The 2022 PLL season gets going this weekend in Albany. We've got all 8 teams in action, a rematch of last year's championship game between the Chaos and Whipsnakes, we get to watch Jeff Teat and the Atlas on ESPN on Saturday night, a healthy Michael Sowers on Sunday, a loaded rookie class, and it's only a matter of time before we get Jake on the call for some of these games.
On today's episode we preview all 8 teams heading into week 1 with their 25-man rosters. There are going to be a few rosters that look drastically different this weekend as they will in a few weeks since some of the players are still fighting for an NLL Championship with the Buffalo Bandits and Colorado Mammoth. That's like half of the Chaos roster, Dillon Ward and Zed Williams. But for the most part, all of these rosters are locked up and even with some missing players they are all preposterously loaded.
Here's what the championship odds look like before we get things going this weekend.
I'd probably hold off on taking that Chaos future for a couple weeks. Like I mentioned, half of their roster is still playing in the NLL right now so they might not get off to the hottest start. Redwoods are a good value pick right now but there are 6 teams that are a legitimate threat to win a championship this summer so I don't think you can go wrong with any of them.
PLL Week 1 Schedule // Albany, NY
Saturday, 2:15pm // Whipsnakes vs Chaos // ESPN+
The biggest thing that sticks out to me here is the total. That looks incredibly low for the two best teams in the league. And because of that…I love the under in this game. You've got Blaze Riorden making his return to Albany where he played his college ball. He's the best goalie on the planet and he's playing in a stadium where he feels comfortable. Plus the Chaos are going to have to play a great defensive game while most of their offensive firepower is still playing with the Bandits for the next couple of weeks. So give me something like a 12-9 final in this game. I still see the Whipsnakes getting out of week 1 with a W, but Under 22.5 is the play here.
Saturday, 5pm // Redwoods vs Atlas // ESPN
When the 25-man rosters were unveiled, the Redwoods and the Atlas were the two that I instantly fell in love with. You read through both of those rosters and there's not a single player that doesn't make you say "oh that guy's sick" when you see his name. I think both of these teams are primed to have insane summers. You've got two of the best faceoff specialists in the league going head-to-head here with Trevor Baptiste and TD Ierlan, so I don't see one team having much of a possession advantage over the other. Both teams have midfielders who can shoot the piss out of the ball, and loaded with playmaking attackmen. It's about as evenly matched as you could ask for, so I wouldn't be shocked to see the first game on ESPN go to overtime. So give me Redwoods +1.5.
Sunday, 1pm // Waterdogs vs Cannons // ESPN+
I'm not quite as down on this Cannons team as some other folks out there are. But I do think it's going to take this offense a little while before they really start to click. Meanwhile the Waterdogs are coming off a year where they took the 1-seed heading into the playoffs. They'll have a healthy Michael Sowers leading the way. But they'll also be without Dillon Ward in net while he's still playing with the Mammoth. So….I don't have a feel in the slightest for this game. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy watching Lyle Thompson play lacrosse.
Sunday, 3:45pm // Chrome vs Archers // ESPN+
This has to be the year the Archers finally make it happen. The league has been around long enough at this point where the narratives start to form. And right now the narrative is that the Archers are regular season heroes and then choke in the playoffs. They had a scoring differential of +24 last season. The next closest was the Waterdogs at +13. They scored 119 goals through 9 games in the regular season and then come out and only put up 10 in the quarterfinals last year.
Meanwhile the Chrome finished in last place last year. They had a scoring differential of -22. They only had 2 wins on the year, the only team that didn't advance to the playoffs, a shit ton of injuries, they had a few big pieces retire over the offseason, and now it's as close to a brand new team as you can get. Basically what I’m getting at here is that both teams need to come out and have themselves a statement game right off the bat. So I love the over in this one. Give me Over 23.5 and Chrome +2.5 to keep it interesting.