MLS Week 7 Betting Preview and Picks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Sporting KC held Zlatan Ibrahimovic in check last week, and the LA Galaxy were the only home team to lose. Our value plays finished in the black again, going 3-2 for +1.14 units, moving the season record to 15-10 for +15.45 units.
This weekend there are 11 matches on the slate from Friday through Sunday, and we’ve broken down the market for every single one to find the best value plays. Some of the notable matchups include:
- Los Angeles FC at Vancouver Whitecaps (Friday, 10 p.m. ET)
- FC Dallas at New England Revolution (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
- Seattle Sounders at Sporting Kansas City (Sunday, 4 p.m. ET)
- New York City FC at Atlanta United (Sunday, 6 p.m. ET)
(All lines as of Friday afternoon via Pinnacle sportsbook; All betting percentages as of Friday afternoon via offshore market average. Bettors can find all the latest odds and betting percentages with a Sports Insights membership)
Now on to every match …
Orlando City SC at Philadelphia Union (Friday 8 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Philadelphia -128, Orlando City +368, Draw +301
These teams appear to be trending in different directions. Orlando City have found ways to win their last two matches, 4-3, vs. New York Red Bulls, and 3-2, vs. Portland Timbers, while Philadelphia are winless in their past three games. To the naked eye, it looks like Orlando City are a good bet to score and win. However, oddsmakers have made Philadelphia a -128 favorite to get the victory.
Although more than 70% of bets have come in on the Union to win at home, the early line movement pushed Orlando City from +360 to +330. The draw also initially adjusted from +303 to +293, before trickling back up to +301.
Despite the public backing on Philadelphia, I still like the value on them at -128. Orlando City haven’t been able to stop anyone from scoring, and Philadelphia have been stingy defensively, so there’s a good chance this one ends Philly, 2-1. While I usually look for opportunities to fade the public, I think they have this one right.
LA FC at Vancouver Whitecaps (Friday 10 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Vancouver +105, LA FC +278, Draw +276
LA FC look to be in some trouble and were pasted, 5-0, at Atlanta last Sunday after suffering that embarrassing 4-3 loss to the LA Galaxy two weeks ago.
Head coach Bob Bradley feels differently though, and recently said, “In four games, I think we’ve seen enough good things to know we’re going in an excellent direction. Think we’ve seen enough things that still need work. Four games, all away, six points. Not totally satisfied by any means. But as a start, (there’s) enough there that reinforces what we do every day.”
Vancouver have a negative goal differential but have found ways to get results, netting 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. Like LA FC, they’ve already played four road matches and will be happy to return home. Oddsmakers opened Vancouver -117, giving them a 53.9% win probability.
Bettors have had other thoughts though, and have actually been backing LA FC to get a result on the road. Since opening, Vancouver’s odds have moved from -117 to +105, a -5.14% change in expected win probability. As much as I want to back the home side at those odds, it feels like LA FC will turn things around to get at least a draw. I’ll be passing on this game entirely.
Montreal Impact at New York Red Bulls (Saturday 1 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: NY Red Bulls -195, Montreal +596, Draw +353
The Red Bulls opened as huge -210 favorites, and all the early tickets/money came in on Montreal for the second straight week. NY dropped all the way down to -177 before buyback brought the line back up to -195.
Bettors should be aware of the CONCACAF Champions League games that the Red Bulls had been playing in to start the season. The busier schedule has forced them to rotate players and rosters more often than usual, but fortunately they don’t have any glaring injury concerns.
The Montreal Impact are coming off a 4-0 loss at New England, but they suffered an early (and undeservedly, in my opinion) red card in that match which changed everything. Midfielder Saphir Taider will also miss Saturday’s game, adding to a list of unavailable players due to injury.
The line is high (NY -195) but deserved, and there’s no reason to think the Red Bulls won’t get the home win. However, I don’t see much value in backing them at those odds, especially after they were knocked out of the Champions League in disappointing fashion. This will be another pass for me.
Toronto FC at Colorado Rapids (Saturday 3 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Colorado +142, Toronto +216, Draw +238
Toronto FC have only played three MLS matches so far due to their busy CONCACAF Champions League schedule, so there’s no reason to panic because they’re in 20th place in the league. They were also dominant in a 3-1 victory in their most recent MLS match on March 30th against Real Salt Lake, and they’re still arguably the best team the league has ever seen.
Despite all the accolades for Toronto FC, they come into this match as the +216 underdogs in Colorado. The Rapids have been a tough club to play this season, earning two draws, a win and a loss, and it could have been a lot better than that — they’ve given up late goals in three of four matches, which has cost them five points on the season. The results are there, but the Rapids could be atop the Western Conference if they finished those matches off.
This is a great spot for Colorado to win at home against a club that isn’t entirely at full strength.
Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney was recently quoted saying, “Anyone who is healthy and hasn’t been playing a ton will find their way onto the field. I don’t know what my lineup will be. I don’t know what my shape will be.”
This won’t be the usual Toronto lineup, and doesn’t inspire confidence to bet on. At +142, I love the value on Colorado to get all three points.
LA Galaxy at Chicago Fire (Saturday 3:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Chicago +126, LA Galaxy +232, Draw +255
The Galaxy lost last weekend but public bettors are hopping right back on board with nearly 60% of the moneyline wagers. Despite the lopsided ticket action, books like Pinnacle and 5Dimes have slightly shifted the line toward Chicago.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come off the bench in both games for LA thus far and it’s likely that will be the case on Saturday, too. The Galaxy still have plenty of issues defensively and I’m not keen on backing a side that hasn’t figured that out yet. I like Chicago to win here but don’t love the odds– if public bettors can move this line up to Fire +150 then I’d bite.
