MLS Friday Night Betting Preview: North vs. South
John E. Sokolowski – USA TODAY Sports – Pictured is Toronto FC defender Auro (96)
Since there’s a rare three-match slate in the MLS Friday night, I decided to split up the weekend betting preview into two separate posts. In each Friday matchup, the home team is coming off a victory and looking to go on an extended win streak:
- FC Dallas at Toronto FC (8 p.m. ET)
- New York City FC at Houston Dynamo (8:55 p.m. ET)
- San Jose Earthquakes at Los Angeles Galaxy (11 p.m. ET)
It’ll be a battle of North vs. South in each game with FC Dallas traveling up to Toronto, New York City FC heading down to Houston and San Jose taking on the LA Galaxy in Los Angeles.
After analyzing each matchup I found three value plays (Season Record: 25-23-2, +16.15 units, 34% ROI) for Friday night under the lights.
(All lines as of Thursday afternoon via Pinnacle sportsbook. All betting percentages are the offshore market average. Bettors can find all the latest odds and betting percentages with a Sports Insights membership)
FC Dallas at Toronto FC (8 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Toronto FC -124, FC Dallas+358, Draw +272
Total: 3 goals (u-128)
Despite Toronto FC’s place in the table, they’re still one of the MLS Cup favorites (+1400) and are coming off a much-needed 2-1 home win over Orlando City. They’ve been getting healthier, especially in central defense, and will have Giovinco back on the roster following a red-card suspension.
FC Dallas have been the toughest team to beat this year with just one loss, but that hasn’t always translated into wins. Their five draws are a league-high, including four at home, and they squandered a late two-goal lead to Vancouver last weekend. They’ve played only three road games all season and will be very fortunate to get a point in Toronto Friday night.
Oddsmakers opened Toronto FC anywhere from -125 to -135, and the line quickly rose to -145 at some sportsbooks, such as 5Dimes. After the initial line movement toward Toronto FC, there was buyback on both FC Dallas and the draw to bring the odds down. Public bettors have actually taken the road side to win/draw, so it’s a great opportunity to go contrarian on the home favorite.
As much as I like FC Dallas this year, this is just a great spot at a short price to back Toronto FC . The lack of travel for two weeks gives the home side a big advantage, and FC Dallas are basically unproven on the road this season. I agree with the early line movement toward Toronto FC and love that they’re available at the original odds of -124 again.
New York City FC at Houston Dynamo (8:55 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Houston +115, NYC FC +222, Draw +279
Total: 3 goals (o-125)
The Dynamo have been tough to figure out this season as they’ve beaten some of the best (Atlanta) and lost to some of the worst (Minnesota). They’ve also found a way to go unbeaten in their last three matches (two wins, one draw) despite conceding multiple goals in each.
New York City FC have been blown out twice on the road by good teams this season (3-0 at Portland and 4-0 at NY Red Bulls) but are unbeaten in their 10 other matches. With 24 points, they’re just one behind Atlanta United for tops in the Eastern Conference and entire league.
For Friday’s matchup, Houston opened at +122 odds, implying a 45.05% chance of victory. The line has slightly moved in the Dynamo’s direction to +115 (a 46.51% win probability), which surprised me because they’re the inferior team. Even though Houston is at home, I don’t think it will be able to contain NYC FC. A high total of 3 and juice on the over suggests that goals will be scored, and I can see the road side coming out with a 2-1 or 3-1 victory. I love the value on NYC FC (+222) to secure all three points.
San Jose Earthquakes at Los Angeles Galaxy (11 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: LA Galaxy -151, San Jose +395, Draw +321
Total: 3 goals (o-123)
The drama continues for the LA Galaxy as they’ll be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to a red card for slapping an opponent. The Galaxy did find a way to beat the Impact that day, 1-0, after Ibra was sent off, so they can perhaps use that as a positive. However, the win came against the worst team in the league, and LA had previously lost three straight games by a 3-2 scoreline. They’re still outside of a playoff spot and have already lost three home matches.
San Jose wasn’t expected to do much this season and the Earthquakes haven’t. A 3-1 home loss to DC United last week may be the low point so far as they faced a 3-0 deficit within 37 minutes. They’re now the worst home team in all of MLS and are probably looking forward to getting out of San Jose for Friday night. They did beat LA twice last season and could use that as a confidence boost.
LA opened -150, and pubic bettors have had no problem laying that number. Despite the heavy action on the Galaxy, most sportsbooks haven’t budged. Although there are a few that have increased to -160/-165. LA is almost always publicly backed, so it’s no surprise that some books can get away with shading the lines.
The Earthquakes aren’t good, but I still can’t trust the Galaxy defense with or without possession. It’s a buy-low, contrarian situation, and I like the value on San Jose (+0.5 goals) at +130 odds.
Value Plays (Season: 25-23-1, +16.15 units, 34% ROI), All plays risk 1 unit
Toronto FC (-124) vs. FC Dallas
NYC FC (+222) at Houston
San Jose +0.5 goals (+130) at LA Galaxy
Updated MLS Cup Odds (via 5Dimes):
- Atlanta United have shown signs of vulnerability over the last few weeks and have slipped to co-favorites with NYC FC (+600) to win the 2018 MLS Cup.
- The biggest movers since preseason are LA FC (+4000 to +850), best odds of any Western Conference club.
- Real Salt Lake, San Jose and Montreal have seen their odds continue to climb the entire season.
I’ll also have a preview and any potential value plays posted Friday afternoon for the Saturday/Sunday matches.
Don’t forget to visit our 2018 World Cup Central page for all the latest odds, analysis, value plays, injuries and more.