You're all familiar with a must-win situation in sports. A game which your team just has to figure out a way to get out of with a W by any means necessary. The season depends on it, and any other outcome just won't cut it.
You're probably also all familiar with a can't-lose situation in sports. A game where no matter what happens, your team just cannot afford to drop that that. Do whatever it is you need to do to make sure you don't do the one thing you literally cannot do. Which again, is to lose.
But what if I told you there was a scenario in which your team would benefit to lose? In fact, a scenario in which your team must lose? Because that's what we have on our hands here this weekend as the PLL gets week 10 action underway in Utah. You see, the Waterdogs are currently the hottest team in the league. They've racked up 5 straight wins after starting the season 0-3. They've put themselves in a position where they have already clinched a playoff spot with 2 weeks to go in the regular season. But the issue is just that.
There are still 2 weeks to go in the regular season. You don't want to peak too early in this league. Championships aren't won in August. The job isn't finished until September. Just for the sake of argument, let's say the Waterdogs keep this streak alive for these next two weeks and head into the playoffs riding a 7-game win streak. Guess who gives a shit? Nobody, that's who. This league is way too tight for 7 wins in a row to mean jack shit when it comes to the playoffs. If anything, that'll just put even more unnecessary pressure on the Waterdogs to deliver in the playoffs the same way they did to themselves last year when they went in as the 1-seed. Get that loss out of the way now and then head into the playoffs with practically a clean slate. And with that playoff spot already locked up and nothing but seeding really matters from this point out, the Waterdogs are officially my first career Must-Lose Game of the Year. We'll see if they deliver later tonight when they take on a Redwoods team coming off a big win over Cannons last week in Denver.
We break down that game plus all the others on this week's episode of The Crease Dive. So go ahead and listen to this week's episode before the games get going this weekend starting at 8pm tonight at Zions Banks Stadium in Utah.
PLL Week 10 Schedule // Utah
Atlas (5-3) vs Whipsnakes (7-1) // Friday, 8pm ET // ESPN+
The Atlas have never beat the Whipsnakes yet in the 4 years the league has been around. Also, the Whipsnakes seem to be allergic to covering this season. They're 7-1 on the year but have 7 wins by a combined 10 goals. They get the job done, but they're not going to completely blow teams out of the water. So it might be the low value play here, but Atlas +1.5 is the move.
Waterdogs (5-3) vs Redwoods (3-5) // Friday, 10:30pm ET // ESPN+
I mean I just spent like 3 paragraphs talking about how a loss would actually be a good thing for the Waterdogs right now. Also, Charlie Bertrand has been on fire lately for the Redwoods offense really getting that team going. So jokes aside, I think Redwoods ML is a good play here. Rob Pannell is having a vintage RP3 season, Ryder Garnsey is finding ways to finish the ball in ways that only Ryder Garnsey can, the defense looks solid and Jack Kelly is getting the job done in net. There's plenty to love about the Waterdogs as well, but this is just a game the Redwoods need more. Especially because a win will clinch their spot in the playoffs.
Archers (4-4) vs Chaos (2-6) // Saturday, 12pm ET // ESPN+
I keep thinking things will finally click for the Chaos and they'll get themselves going on a run, and they keep letting me down every time. Maybe they're just waiting for the playoffs to turn it on, which has been their M.O. in the past. But you figure this week would be a good chance to get something going against a team that loves to run and gun. Get into a little back-and-forth pissing match all game here and just hope that at the end of the game your team has more up on the board than the other guys. This game is way more of a toss up for me, so I'm just going to stick to Over 24.5.
Chrome (5-3) vs Cannons (1-7) // Saturday, 2:30pm ET // ESPN+
The Cannons are bad. There's no denying that. They're 1-7 on the season after losing their last 7 games in a row. But the thing to remember is that they're not horrible. Like sure, 1-7 is a horrible record. But Lyle Thompson can get you 6 points on any given night. Ryan Drenner can get hot. And at this point they're really just playing for pride. So I don't think there's any chance they win this game, but I also don't see them getting their ass kicked. Cannons +2.5 it is.