NCAA Week 12 Betting with Billy Costigan

Editor’s Note: This recurring series is written by Billy Costigan.

Welcome back sports bettors and lacrosse fans! I’m Billy Costigan back to help guide you through Week 12 of the NCAA lacrosse betting slate. Now, let’s pick some winners!

Week 11 Recap

Week 11 of NCAA lacrosse betting saw favorites and underdogs split 11 wins each against the spread, there were 9 overs and 13 unders, and favorites led on the moneyline with 17 wins to underdogs’ 4.

My picks last week managed to go 4 - 3. We had nice wins with Notre Dame and Virginia covering, BU on the moneyline, and the famous Army / Navy under. Ohio State missed the cover for us by just one half point, while failing to hit an empty net goal opportunity at the end of the game.

Also, Princeton was surprisingly outplayed by Harvard. Surprises seem to be the par for the course in the wide open Ivy League. Brown also looked solid defeating Cornell 13 - 8 as a 2.5 point underdog! The underdog winning outright in both betable Ivy games this week shows just how close the teams in this conference are.

With 6 of 7 Ivy’s ranked in top the 14 nationally and only 1 Automatic Qualifier for the winner of the conference tournament, it may be mayhem for those other 5 Ivy’s seeking at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. 

Georgetown, Denver, and Maryland all continued to look strong, easily covering their spreads. While Stony Brook, Hobart, and Umass covered but just barely. There were also 7 favorites that won outright but did not cover the spread: Bucknell, Ohio State, Army, Robert Morris, Villianova, BU, and Rutgers. While underdogs managed just 4 outright wins: Manhattan, Brown, Harvard, and Drexel (notice half the underdog moneyline winners are Ivy League teams). 

Week 12 Report

Hopefully, you were following my Twitter cashed in on our first play of the week! We got a win with St. Joseph’s on +4.5 on the spread for a 0.83 unit profit if you risked 1 unit. St. Joseph’s actually led almost the entire game before falling to Penn 13 -12 in overtime. Watch out for the Hawks if they can win the NEC conference tournament and get a bid to the NCAA tournament, St. Joseph’s might not be the easiest out. Strong faceoffs, goaltending, and transition play could serve them well come later in May.

Here are the lines for Week 12 including two early week games that already happened.

 I am trying out a bit of a higher volume approach this week now that it’s later in the season and we have a good amount of data on teams. All together I have 10 bets and 5 leans. This of course does not mean you need to run out and place 15 wagers. You should take what you already know, build with what I have here, and decide for yourself where you're confident in placing your money this weekend, a 2 - 1 weekend is great too! Here’s my card for Week 12 and then I will try to break down the bets for you here, but be sure to check my Twitter for potentially more info and statistical preview charts before gametime (any lean breakdowns will be posted there).

My betting card for Week 12.

BET: UMass -200 Moneyline

Drexel does have a slight edge in caused turnovers, clearing, man up offense / man down defense, and defensive efficiency. However UMass leads in ground-balls, faceoffs, turnovers given up, and offensive efficiency. UMass also holds an edge goaltending with junior goalie Matt Knote, whose season high 20 saves against Delaware and earned him Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week honors. Against 6 mutual opponents this year Drexel went 3 - 3 while UMass went 4 - 2 against those same opponents, with an average margin of victory of 3.25 points in those wins compared to Drexel’s 1.66 average margin of victory in their 3 wins. UMass will be highly motivated to get a win against Drexel, which would secure them a bid to the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

BET: Lehigh +1.5 (-110)

Lehigh out ranks Loyola in ground-balls, man down defense, defensive efficiency, and definitely faceoffs. Loyola does have better numbers when it comes to clearing, man up, caused turnovers, and offensive efficiency. However Lehigh’s defense outranks UMass’s 11th to 55th and UMass’s offense only outranks Lehigh’s offense 36th to 51st. Against 7 mutual opponents this season both squads went 4 - 3. Lehigh has been a formidable squad this year, with their dominant face off man Mikey Sisselberger plus their edge in ground-balls and defense they should be able to keep it close this Patriot League matchup close. 

