MLS Week 12 Betting Preview and Value Plays

MLS Week 12 Betting Preview and Value Plays article feature image

An official issues a red card to Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco Credit: Bob DeChiara – USA TODAY Sports

With most European leagues wrapping up their seasons this week, MLS will have to hold bettors over until the World Cup begins in June.


This weekend there are another 11 matches on the slate, highlighted by three notables on Saturday:

  • Los Angeles FC at Portland Timbers (Saturday 3 p.m. ET)
  • Vancouver Whitecaps at FC Dallas (Saturday 4 p.m. ET)
  • Columbus Crew at New England Revolution (Saturday 7:30 p.m. ET)

After analyzing every match for this weekend, I’ve picked out two plays offering value. (Season Record: 25-22-1, +17.15 units, 36% 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)

Biggest moneyline moves since odds opened at Pinnacle:

There hasn’t been significant line movement around the market yet, but the odds are moving away from both Philadelphia and New England at home. Each line move represents a 1.5% decrease in implied win probability.

Now on to the plays …

Orlando City SC at Toronto FC (Friday, 8 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Toronto -138, Orlando City +381, Draw +306
Total: 3 goals (o-135)

This is a fascinating match for a number of reasons. Toronto FC looked terrible last week in a 3-2 loss in New England and have the second-fewest points (seven) in the entire league. They were already missing forward Jozy Altidore due to injury, and will now be without perhaps the best player in the league, Sebastian Giovinco, due to a late red card against the Revs. I’ve harped on it a number of times already, but they really need to get results before falling too far behind in the East.

Orlando City, on the other hand, have been very successful this season and are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference with 19 points, 12 ahead of Toronto. They had won six straight matches before losing, 2-1, against Atlanta United last Sunday. Although they’ve been leaky defensively all year, Orlando City have scored plenty of goals in order to win games and will be ready to pounce on a prone back line of Toronto FC. This is the ultimate matchup of Overachievers vs. Underachievers.

Toronto FC are rightful home favorites but I’m more intrigued by the movement on the total. It opened at 3 (o-116) but the juice on the over is now up to -135, and nearly 80% of O/U bets have come in on the over. Despite Orlando City playing so many high-scoring games, I think now is a great opportunity to grab the Under 3 (+118). You’re getting an inflated price right now while buying very low on the shaky defenses of Toronto FC and Orlando City SC.

DC United at San Jose Earthquakes (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: San Jose -114, DC United +311, Draw +279
Total: 2.5 goals (o-151)

The San Jose Earthquakes just played on Wednesday night and earned a solid 2-2 road draw at Vancouver. There were tons of scoring chances in that match for both sides, and a draw was probably the deserved outcome.

DC United have lost two straight games by the same 3-2 scorelines, and bettors are envisioning the scoring to continue in San Jose.

However, both teams have given up more goals than they should have this season based on expected goals against (xGA), and both teams’ average goals per game exceed three per game: San Jose (3.6) and DC United (3.25).

Despite the propensity for goals in games involving San Jose and DC United, the betting market has refused to increase the total from 2.5 to 3. Instead, sportsbooks have simply raised the juice on the over 2.5 goals to -151, and as high as -160 some places.

I’m going contrarian here and taking Under 2.5 goals (+136), but you can wait closer to game time to see if the total hits 3 goals. If it does, I would gladly pay the juice on the under. Public bettors think this will be an easy over, but they may be falling into a trap.

Value Plays (Season: 25-22-1, +17.15 units, 36% ROI), All plays risk 1 unit

Toronto-Orlando City Under 3 goals (+118)
DC United-San Jose Under 2.5 goals (+136)

Updated MLS Cup odds (via 5Dimes):

Atlanta United (+500) remain the favorites to win the title, followed by NYC FC (+600), LA FC (+800) and Sporting KC (+900).

My two futures from the preseason are heading in opposite directions: FC Dallas now sits at +1200, the sixth-best odds, while Real Salt Lake have moved all the way up to +7000, tied for fifth-worst odds.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@ArsenalDMC) for all the latest soccer news and updates.

Don’t forget to visit our 2018 World Cup Central page for all the latest odds, analysis, value plays, injuries and more.