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Columbus vs. Cincinnati Odds, Picks, Prediction: How to Bet Friday’s MLS Match (August 27)

Columbus vs. Cincinnati Odds, Picks, Prediction: How to Bet Friday’s MLS Match (August 27) article feature image

Ira L. Black – Corbis/Getty Images. Pictured: Luciano Acosta.

  • The Hell is Real Derby takes place on Friday night when the Columbus Crew face FC Cincinnati.
  • Both teams have struggled in attack, but Ian Quillen has found a trend that puts value on the over.
  • Quillen breaks down the matchup and delivers his pick below.

Columbus vs. Cincinnati Odds

Columbus Odds-120
Cincinnati Odds+360
Over/Under2.5 (-105 / -120)
Day | TimeFriday | 6:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchESPN | fuboTV
Odds updated Friday via DraftKings.

The Columbus Crew look to a visit from fellow Ohioan strugglers FC Cincinnati in order to snap a six-match losing run when the two sides meet in the latest Hell is Real Derby fixture on Friday night.

The Crew enter the weekend only three points off the playoff places despite their skid, which continued in heartbreaking fashion Saturday as they conceded twice late in a 2-1 home loss to Seattle.

Cincinnati has been only marginally better, going winless in its last 10 games while drawing seven of those. The Orange and Blue were badly outplayed last Saturday, falling 4-1 in a visit to the Supporters’ Shield race-leading New England Revolution.

Crew Dealing With Key Injuries

After losing striker Gyasi Zardes and a couple others to international duty this summer, Crew manager Caleb Porter is now dealing with a nasty injury bug.

At first glance the most damning absences — Zardes (thigh), Kevin Molino (knee) — appear in attack. But it’s defense that has doomed Columbus of late.

The Crew began it by conceding 11 goals from July 30-Aug. 7, and just when they appeared to have righted the defensive ship, they gave up two goals in the space of two minutes in their loss to the Sounders last week.

On the positive side, center back Vito Woormgor returned from an eight-game absence with an ankle injury and played 90 mostly solid minutes against Seattle. Continued absences of Artur (hip) and Perry Kitchen (knee) in defensive midfield are probably showing through of late, though.

In the case of the former, it’s been most of the season: Columbus has conceded four goals in six games (0.67 per game) with Artur in the starting XI and 23 in 15 games (1.53 per game) without him.

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Cincinnati in Need of Attacking Spark

Cincinnati enters this latest battle for Ohio bragging rights with a respectable away record of 3-5-3 (win-loss-draw). For a club with a normal home mark in MLS, that would be enough to stay solidly in playoff contention.

Instead, Cincinnati has been just dreadful at its new brand TQL Stadium, losing three and drawing the other five games it has played there. 

At issue is a roster that just doesn’t have enough breadth of quality attacking pieces to break down teams content to sit deep and absorb pressure when playing away from home.

Luciano Acosta is having a fine season in the playmaking role with four goals and four assists, but he’s not quite at the level to single-handedly lift his club to results. Brenner’s five goals aren’t enough production from a player signed to a Designated Player contract and tasked with being the club’s primary source of goals.

Jurgen Locadia, who arrived last season with English Premier League pedigree, was a dud, with one goal scored in nine appearances while working his way into manager Jaap Stam’s doghouse before exiting the club.

Betting Analysis & Pick

It’s hard to feel good backing either of these sides given recent form. Fortunately, you probably don’t have to in order to find value.

Columbus’ games tend to be played a lot more wide open at home, and Cincinnati’s tend to be far more so on the road.

In 10 Columbus home games, teams are combining for three goals and 2.6 xG per game. The total has gone over 2.5 goals seven times.

In 11 away fixtures for Cincinnati, teams are combining for 3.4 goals 3.3 xG per game. The total has gone over 2.5 goals seven times.

Additionally, this is the eighth Hell is Real Derby meeting in MLS play. There have been more than 2.5 total goals on six of the previous seven occasions.

Columbus’ offensive absences might give me more pause if they were in a position in the standings to play this more conservatively. They’re not. Both teams need three points in a bad way.

That reality is fairly likely to lead to at least three goals — definitely more likely than the 51.2% implied probability of playing the over at -105 odds.

Pick: Total over 2.5 goals (-105)

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