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Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose: Friday Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction (May 7)

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose: Friday Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction (May 7) article feature image

John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Cade Cowell.

  • Despite not having the highest of preseason expectations, both Real Salt Lake and San Jose find themselves near the top of the Western Conference through three games.
  • The Earthquakes lost seven of nine games on the road last season and lost their only away game in 2021.
  • Even though RSL is the host tonight, Ian Quillen explains why there's some value on the 'Quakes to finally get it done away from home.

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Odds

Real Salt Lake Odds-114
San Jose Odds+260
Over/Under2.5 (-190 / +138)
Day | TimeFriday | 9:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchESPN+
Odds updated Thursday evening via DraftKings.

Two teams off to surprisingly good starts meet when Salt Lake hosts San Jose on Friday night.

Both RSL and the Earthquakes were among the least-favored clubs in the preseason MLS futures market, with longer odds only given to Houston and D.C. to start the season, according to Sports Betting Dime. 

But each club enters Week 4 near the top of the Western Conference standings on six points.

Sole possession of the top spot in the West is there for the taking with another win, at least until the Week 4 schedule continues on Saturday.

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Real Salt Lake

Although his signing was largely unheralded, RSL attacker Rubio Rubin is making an early case for MLS Newcomer of the Year honors.

The 25-year-old American, who previously played his entire career abroad, had two assists in a 2-1 win over Minnesota in Week 2 and struck for two goals himself in a 3-1, come-from-behind victory over Kansas City in Week 3.

Beyond Rubin’s heroics, what’s impressive about RSL’s wins is they’ve come in different ways. 

The Claret and Cobalt executed a deadly counter-attack gameplan to jump to a two-goal lead against Minnesota, assisted by two blunders from opposing left-back Chase Gasper.

Then they successfully chased the game after falling behind against K.C., sparked partly by the injury-related insertion of right-back Andrew Brody in the first half.

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San Jose

San Jose’s season arc so far has mirrored the successes and failures of 17-year-old attacking prospect Cade Cowell.

Cowell rarely touched the ball and struggled to impact the match when he did in a 2-1 loss to Houston in Week 1.

He overcame that uneven beginning to live as the top forward on San Jose’s depth chart with brilliant performances in Weeks 2 and 3 as a passer and a finisher. He scored and had an assist in a 3-1 win over Dallas and then bettered that with a goal and two assists in a 4-1 victory against D.C.

Additionally for San Jose, MLS all-time leading scorer Chris Wondolowski returns from a red card suspension Friday and is most likely to be used off the bench.  Winger Cristian Espinoza has a goal and an assist, and is fifth in the league in expected goals (xG) at 1.98, according to American Soccer Analysis.

Betting Analysis & Pick

The three-way line opened with RSL as favorites and has only shifted further in their direction since.

Perhaps that owes to the perceived caliber of the teams they beat; Kansas City won the regular season West title in 2020, and Minnesota reached the Western Conference Final.

There’s also the issue of San Jose’s woeful away record of 2W-0D-7L last season and a season-opening defeat at Houston this year.

But the advanced metrics generated over the small sample size of the current season suggest the Quakes are of at least equal quality to RSL. According to American Soccer Analysis, they’re fourth in the league in team xG and sixth in expected goal difference (xGD), the difference between their xG and their opponents’. Even controlling for San Jose’s extra match played, they lead RSL in both categories.

As for the quality of previous opponents? The two teams San Jose has beaten have earned more points in 2021 (6) than the two clubs Salt Lake has seen off (4).

Given the large impact of home field in MLS, the Claret and Cobalt should still be given shorter odds, but not so short they’re the third-heaviest favorite this week.

With their high-pressing, man-marking style yielding more goals on both ends of the pitch, the Quakes have only drawn three of their last 26 away matches. That makes backing them to pull off the road upset outright at +260 odds (an implied probability of 28%) worth the risk.

Pick: San Jose money line (+260)

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