Columbus Crew vs. Atlanta United Betting Preview: Our Updated MLS Odds, Picks, Predictions & Expert Tips
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Columbus Crew standout Lucas Zelarayán.
Columbus vs. Atlanta Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-145 / +100)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 5:30 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||FS1 | fuboTV|
|Odds updated as Sunday afternoon via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Columbus looks to continue its second-half climb up the Eastern Conference standings Sunday when it hosts Atlanta United in Major League Soccer action.
The Crew have lost only once in their last 12 games, while ascending from 11th to fifth place in the East following their 1-1 draw against Colorado last time out.
On the other side, Atlanta has only four wins from its last 20 matches and suffered a midweek 2-1 home loss to the New York Red Bulls.
In their previous meeting, Columbus earned a 2-1 victory on May 28 in Atlanta.
This season you have to divide life into before and after time as it relates to the arrival of striker Cucho Hernández.
The Crew have scored 12 goals in seven matches since signing the former Watford man. Hernández has six of those goals, already making him the team’s second-leading scorer.
Prior to that, Columbus had scored only 20 times in its first 17 matches and at one point went through a stretch of scoring only 10 goals in 13 games.
If there’s any room to worry, it’s on the other end of the pitch, where it has conceded multiple goals in four of its last seven games.
By The Numbers
- +3 — Columbus’ goal difference since Hernández’s debut.
- -1.8 — The Crew’s combined xGDiff in Hernández’s seven games.
Manager Gonzalo Pineda’s squad is one of only four MLS sides that has won only once on its travels.
However, the performances have improved of late, with Atlanta taking a point in three of its last four away. And it scored equalizers after the 80th minute in two of those contests, which resulted in 2-2 draws against New York City FC and FC Cincinnati.
More generally, Atlanta has also scored after the 80th minute in its last three games and had a similar stretch of three games in a row from March 19 to April 2 of this year.
That suggests a certain resiliency, but also that Atlanta is fortunate to still have even a puncher’s chance at a late playoff push. Those goals helped earn points in five of those games.
By The Numbers
- -4.9 — Atlanta’s away xGDiff this season.
- -9 — Atlanta’s away goal difference this campaign.
Betting Analysis & Picks
I rarely ever back Anytime Goalscorer wagers as my top pick because of unreliable MLS injury reporting. However, the +140 odds and implied 41.7% probability on Hernández are forcing me to make an exception.
His six goals scored in five of seven appearances are only part of the reason. Hernández is over-performing his xG by only 1.1, has had at least 0.5 xG in four of this seven games and has had at least 0.2 in all seven outings. He’s averaging 0.6 xG per 90 minutes. Hernández might not score 30 goals in a full season, but a 0.50 goal-per-game pace seems sustainable.
Additionally, seven of the current top 10 players in the MLS Golden Boot race have played Atlanta. In nine games total, six of them have scored.
Hernández is a virtual lock to start. If for some reason he doesn’t, think about a play on Columbus to win the first half at +145 odds and an implied 40.8% probability.
Columbus’ recent overall xG numbers and Atlanta’s flair for late drama concern me on the 90-minute moneyline wager. However, I’m more comfortable on a halftime play, with it hitting in 14 of 24 games in the relevant home/away splits.
The Picks: Cucho Hernandez — Anytime Scorer (+140) | Columbus to Win First Half(+145)
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