Columbus Crew at DC United (Saturday 7 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Columbus +164, DC United +183, Draw +243
Columbus were a bit unlucky last week to lose at Chicago, 1-0, since they conceded only one shot on target the entire match. It resulted in the second loss for the Crew this season, but they still boast a healthy 3W-1D-2L record.
DC United had very low expectations heading in to the year, and they haven’t even met those yet. They’re one of three winless teams (along with Seattle and Portland) and have just two points in five matches.
To no surprise, all the early betting action came in on the Crew in this one — Columbus opened +203 but have been bet down to +164. While there’s tons of public support on Columbus, it’s clear they’ve attracted sharp action as well.
DC United will have the desperation factor working for them, as well as being at home. They’ve been a bit unlucky this year but still aren’t a great team and I can’t back them to win. The value play to fade the public here is the draw at +245 odds, one of the better chances for DC United to get a point this season.
FC Dallas at New England Revolution (Saturday 7:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: NE Revs +119, Dallas +242, Draw +262
What has gotten into this New England Revolution squad? They’ve reeled off wins in three of their past four matches and have looked cohesive under new head coach Brad Friedel. They were tied for the longest MLS Cup odds before to the season, but are now middle of the pack. They’ve always been a strong home squad and haven’t lost at Foxboro in 11 straight.
FC Dallas are unbeaten this season but have only six points to show from it, drawing three of four matches. They’ve benefited from playing all their matches at home, and a trip to New England will be their first road test.
Despite early line movement on New England from +111 to +101, odds have shifted toward FC Dallas. Now is the time to sell high on the Revs while buying low on FC Dallas, so grab the Dallas moneyline at +242.
Minnesota United at Portland Timbers (Saturday 10:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Portland -236, Minnesota +657, Draw +424
After a couple of early wins, Minnesota United have not been good, and haven’t scored in their last two games. Portland had high expectations before the season but they’re still searching for their first victory (two draws, three losses). In a match between two disappointing clubs, oddsmakers clearly favor Portland to get the win.
Although -236 seems like a high line, it’s certainly justified in this case. Public bettors are taking the bait on Minnesota (+657) with more than 40% of moneyline tickets, so this is a prime spot to fade the masses. I wouldn’t bet Portland -236 straight up, but they’re worthy of including in a parlay.
Houston Dynamo at San Jose Earthquakes (Saturday 10:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: San Jose +123, Houston +224, Draw +272
San Jose had a 1-0 lead in the first half at Philadelphia last weekend but couldn’t hang on and drew, 1-1. They come into Saturday’s match healthy but will be missing defender Harold Cummings due to a red-card suspension.
Houston benefits from having last weekend off, but they’ll also be without a defender due to a red-card suspension (DaMarcus Beasley).
Around the betting market, there’s been a little bit of line movement toward Houston, but nothing significant. I could see this match going any one of three ways, which means I’ll be laying off.
Seattle Sounders at Sporting Kansas City (Sunday 4 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Sporting KC -135, Seattle +432, Draw +281
Sporting KC just beat LA Galaxy on the road and are coming off back-to-back clean sheet victories. With four wins and 13 points, they sit atop the table in the Western Conference. However, they needed goalie Tim Melia to make a plethora of big saves against the Galaxy and could have easily conceded multiple goals.
The Seattle Sounders are still pointless this year and have lost all three matches without scoring a goal. They’ve also been red carded three times already, which is almost unheard of. Surely no reason to back the Sounders here, right?
This line should be in the -200 range, but MLS is a strange league that doesn’t always make sense. Sporting KC at -135 seems too easy, especially with Seattle missing some key components (Jordan Morris, Clint Dempsey, Osvaldo Alonso, Kelvin Leerdam). All signs point to Sporting KC getting the win, but I’m going ultra-contrarian and taking Seattle +0.5 goals (+125).
New York City FC at Atlanta United (Sunday 6 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Atlanta +100, NYC FC +280, Draw +282
MLS saved the best for last again — New York City FC at Atlanta United is easily the match of the weekend. NYC FC are undefeated and lead the MLS in points (16) while Atlanta United are unbeaten in four straight games and just behind NYC FC.
I’m excited this match will be played in Atlanta on a beautiful turf pitch rather than NYC FC’s embarrassing home field of Yankee Stadium. With a juiced-up total of three goals, we should see plenty of scoring opportunities.
On the moneylines we’ve hardly seen any movement — Atlanta opened -102 and are now at +100. Nearly 65% of bets have come in on Atlanta, but sportsbooks haven’t felt a need to adjust, meaning it’s mostly just public support at this point. Sharp bettors may be waiting until the weekend to factor in this match, so be on the lookout for line movement and betting %’s closer to kickoff.
Value Plays (Season: 15-10, +15.45 units)
Philadelphia (-128) vs. Orlando City
Colorado (+142) vs. Toronto FC
DC United/Columbus Draw (+243)
FC Dallas (+242) at New England Revolution
Seattle (+0.5, +125) at Sporting Kansas City
And finally, here’s a look at updated odds to win the 2018 MLS Cup:
You can also follow me on Twitter (@ArsenalDMC) for all the latest soccer news and updates.
Cover photo features New York City FC midfielder Maximiliano Moralez (10) playing the ball against Real Salt Lake midfielder Albert Rusnak (11).