BET: Loyola / Lehigh Under 22.5 (-120)

The under was a play for me because both teams don’t have very high ranking offense’s (36th & 56th) and Lehigh does have a high ranking defense (11th). So we are looking for both offenses to struggle a bit and Lehigh’s defense to keep goals out to help our under and the spread bet on Lehigh. Another great indicator of a potential under is that Loyola ranks 61st and Umass 67th, in terms of offensive pace. When a team is at the bottom of the rankings in this category it means they are more likely to take their time and start attacking the goal later in the shot clock than other teams. This generally leads to less possessions and shots which correlate to the under. Loyla has gone over 22.5 in 7 games this season and under in 6, but Lehigh has only gone over 22.5 in 4 games this season and stayed under 8 times. 

BET: Georgetown -4.5 (-115)

Villanova has had a decent season putting up a 8 - 4 record but I don’t believe they are any match for the #2 Georgetown and their 12 - 1 record in this meeting of Big East foes. Georgetown holds the lead in every statistical category I normally put in my previews except man up offense and man down defense. Both teams beat Providence, St. John’s, and Marquette. However Georgetown beat #13 Penn 10 -8 and #18 Denver 17 - 9. While Villanova lost to Penn 7 - 8 and lost to Denver 10 - 12. Things could get out of hand for Villanova here, they are a good team but Georgetown is great. After covering as 5.5 point favorites last week over Loyola, look for Georgetown to cover today as 4.5 point favorites.

BET: Bucknell -140 Moneyline

Another Patriot League game we will take a shot on today is Navy hosting Bucknell. The Bison are leading Navy going into this game in almost every statistic except clearing and man up offense. This is also what can often be referred to as a “let down spot” for the Midshipmen. Navy is coming off a 12 - 11 win as 4.5 point underdogs against their biggest rival Army. This can lead to false confidence as well as it being hard to get as motivated for their next game against Bucknell without all the excitement that went into the rivalry last week, a game Navy players were probably thinking about all year. Navy no doubt expended a ton of energy to get that win against Army and Bucknell also has had one more day of rest since their last game than Navy. 

BET: Army +1.5 (-135)

Our final bet this weekend in the Patriot League will be looking for #16 Army to do the opposite of Navy by “bouncing back” or “getting right” (off a tough lose opposed Navy’s big win) and keep it within 1.5 points at #15 Boston University. Boston University is a very solid upcoming team leading Army in caused turnovers, ground-balls, faceoffs, and defensive efficiency. However, Army is ranked nationally for a reason (and only one spot behind B.U.), they hold the edge in clearing, man up offense, man down defense, and offensive efficiency. Look for Army to play with a bit of chip on their shoulder after losing to their rivals last week. The Black Knights should also be trying hard for a win here which would secure them a bye into the Patriot League Tournament semi-finals. 

BET: Johns Hopkins -160 Moneyline

In one of two first round Big 10 tournament games, the winner of Hopkins vs Penn State will go on to face Maryland in the next round. Hopkins outranks Penn State in most statistics except for clearing and offensive efficiency. I don’t think those alone will be enough for Penn State to change the result much from their 13 - 10 loss against Hopkins on April 16th. Often gamblers fall into the belief that if teams played recently the result of the new game will “zig zag” and the opposite team will win this time. While I do not have enough college lacrosse specific data to cite this claim, it is my belief that more often the same team wins again, especially if the last matchup was very recent like this one. Hopkins has been trending up most of the season while Penn State has arguably been going in the other direction. Seriously, how much better / worse could either team have gotten in 13 days? Also it feels like Hopkins has some more confidence at least and would welcome another crack at Maryland (even if they really don't have a chance). Whereas it’s imaginable that Penn State players want nothing to do with Maryland, are ready to wrap up their 3 - 10 season, and are already on summer vacation in their heads. Possibly the bit of a rivalry here keeps it close, but hopefully the Blue Jays can win by at least 3 (again).

BET: Ohio State -2.5 (-120)

The other first round Big 10 Tournament sees #10 Ohio State host their bitter rival Michigan for the right to play Rutgers in the second round. Michigan does lead in caused turnovers defensive efficiency. However Ohio State should be able to crack Michigan’s 28th ranked defense with their 14th ranked offense. Ohio State has also faced much tougher competition all year than Michigan. The same view from the Hopkins / PSU game applies here. Ohio State defeated Michigan 14 - 12 winning outright but missing the cover by just a half point (which included a missed empty net goal at the end of the, which if it goes in, OSU covers). So hopefully in this rematch the much more battle tested Ohio State can get that extra half point and the cover.  

