Maryland A Big Betting Favorite In NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament

Georgetown and Virginia are among the teams capable of upsetting Maryland
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The University of Maryland’s men’s lacrosse team hasn’t dropped a game all season, and the Terrapins (14-0) will likely be favored in every postseason contest this May. The top-seeded team in the NCAA Tournament, Maryland is also the heavy betting favorite to win the national championship. 

Some major national sports betting operators offer odds on the men’s lacrosse tournament, giving crazed college sports fans a chance to legally wager on something outside of football and basketball season. BetMGM lists Maryland at -140 to win the national championship, and no other program has odds shorter than Georgetown’s (+600).

Maryland’s last loss came to Virginia in last year’s national title game. The defeat came after a 15-0 start to the season.  

Once slowed down by poor face-off performance, the Terrapins are one of the nation’s best in just about every statistical category this spring.

“They were in the 20s last year, I believe, in the adjusted face-off rate, and this year they’re No. 1 to go along with No. 1 on offense and No. 2 in defense,” Zack Capozzi, founder of Lacrosse Reference, said. “The weakness that they’ve had maybe in years past, now they’ve got the best face-off unit in the country after you apply the [strength of] opponent adjustments.”

To win the title this year, the Terps may have to go through Virginia (+1000 at BetMGM) early in the tournament. Led by head coach Lars Tiffany and attacker Connor Shellenberger, UVA won national championships in 2019 and 2021 and was a title contender in 2020 beore COVID-19 prematurely ended the season.

“I am big on the numbers, but it’s hard to kind of discount the track record that Virginia has,” Capozzi said. “The numbers can say whatever they want, but when you’ve got a team that’s won two straight [national championships,] they’re always gonna be a challenge.”

If UVA opens the tournament with a win over Brown, Tiffany’s alma mater, the Cavaliers will likely face Maryland in the quarterfinals. DraftKings has the Cavaliers as -235 moneyline favorites to take down Brown.

A Maryland-Virginia matchup would pin title contenders against each other, with the college lacrosse world turning its eyes toward the former ACC foes. Maryland beat Virginia 23-12 earlier this season, demolishing the reigning champs. 

Potential champions outside Maryland

“I would take the field over Maryland, if given a choice,” Capozzi said. 

If you want to bet a team other than Maryland, options are abundant. The issue is narrowing down which team outside the Terrapins has the most value as a national title pick. 

Outside of Maryland, Georgetown and Virginia are legitimate contenders to win the title. Other teams in the championship conversation include Ivy League programs Penn, Cornell, and Yale. All three programs are +1000 at BetMGM. 

Rutgers (+1200), Princeton (+1400), and Brown (+1800) are also possible title contenders with redeeming qualities. If you’re hoping to channel recent Kentucky Derby upset vibes, Manhattan holds the longest odds (+25000) to win the national championship. 

When it comes to pinning a potential longshot to make a deep run, Capozzi thinks Richmond (+2500) is a team worth watching. The Spiders are 11-4 with an impressive 17-13 win over Virginia on their resume. 

“They’re ninth in adjusted offense, seventh in adjusted defense, seventh in adjusted save percentage,” Capozzi said. “They look like a top-10 team, and obviously they were seeded 14th.”

Richmond opens the tournament against No. 3 seed Penn on Saturday afternoon. BetMGM and DraftKings have the Spiders as +250 moneyline underdogs in the matchup. 

“That’s the kind of team that if they can win some face-offs, then they could easily make a run and maybe surprise somebody by getting to the Final Four,” Capozzi said. 

The tournament begins Wednesday with a pair of first-round matchups, but most of the early round action begins this weekend. The 18-team tourney concludes on Memorial Day, with a national champion being crowned on May 30.

Photo: Shutterstock

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