I gotta be honest, it feels like a lifetime ago that the 2021 PLL season started. Which is a good thing because it means we were able to get a long, full summer of professional lacrosse. It all got going 3 months ago on June 4th at Gillette Stadium between the Cannons and Redwoods. Since then, some things have changed and some have stayed the same.
We had an incident where one player bit a piece of another player's finger off. We had a rookie Jeff Teat come into the league 3 weeks late and immediately takeover. We had the Waterdogs prove that maybe ownership doesn't know what they're talking about, and that the team is actually a certified wagon. We had the Redwoods have their season unceremoniously come to an end by a 1-goal loss to the Whipsnakes for the 3rd straight year. And this Sunday at Subaru Park we'll have another few pages to write in this chapter of lacrosse when we get some semifinal action in Philly.
Atlas vs Chaos. Whipsnakes vs Waterdogs. The young bucks, the sandbaggers, the 2x defending champs, and the rag tag group of the year. What a way for this season to come down to it's final game. And lucky for you, we have everything you need to know heading into these matchups on today's episode of The Crease Dive.
Sunday, 11am // NBCSN// Atlas (-152) vs Chaos (+125) // Total: 23.5
The Atlas and Chaos only played each other once this season. That was week 5 in Minnesota and the Atlai won 16-10. Jeff Teat had an 8 point performance and Trevor Baptiste went 70% at the faceoff stripe for the Atlas. Josh Byrne had 4 goals on the day for the Chaos but other than that, nobody really had anything going.
But this has been the Chaos' M.O. for the past couple of seasons now. They're a bunch of sandbaggers. They head into the playoffs looking like one of the worst teams in the league and then they just magically turn it on when the season's on the line. They have the best goalie in the planet in Blaze Riorden, and they're a bunch of guys who thrive when they're being doubted.
Faceoffs and goaltending are the biggest thing when you get to the playoffs. So the Atlas clearly have the faceoff advantage, and then the Chaos clearly have the goaltending advantage. So like pretty much any other game in the history of the sport, this one will come down to who can make the least mistakes and capitalize when the other team makes some of their own. So I'd expect a close, lower scoring game. Give me Chaos +1.5 and Under 23.5.
Sunday, 1:30pm // NBCSN // Whipsnakes (-120) vs Waterdogs -103) // Total: 24.5
The Whips and Dawgs also only played each other once this season. That was week 7 in Colorado and the Waterdogs came out on top 11-6. But it's almost impossible to take anything that happened when Matt Rambo wasn't in the lineup for the Whipsnakes into consideration because the Whips with Matt Rambo are a completely different team. Sure, it was a reallllly strong day in cage for Dillon Ward who saved 76% of the shots he faced that day. Sure, it was a really strong day at the faceoff stripe for Jake Withers who went 74%.
But no Rambo. Zed Williams was held without a point. And this was before the Whipsnakes made the trade for Justin Guterding. So as much as I'd love to give some respect to that Waterdogs win, it just doesn't mean anything in this game on Sunday. Especially considering the Waterdogs haven't played a game since August 14th with the automatic bye to the semifinals.
But they'll be rested, and then Michael Sowers will be super rested considering he'll be making his return to the lineup for the first time since week 1. So you've got hometown Michael Sowers going up against hometown Matt Rambo in Philly. Should be a great show. Which makes me think we should hammer the Over 24.5. But as much as I'd love to see the Waterdogs in the championship, I just can't do it. Whipsnakes -1.5 at +130.
I'll see everybody in the parking lots on Sunday morning.