MLL predictions are tough to make. The teams in the league are all relatively balanced with top level talent, and these players can shuffle in and out of line ups from week to week. On top of that, any team seems capable of winning at any time if 2 or 3 of their guys really go off. So while it’s a difficult job to predict games, each week I will be making calls on the games, and trying to keep my predictive record well above .500!
Photo Credit: Casey Kermes
Last week I previewed all of Major League Lacrosse for 2015, and then made some quick calls on who would win on opening weekend. I went 2 for 3, but missed the Boston over Denver game, where I picked Denver. Funny enough, I also said this was my easiest pick of the week! Still, 2 for 3 on opening weekend is good enough, for now.
[fvplayer src=”https://youtube.com/watch?v=K1elZ0qGrO8″ splash=”https://i.ytimg.com/vi/K1elZ0qGrO8/hqdefault.jpg” caption=”Major League Lacrosse: Top 10 Plays of Week 1″]
MLL Predictions – Week 2
We’ll start off with game predictions, and then add on any other weekly predictions for individual players, things to watch for, etc!
Denver @ Ohio – I’ll take Ohio to rebound with a win here. Both teams are 0-1 (Denver lost to Boston, Ohio to NY) but Denver is still missing a big chunk of their team due to NLL commitments. The Outlaws should still keep it close, but I like Ohio by 2, even though Ohio doesn’t have the same strength taking draws.
New York @ Rochester – I’ll take the Lizards to start the season at 2-0, Trebek. Again, the Lizards are operating at full strength, while Rochester is missing a couple of key players who are still playing in the NLL. With New York’s offensive firepower, I have to take the Lizards, especially early on in the season. I also think NY will benefit from additional face off possessions, and this should tilt the game in their favor. Rochester is struggling at the X right now.
Florida @ Chesapeake – Both of these teams were off last week (nothing like a bye on opening weekend!), so both are really still somewhat enigmatic. This could be the game of the weekend, and I’ve been vacillating between the two when trying to pick a winner. My thought is that it will be a one goal game, but that Florida will emerge with the win. Two-way middies and Casey
Ok, now let’s get to some other predictions, about players and interesting things that could happen!
The Rules Will Have An Impact – There are new rules in MLL for 2015, and they are worth reading. Nothing is game changing, but when there are rule changes, there are also often periods of adjustment. The two biggest rule changes are the face off rule where players must keep two hands on their stick at all times, and the ball caught in the crosse resulting in an instant turnover change. Both will impact draws and possessions.
Matt Gibson Will Continue To Score Goals – The Lizards should expect Rob Pannell and Paul Rabil to continue to draw a lot of attention, and this means Matt Gibson is going to score goals. Gibson was slippery on the high crease last week, and his catch and shoot mechanics were flawless. He’s like a modern Matt Poskay right now, and Poskay is ALSO on New York’s roster. This means teams would have to lock down TWO verified shooters, and playing 4 on 4 vs the rest of NY’s offense is really not an option. So what do you do? Slide from Gibson and hope he misses. My prediction: he won’t. Gibson should never be off an MLL roster again.
Kyle Harrison will have a better day – K18 must have watched the film from last week’s game and asked himself why he hates shooting overhand so much. I know I was asking myself that question… Harrison has an awesome submarine shot on the run or with time and room, but in my not-so-humble opinion, he uses it too much. If Harrison mixes in a better rotation of overhand and 3/4 shots, those sub shots will start to fall as well. I would imagine he shot a LOT this week to get ready for Sunday’s game. In general, Ohio needs to shoot better shots, but K18 can make a big difference.
We will see more points by defenders – Last week we saw one goal (Michael Erhardt) and two assists from longpoles. This week, we will see more points. I hope. Who doesn’t love a longpole goal?
We’ll also see more great checks, but none of them will be a more textbook example of an over the head check than this one pulled off by Kyle Hartzell:
[fvplayer src=”https://youtube.com/watch?v=Blg3MObVTsU” splash=”https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Blg3MObVTsU/hqdefault.jpg” caption=”LongStickMiddie.com Play of the Week: Hartzell Over Head Check”]