It is the NCAA Lacrosse final four as Notre Dame and Virginia meet in Philadelphia. It is time to continue our NCAA Lacrosse odds series with a Notre Dame-Virginia prediction, pick, and how-to-watch.

Notre Dame opened the season hoping to return to the final four after falling in the quarterfinal in 2021. It would be their first final-four appearance since 2015. Now they look to win this one, and make their first finals appearance since 2014, and hopefully win their first title. The season started hot winning six straight games, including a triple overtime win over Maryland, and a ten-goal win over Michigan.

Then came their first loss of the year on March 25th, a five-goal loss at home to Virginia. they would rebound though to take out Duke and UNC, before losing by four to Virginia again, this time in Charlottesville.  In the tournament, it was an easy win over Utah to open at home, then a win over Johns Hopkins to bring them to the final four. Their only two losses of the year are at the hands of UVA, who will be trying to make it three.

Virginia won the whole thing in 2021, their seventh title in program history. Last year was a quarterfinals exit for the Cavaliers as they hope to head back to the top of the mountain this year. The season opened with six straight wins, including games over Michigan, Johns Hopkins, and Towson. Then, they had their first loss of the year, falling by a single goal to Maryland. Conference play found two wins over Notre Dame, and wins over North Carolina and Syracuse, but they lost twice to Duke, by a combined three total goals.

Here are the Notre Dame – Virginia NCAA Lacrosse odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

NCAA Lacrosse Odds: Notre Dame-Virginia Odds

Notre Dame: +1.5 (-134)

Virginia: -1.5 (+110)

Over: 27.5 (+100)

Under: 25.5 (-105)

How To Watch Notre Dame vs. Virginia


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Why The Notre Dame Could Cover The Spread

Any conversation about Notre Dame winning has to start with Tewaaraton Award finalist Pat Kavanagh. The first-team All-American attackman is one of the best in the nation.  Kavanagh has only 23 goals this year, but his presence causes defenses to move toward him and create openings. This has resulted in him dropping 50 assists on the season, and leading the team with 73 points. The senior has been named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award Twice. He has been a second-team All-American and a third-team All-American before making the first team this year. He has also broken the Notre Dame record for assists in each of the last three seasons.

Ultimately, most of his assists are being sent to his little brother Chris. Chris Kavanagh has scored 43 times this year, many off of great passes from his brother. The one-two punch, combined with the All-American midfielders Eric Dobson and Brian Tevlin make this offense very hard to stop. This team is not all about offense though, they have a great defense led by first-team All-American goalie Liam Entenmann. Entenmann is fifth in the nation in save percentage this year at 56.7%. He is also fourth in the nation in goals against average at 9.41. He has done all of this while playing against some of the best offenses in the nation.

What has helped him the most is a defense that allows very few shots. Notre Dame has allowed just 134 shots on goal this year, with a defense led by Chris Fake. Fake was named a second-team All-American this year and is a physical shutdown defender that makes it hard for guys to get shots on the cage. Beside him is Christ Conlin, who gives Notre Dame two long poles that can stop almost any attack in the nation.

Why Virginia Could Cover The Spread

Virginia leads all of Division I with ten All-Americans, including their first-team All-American defenseman Cade Saustad. Saustad and his partner in crime Cole Kastner will be tasked with guarding the Kavanagh brothers. Both of them have prior NCAA final four experience and experience against the brothers. They are big, strong, and lengthy defenders that can use their extra length to disrupt passes and keep the Kavanaghs from creating great chances. Behind them will be Matthew Nunes in goal. Nunes is a solid goalie who has a 52.5% save percentage on the year. He does have some trouble with clearing the ball. He gets a little panicked at times and will need to keep his nerves down to not cause unnecessary turnovers.

The offense is led by Connor Shellenberger. Shellenberger is known for his performances in May. Against Georgetown, he put in six goals and four assists. Shellenberger has become one in the nation at attack. His vision is wonderful and allows others to get easy looks at the goal with his passing. He has 27 goals and 52 assists on the season.

While Schellenberg is the focus, many of those assists went to the combination of Xander Dickson and Payton Cormier. Dickson was named a third-team All-American by scoring 60 goals and having 22 assists on the season. Cormier is an honorable mention All-American for his 51 goals and 12 assists on the season.  Ultimately, the offense is not just about the attack though. Midfielder Thomas McConvey is a major part of the offense too. Furthermore, McConvey was named a second team All-American as he scored 27 times this year and added 22 assists.

Final Notre Dame-Virginia Prediction & Pick

Notre Dame is out for revenge in this game. They have the best player on the field in Pat Kavanagh. Conversely, Virginia has a player who thinks he is better. Both games this year have been tight, so there will be just a few major keys. First, the Virginia defense will have to stop the Kavanaghs. Second, Shellenberger needs to take over the game. Third, he needs help from the rest of this potent attack. That all happens in this one, and Virginia gets their third win of the year over Notre Dame.

Final Notre Dame-Virginia Prediction & Pick: Virginia -1.5 (+110)