MLS Saturday Night Preview and Value Plays
Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New York Red Bulls players celebrate in Atlanta.
While three value plays are pending for Friday night, there’s a busy seven-match slate to dive into for Saturday, including:
- Real Salt Lake at Seattle Sounders (5 p.m. ET)
- Philadelphia Union at New York Red Bulls (7 p.m. ET)
- Portland Timbers at Colorado Rapids (9 p.m. ET)
After analyzing each of Saturday’s matchups, I’ve picked out two plays offering value (Season Record: 25-23-2, +16.15 units, 34% ROI).
(All lines as of Friday 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).
Here are the largest moneyline moves since Saturday’s matches opened:
The biggest adjustments have been toward LA FC, Minnesota and Colorado, all playing on home soil.
Real Salt Lake at Seattle Sounders (Saturday, 5 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Seattle -169, Real Salt Lake +493, Draw +311
Total: 3 goals (u-123)
Real Salt Lake are rapidly sliding down the standings in the MLS and they find themselves as big road underdogs in Seattle. RSL have given up an unhealthy number of shots on target this season and are winless in their last 10 road games dating back to last season.
The Sounders aren’t doing much better and are stuck at the bottom of the MLS table. On a positive note, along with D.C. United, they’ve played the fewest number of matches (nine) in the league so there’s time to make up ground. They also have the advantage of extra rest, home-field advantage and complete ownership of Real Salt Lake at home since 2013 (winning all seven games).
On the negative side, they’ve managed to score just seven goals this season and have been shut out in six of nine games.
Seattle opened as big -162 favorites and took all early action to push the line up to -185/-190. At that point, the market received buyback on Real Salt Lake and the draw, so odds are now back to the opening numbers.
Both teams desperately need to improve, but Seattle really can’t afford to drop any points at CenturyLink Field against a weak opponent. The Sounders should win at home, but I’m not sure they’re healthy enough to warrant the high line of -169. Instead, I believe there’s value on these teams splitting the points so take the draw (+311).
Philadelphia Union at New York Red Bulls (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: NY Red Bulls -200, Philadelphia +547, Draw +357
Total: 3 goals (o-125)
Both clubs are coming off impressive victories last weekend with the Union demolishing Real Salt Lake, 4-1, and the Red Bulls beating Atlanta United on the road, 3-1.
New York has steadily become one of the top teams in the league and now listed at 10-1 to win the MLS Cup. Philadelphia, despite some recent success, is still a huge long shot at 80-1, but that’s a lot better than the 150-1 odds from just last week.
For Saturday night’s matchup in New York, the Red Bulls opened -200 and quickly dropped down to -180 before trickling back up to -200. Public bettors are having no problem laying the big number but I wouldn’t be so quick to count out Philadelphia on the road.
The Red Bulls have yet to draw a game all season, but I think that streak ends this weekend. By betting against NY, you’re going contrarian and selling very high since they’ve been one of the best teams in the league lately. Most bettors think this will be an easy home victory, especially since they just beat Atlanta, but this feels like a ‘trap’ game. I think Philadelphia will surprise people this weekend and I like the value on the draw (+357).
Value Plays (Season: 25-23-1, +16.15 units, 34% ROI), All plays risk 1 unit
Seattle/Real Salt Lake Draw (+311)
NY Red Bulls/Philadelphia Draw (+357)
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 (6-1) to win the 2018 MLS Cup.
- The biggest movers since preseason are LA FC (40-1 to 17-2), best odds of any Western Conference club.
- Real Salt Lake, San Jose and Montreal have seen their odds continue to climb the entire season.
Don’t forget to visit our 2018 World Cup Central page for all the latest odds, analysis, value plays, injuries and more.