Best Bets: Week 1

With the widespread legalization of sports gambling, including my home state of Massachusetts, Lacrosse All Stars is committed to creating more gambling content to serve those who choose to partake. At the moment, there’s only a handful of sportsbooks who offer college lacrosse bets (Bet MGM, Barstool Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, etc) but for now I’ll use odds provided by DraftKings.  

I’ll provide my rationale for every pick. If I don’t lose riders boatloads of money, maybe this will become a weekly segment. Just a thought. I’m not a huge believer in placing bets during Week 1 with roster uncertainty and a lack of data, but there are a couple of college lacrosse bets that jumped out. 

Johns Hopkins Moneyline (-115) vs Jacksonville

The Dolphins had a program-altering season in 2022 in large part to their early season triumphs over blue bloods Duke and Denver. John Galloway has elevated the lone Floridian D1 men’s lacrosse program to a preseason ranking and a not-so-sneaky NCAA tournament candidate. There’s a lot of pressure on Jacksonville to build off their 2022 success. 

It won’t be easy against a rather untalked about Johns Hopkins team; if that’s even possible. Last year, Jacksonville suffered their lone February loss in the opener against Johns Hopkins. They’ll have a chance for redemption at “The Rock” under the lights on Saturday night. 

I’m a little concerned with Jacksonville after reports revealed the Dolphins lost their scrimmage versus D3 powerhouse Lynchburg. Max Wauldbaum, a first-team preseason ASUN selection, returns alongside Georgetown transfer attackman Dylan Watson. Lacrosse fans should be excited because this duo will certainly provide a handful of highlight reel plays throughout the season. I’ll set the over/under at 1.5 SportsCenter Top 10 plays. 

Hopkins returns a veteran roster led by attackmen Garrett Degnon and Jacob Angelus. I’m a big believer in Hopkins’ transfer Russell Melendez, my No.1 breakout candidate, who brings a dynamic dodging threat from GLE. He should be in the mix early. Rumors suggest sophomore FOGO Logan Callahan was dominant against Denver’s Alek Stathekis during their scrimmage last weekend. If Callahan can control the X, Hopkins could have a huge possession advantage. 

We’ve already seen some early line movement; Jacksonville opened as (-155) favorites and today it sits even at (-115) each. It should be a dogfight, and I wouldn’t suggest placing more than one unit on this game. With that being said, I like Hopkins to steal a road victory and earn their first ranked win of the season. 

Parlay: Syracuse Moneyline and Denver Moneyline (-109)

For those who are new to sports betting, a parlay is a type of bet that combines two or more wagers into a single bet. All the wagers in a parlay must be correct in order for the bet to win the wager. If any of the legs lose, the entire parlay loses. Parlay’s typically offer better odds because the odds for each leg are multiplied. Placing parlays is typically a good betting strategy when a user sees a favorable matchup but doesn’t want to lay a high number on a straight bet. 

To be completely honest, this is more of a narrative college lacrosse bet than anything else. Syracuse welcomes the No.1 recruiting class including highly touted prospect Joey Spallina to the party. Gary Gait and Dave Pietramala begin year two with a talented transfer class, and another recruiting class of their own. Transfers such as Will Mark (LIU), Alex Simmons (Denver), and Cole Kirst (Lehigh) are expected to make early contributions. The Orange rolled Holy Cross 28-5 in last years opener, and another fast start is on the table with Vermont losing leading scorer and No.1 NLL draft pick Thomas McConvey to Virginia for a grad year. Syracuse has never lost to Vermont in program history, and I don’t think that starts on Saturday. 

Arguably the greatest college lacrosse coach of all-time announced his retirement after the conclusion of the 2023 season. Bill Tierney, the only D1 men’s lacrosse coach to win national championships at multiple schools, has already cemented his legacy as one of the best to ever coach the game. His final season begins with a home game against geographical rival Utah. Although relatively underrated, Denver returns a plethora of talent including JJ Sillstrop, Malik Sparrow, Richie Connell, and Alek Stathekis amongst others. There’s no such thing as a sure thing in sports betting, but I’d be shocked if either Syracuse or Denver dropped their home-opener. 

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