BET: Notre Dame -4.5 (-125)

This Atlantic Coast Conference game is another rematch as Notre Dame beat Syracuse 22 - 6 on April 2nd. Syracuse has a promising future with their new talented coaching staff but this has not been their year and the Orange are already eliminated from postseason contention. Syracuse does surprisingly hold the lead in several categories including caused turnovers, ground-balls, and faceoffs. However Notre Dame is the far superior team and in addition to wanting to beat a conference foe, Notre Dame will be hungry for a win to further solidify their chances of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. As with only 5 teams and no conference tournament the ACC does not receive an automatic qualifier bid to the NCAA tournament. Don’t worry though after stomping Syracuse a 2nd time, and with the rest of their resume, Notre Dame should get in and do just fine come May Madness.  

BET: Duke -4.5 (-125)

With arguably the best attackman in Chris Gray, solid faceoff play, a good coach, and many other contributors; expectations seem to have fallen a bit short for #19 North Carolina with their 8 - 5 record and the possibility of not making the NCAA tournament. #11 Duke sports a 10 - 5 record and will be looking to repeat their April 2nd 15 - 6 stomping of UNC. It should be no problem for the Blue Devils to cover this spread as they lead UNC in almost every relevant statistic. I still maintain that Duke might get surprised with an early exit in the NCAA tournament against a good team, but this weekend Duke’s opponent just doesn’t have what it takes. 

Sport Betting Tips & Conclusion

Let’s just talk a little more about building cases for your bets and the importance of correlating information and bets together. Remember last week when we talked about having as many factors as possible on your side before placing a bet? If you look through my breakdowns you should see that for each bet I try to find multiple reasons to place the wager. Different factors often build on each other. 

You can try to look for statistics that go together to help build a stronger case. For instance if a team is leading in caused turnovers, ground-balls, and clearing then that is a much stronger case than leading in just one of those categories, because usually a caused turnover involves picking up a ground-ball and then clearing it. Leading in faceoffs also goes well with ground balls. With the Lacrosse Reference statistic Game Control it is a much stronger indicator if the team leading in control is also leading in categories such as RPI, Strength of Record, and Strength of Schedule. That is because those other three categories help in different ways to measure how strong the opponent was playing when they were “controlling the game”. A higher level of competition makes a game control rating more impressive.

Lastly there is correlative betting. This can often be used when betting totals. If the weather forecast is awful calling for heavy wind and rain, that generally makes it more difficult to perform, and thus correlates to an under bet. Some other Lacrosse Reference statistics that are useful for betting totals are Offensive or Defensive pace and efficiency. Less efficient offenses, highly efficient defenses, or slower offensive pace generally correlate to an under bet as all of these things tend to limit scoring chances and goals. On the other hand highly efficient offenses, less efficient defenses, or fast offensive pace generally correlate to an over bet. 

You can also correlate two different bets together because the types of bets they are often go hand in hand. For instance many gamblers subscribe to the theory that if you are betting an underdog and betting the total you want the under. The thinking is an underdog can only possibly put up so many points on the favorite, so they want to keep it low scoring to keep the favorite from running away with the lead. You can see that I did this with my bets on Lehigh +1.5 and under 22.5 goals in that game. It also helps in this situation that all the statistics correlate together well, as we discussed previously, and the types of bet (underdog and under the total) correlate together as well. The opposite thinking would apply in looking to correlate bets on a favorite and over the total. 

Hopefully you’re as fired up as I am for so many great lacrosse games to watch this weekend! 

You’ll want to be checking my twitter throughout the weekend for possibly more breakdowns or additional details as well as statistical preview charts for games. I will do my best to get as many preview tweets for as many games as possible out this weekend and as far in advance as I can. Updates for Friday’s games might not be out until a little closer to game time tonight but Saturday’s and Sunday’s should be out well before the games start.

As always, my DM’s are open with any questions you may have about lacrosse or sports betting @bCostigan84 on Twitter. 

Best of luck and let’s cash some bets!

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