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Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse A Worthy Betting Favorite

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For college sports junkies, Memorial Day weekend brings with it one of the most underrated and entertaining championships of the season. Men’s and women’s college lacrosse national champions will be crowned in the coming days, with the men competing Saturday and Monday in Philadelphia and the women competing Friday and Sunday in Cary, North Carolina.

Sports betting odds suggest the outcome of the women’s tournament is more up-in-the-air with four teams remaining, while Notre Dame is a substantial betting favorite on the men’s side. Even with Notre Dame holding -300 odds to win the championship on FanDuel, Lacrosse Reference Founder Zack Capozzi says not to count out the other four teams in the field.

Capozzi explained that his Elo-based model creates a team strength rating that can be used to create win probabilities for games. Capozzi used his model to “run through various combinations of the final three games,” and the model spit out the following championship probabilities.

  • Notre Dame: 49.1%
  • Virginia: 24.4%
  • Maryland: 15.0%
  • Denver: 11.5%

“Yes, Notre Dame is the favorite, but LaxElo would take the field over the Irish,” Capozzi told Sports Handle via email.

It wouldn’t be outlandish to see a team other than Notre Dame, which is a -750 moneyline favorite against Denver in its semifinal contest, win the title. The Irish, however, have earned their billing as the betting favorite with a sparkling 3-0 record against Virginia and Maryland. They haven’t faced Denver yet this season.

Virginia holds the second-shortest odds on FanDuel to win the championship at +450. Maryland and Denver have +1400 odds. Bettors looking to fade the reigning national champions can take “the field” outside of Notre Dame to win the title at +230 at FanDuel.

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Action Network’s Hutton Jackson, who co-founded Pro Lacrosse Talk, likes Notre Dame to win another championship.

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“Notre Dame is still my pick to win it all, even if the betting value is no longer there on the futures market … They’re the most efficient team on offense and defense, have an elite faceoff unit and win the gritty battles on clears and ground balls better than any other team in the country,” Jackson told Sports Handle via email.

Jackson admits the futures value on Notre Dame isn’t great, which has him targeting a specific first-half bet in the team’s upcoming matchup with Denver. Jackson likes Notre Dame -2.5 in the first half, especially given Denver’s first-half struggles against elite offenses. First-half wagers are available on DraftKings.

“With the exception of last weekend against Syracuse, the Pioneers have trailed at halftime against Duke, Cornell, Yale and Georgetown—all who rank top 6 in offensive efficiency,” Jackson said. “Notre Dame outranks all of those teams in offensive efficiency and we could see a similar scenario play out. I trust the Notre Dame offense to get off to a quick lead and their defense to make enough stops against an outmatched Denver offense to cover the 2.5-point spread in the first half.”

Notre Dame outscored Georgetown 7-2 in the first half of its most recent NCAA Tournament win.

Handicapping the women’s field

On the women’s side, FanDuel lists reigning national champion Northwestern (-110) as the favorite. Boston College (+300), Syracuse (+400), and Florida (+700) check in with longer odds. While the betting odds like Northwestern, Capozzi goes another direction.

“Given the public perception around this tournament, this is going to sound contrarian: I don’t think that Northwestern is really the favorite here,” Capozzi said. “It’s not a knock on Northwestern per se, but it seems like Florida and Boston College are being slighted here. Northwestern is actually third in the current LaxElo ratings behind both the Gators and the Eagles.”

LaxElo’s championship probabilities actually gave the Gators the best percentage chance of winning the title:

  • Florida: 46.4%
  • Boston College: 28.3%
  • Northwestern: 16.7%
  • Syracuse: 8.6%

After starting the season 0-2, Florida has rattled off 20 consecutive victories. The Gators have been dominant of late, winning every NCAA Tournament matchup by at least five goals. They face Northwestern in the semifinals Friday, with Boston College and Syracuse squaring off in the other semifinal.

Florida is a +270 moneyline underdog against Northwestern, and Boston College is a -170 moneyline favorite in its matchup with Syracuse.

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