In the grand finale of the triple-header at Gillette Stadium on Saturday for the Premier Lacrosse League quarterfinals, the No.4 seeded Atlas and fifth-seed Waterdogs clash for a second time this season. We've highlighted the odds and best picks for the quarterfinal game between the Atlas and Waterdogs.
Without a doubt the most evenly-matched game in the quarterfinals in nearly all respects, the Atlas look to avenge their 16-15 overtime loss to the Waterdogs in Week 8 of the regular season as both teams seek a chance to play the Whipsnakes in the semifinals. The winner of this contest will move on to the semifinals to play the top-seeded Whipsnakes at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. next weekend.
Atlas vs. Waterdogs Game Info
Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 3, 5:10 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
Weather: 84 degrees, 10% chance of precipitation, 9-mph winds
Atlas vs. Waterdogs Picks
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Atlas vs. Waterdogs ML Pick
Waterdogs (+125) ★★
The Waterdogs employ a pick-your-poison type of offense. Kieran McArdle leads the group with 42 points on the season, a combination of 19 goals and 23 assists. He feeds the quick and skilled dodging young star Michael Sowers and perhaps the best shooter in the game in Ryan Brown on attack. The three of them in combination with a midfield led by the likes of Connor Kelly and the best two-way player in the league in Zach Currier makes this a group that’s tough to contain from any point on the field.
On the flip side, the Atlas have an equally potent attack with Jeff Teat, Chris Gray, and Eric Law. They’re also one of the most lethal groups from the two-point range with shooters like Cade van Raaphorst, Danny Logan, and Tucker Durkin. Of course, the Atlas hold the biggest advantage at the faceoff stripe with top MVP candidate Trevor Baptiste. Baptiste is so much more than a faceoff guy, but that doesn’t mean to say he doesn’t dominate at the stripe every time. Baptiste holds the league-high at the stripe with a 70% win percentage. He recorded a season-high 86% versus the Archers in June and also has 10 points including four 1-point goals, one 2-point goal, plus four assists. Not only does Baptiste possess the ability to give his team possession of the ball nearly every time he takes a faceoff, but he also can get the job done himself.
That said, as we saw in the game between these two teams in Denver, even domination from Baptiste at the stripe can’t always beat out a persistent and, quite frankly, pesky Waterdogs team. Baptiste went 69% up against Jake Withers but it was basic errors by the Bulls that let the game slip away, and when you play a team like the Waterdogs, who always play a complete 48 minutes and then some, they’ll make you pay.
Though they’re the underdogs in this matchup, the Waterdogs are the only team to hand the Whipsnakes a loss this season for a reason. In terms of playoff experience and youth, both of these teams are pretty evenly matched. Given what we’ve seen from them this season, the Waterdogs are a team that seems to be built for big moments like the playoffs, whereas the Atlas have slipped a few times in the regular season when the pressure was on.
Again, it’s an extremely close call, but I’m taking the upset with the Waterdogs.
Atlas vs. Waterdogs ATS Pick
Waterdogs +1.5 (-120) ★★★★
Only two of the Waterdogs’ five losses this season were by more than one goal. Due to the balanced nature of this matchup, if the Waterdogs do lose I anticipate another one-goal game.
As I said, the Waterdogs are pesky and always play a full 48 minutes. They didn’t necessarily outplay the Atlas in terms of performance but they did dominate them by playing a complete game and forced overtime to close out, while in the second half we saw the Atlas slip away. I could see the Atlas getting off to a hot start and fizzling out by the end, whereas we’ve seen the Waterdogs thrive in such situations.
Atlas vs. Waterdogs O/U Pick
Over 25.5 (+100) ★★★
Again, as is with everything in this game, it's a coin toss. Due to the value in taking the Over at +100 though, I’ll anticipate a big showing from both these offenses.
For the Waterdogs, while defenses may focus in on Sowers and Brown when they have the ball, McArdle’s been the guy all season who’s done the most damage in the end. As we saw in their victory over the Whipsnakes, he can will his team to a win single-handedly when the ball is in his stick. He’s the guy I’d want on my team in big moments such as the playoffs.
For the Atlas, there are a number of candidates who can do damage in just their individual performance, and while most are probably predicting it to be Teat, I’m sticking with the theme of veterans leading the youth and a big performance from Law. Law has the best shooting percentage in the league and defenses have been sticking the short stick on him all season. Those two could move the needle in the scoring in this game.
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Atlas-Waterdogs picks from 9/01/2022 at 1:44 p.m. ET.