Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders Betting Odds & Picks for Saturday MLS Cup (Dec. 12)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Seattle Sounders standout Gustav Svennson, center, celebrates his goal with teammates.
- Columbus seeks its second title Saturday when it hosts defending champion Seattle in the MLS Cup.
- The Crew will be missing stars Darlington Nagbe and Pedro Santos, who had COVID-19 positive tests.
- Jeremy Pond details why the Sounders will repeat and capture their third title in five years below.
Columbus vs. Seattle Odds
|Columbus Odds||+170 [BET NOW]|
|Seattle Odds||+155 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+235 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-114/-114) [BET NOW]|
|Day/Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
It all comes down to this final moment of the Major League Soccer season.
Two teams, each with the same goal of raising the MLS Cup after game’s end.
Things will be at a fever pitch Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium when Columbus hosts reigning champion Seattle in the finale.
The Crew, who are seeking their second MLS title, reached the title match via a 1-0 shutout win over New England in the Eastern Conference Final.
On the other side, the Sounders are going after their second consecutive crown and hope to solidify themselves as one of the league’s most decorated dynasties. Seattle reached this point following its stunning, 3-2 victory over Minnesota in the Western Conference championship.
That all said, let’s take a look at what could be in line for the grand finale.
This has truly been a magical run for manager Caleb Porter and his club, who needed wins against the New York Red Bulls, Nashville and New England to secure its spot in the final.
Columbus never had to leave the friendly confines of MAPFRE to reach this point, either, after Philadelphia and Toronto FC were upset in the first round of the postseason tournament.
You would think the Crew would fancy their chances of winning their first title since the 2008 season, even with a red-hot Seattle outfit coming to town.
However, Columbus was dealt not one, but two, massive blows in the lead-up to this showdown. Star players Pedro Santos and Darlington Nagbe have been ruled out of the match after positive COVID-19 tests during the team’s regular screening process.
Suffice it to say, Santos and Nagbe simply cannot be replaced.
They brought so much to the Crew’s lineup, particularly on the offensive side of things, and will be sorely missed. Porter will have to do some major tinkering to his formation and lineup to give his side any sort of chance at winning the title.
When looking at the statistical data, Columbus concluded the regular season with a respectable 30.8 expected goals for and 29.9 expected goals against, generating a +0.9 xGDiff and +0.04 xGDiff/90 minutes.
As I mentioned in my Eastern Conference Final preview, the Crew’s xGDiff and xGDiff/90 minutes were shockingly average for a club that finished third in the standings.
If the Sounders weren’t considered a dynasty before this match, they should be now without any debate.
Seattle is making its fourth appearance in the MLS Cup over the last five years, winning titles last season and four years back in the 2016 campaign. Both times the Sounders defeated Toronto FC to win those championships.
Locking up a spot in this year’s final almost didn’t happen.
Seattle trailed, 2-0, but scored three unanswered goals deep in the second half, including Gustav Svensson’s stoppage-time winner, to stun Minnesota and complete the miraculous comeback.
Unlike Columbus, manager Brian Schmetzer has a healthy roster at his disposal and will look to put the opposition on its heels from the start. The talented triumvirate of Nicolás Lodeiro, Raul Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris led the way for the Sounders, who didn’t have to play away from home prior to this tilt.
When comparing Seattle’s numbers to Columbus, the visiting side was not only better than its foe, but was also the cream of the MLS crop.
The Sounders boasted an insane 41.8 xG and solid 20.9 xGA, which resulted in an impressive +20.9 xGDiff and +0.95 xGDiff/90 minutes. Those advanced metrics were No. 1 in among all teams regardless of conference.
Betting Analysis & Picks
If you’re a Columbus fan, you had to be gutted when hearing the news about Santos and Nagbe. As mentioned, the loss of those stars is crushing and puts the Crew up against the wall against its relentless, attack-minded opponent.
With that in mind, I am backing Seattle to safely defend its crown and solidify itself as one of the greatest franchises in league history. The Sounders simply have too much firepower at their disposal and a veteran goalkeeper in Stefan Frei, who seems to play his best on the biggest stage.
If you recall, Seattle was one of four clubs I highlighted in my Futures plays story, so I am going to ride the Cascadia juggernaut and hope my ticket at +500 odds cashes in the championship.
I will also tack on a few more wagers, playing Seattle on the moneyline at +150 odds and to lift the trophy at -130, with latter giving me some added coverage.
Finally, I am going to throw a little on the total staying under the alternative number of three goals as well. My feeling is Columbus is going to have a tough time generating any offense, which should keep this game low scoring and close throughout the match.
Picks: Seattle ML (+150) | Seattle To Lift Trophy (-130) | Total Under 3 Goals (-175)