MLS Week 6 Betting Preview and Value Picks
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
There was a lot of anticipation for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s (pictured above) arrival to the MLS last weekend and he delivered as he always does in incredible fashion. Zlatan came off the bench to help the LA Galaxy overcome a 3-0 deficit to beat LA FC 4-3, including this ridiculous game-tying goal from long distance:
It was just the second time in MLS history that a team has come back to win after going down 3-0, and there seems to be a rejuvenation in the league, at least for the time being. Bettors have been able to reap the benefits of the unpredictability around the league, including our value plays which have started 12-8 for +14.31 units.
There are eight matches on the slate for this weekend from Friday to Sunday, and we’ve previewed each game to find five value plays.
Montreal Impact at New England Revolution (Friday 7:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: New England -122, Montreal +360, Draw +290
The short line of -122 on New England is incredibly tempting– they’re coming off a road victory, which they accomplished once all of last season, to return home where they haven’t lost in 11 consecutive matches. They’re also unbeaten in four straight matches against the Impact. However, Montreal are no slouches this year either, and have already beaten both of 2017’s MLS Cup finalists, Seattle and Toronto.
More than 60% of tickets have come in on the Revs to win at home, but the line hasn’t really budged. This means that it’s mostly just public money so far, or that sharper money has come in on Montreal. A high total of 3 goals indicates the bookmakers also aren’t sold on New England keeping a clean sheet, and I’m not either. Weather could be a factor with snow/rain already happening in the area, and it will be a chilly encounter nonetheless. The Revs should win this game at home, but it has the feel of a letdown game in front of a sparse crowd. Unfortunately I wouldn’t be a surprised if Montreal grabbed a road draw or win, so I’m laying off this one completely.
LA FC at Atlanta United (Saturday 5 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Atlanta -170, LA FC +440, Draw +375
The big question here is how LA FC will respond after embarrassingly blowing a 3-0 lead against the LA Galaxy last weekend. Bettors seem to have faith as the LA FC moneyline has moved from +510 to +437 since opening, while Atlanta’s odds have come down from -191 to -170. There’s also been an adjustment on the draw from +389 to +374.
This match features a very high total of 3.5 goals, although we’ve seen some movement on the juice toward the under (-121). Neither club has had a problem scoring this year, but the lofty O/U is an overreaction to one bad defensive match for each — LA FC giving up four goals to the Galaxy last week, and Atlanta conceding four goals in the opening match to Houston. Aside from those games, they’ve combined to let up just three goals in five matches.
This meeting will be played in a dome so conditions will be ripe for goals, but I still think we’ll see a stingier affair. Under 3.5 goals is the play here.
San Jose Earthquakes at Philadelphia Union (Saturday 7 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Philadelphia -112, San Jose +315, Draw +295
Philadelphia will be happy to return home after another road loss last weekend, 3-0 at Colorado, and the Union have now gone 13 straight road games without a win. San Jose were in better shape up 1-0 against NYC FC, but ultimately lost 2-1, so both teams will be looking to bounce back.
Similar to the Revolution, Philadelphia are getting the majority of tickets at home as a short favorite (-112), but odds have barely moved. In fact, they dipped down to -105 on Thursday morning before trickling back up.
This is a great spot for San Jose to grab a road win, or at least a draw. They come in fully healthy with no suspensions, and managed to get 10 shots on target in their last outing. Players will be eager to finish on Saturday night, so the value here is on San Jose +0.5 goals (+103).
Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas (Saturday 8 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Dallas -210, Colorado +655, Draw +362
A lot of signs point toward FC Dallas here, and I think the moneylines are priced well. We’ve seen a healthy flow of tickets on the home side, who have moved from -200 to -210. I lean toward Dallas but don’t see any value in the odds, so this will be another pass.
Columbus Crew at Chicago Fire (Saturday 8:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Chicago +130, Columbus +215, Draw +272
The Fire come into this match without a win this season, but gained a point in a 2-2 comeback draw vs. Portland in their last outing. The Crew already have three wins, but suffered a 2-1 defeat against Vancouver last week. Oddsmakers give the slight edge to Chicago here at home to get their first victory.
While it’s somewhat of a different team this year, Chicago haven’t been shutout at home in 34 matches, so it’s likely they get on the scoresheet. The high total of 3 goals implies the same, but can they hold the Crew from scoring? It’s tough to pin the hopes on one player, but if Bastian Schweinsteiger can get them organized defensively again, they should get all three points. Go with Chicago +130 to get their first win of the season.
Vancouver Whitecaps at Real Salt Lake (Saturday 9:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Real Salt Lake -122, Vancouver +355, Draw +290
If you’re Real Salt Lake at home, this may be the last opponent you want to see since the Whitecaps have owned them in recent meetings. Vancouver have also won two straight on the road, so the line has surely moved toward them, right?
In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast. They’ve clearly underperformed so far, but sharp MLS bettors don’t mind since Real Salt Lake have moved from -105 to -122 since opening. They were a darkhorse pick of mine before the year and I’m certainly not giving up on them yet. A home match against an overperforming side is a great way to get back on track, so Real Salt Lake -122 is where the value lies.
Portland Timbers at Orlando City SC (Sunday 4 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Orlando City +118, Portland +232, Draw +278
No wins yet this season for Portland, but Orlando City haven’t really figured things out either. They managed to get their first victory last week but conceded three goals at home in the process, and needed a fluke goal to grab all three points.
There’s been slight line movement toward Orlando City since opening (+126 to +118), but I love the value on Portland +232 to get the road win.
Sporting Kansas City at LA Galaxy (Sunday 9 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: LA Galaxy +119, Sporting KC +243, Draw +261
There should be some eyeballs on this match, which will be aired on FS1 Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET. If you have nothing else to watch, it may be worth tuning into Zlatan to see what he can pull off this week. The Galaxy’s comeback last weekend obviously wasn’t solely due to Ibrahimovic’s contributions, but he helped spark the team and the crowd.
LA opened +129 in this match and have moved to +119 at Pinnacle, and even as low as +110 at some sportsbooks. Bettors obviously have no problem grabbing Zlatan and the Galaxy at plus-money, and I don’t blame them. I still don’t like what I see defensively from them, but it’s not worth fading the momentum LA currently have, especially playing at home. I won’t be betting this match but will surely be watching.
Value Plays (Season: 12-8, +14.31 units)
Atlanta/LA FC (Under 3.5 goals)
San Jose (+0.5 goals) at Philadelphia
Chicago (+130) vs. Columbus
Real Salt Lake (-122) vs. Vancouver
Portland (+232) at Orlando City
And for those curious, here’s a look at the updated odds to win MLS Cup:
New York City FC +525
Toronto FC +550
LA Galaxy +1150
FC Dallas +2000
Los Angeles FC +2000
New York Red Bulls +2200
Sporting KC +2500
Real Salt Lake +3300
Orlando City +3500
New England +6500
San Jose +7000
DC United +15000
You can also follow me on Twitter (@ArsenalDMC) for all the latest soccer news and updates.
Cover photo is of LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic