Houston vs. San Jose Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Back Earthquakes to Pull Off Upset (April 16)

Houston vs. San Jose Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Back Earthquakes to Pull Off Upset (April 16) article feature image
Credit:

Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: San Jose Earthquakes veteran Chris Wondolowski.

  • Major League Soccer commences its season Friday, with Houston hosting San Jose in the opening match.
  • Oddsmakers have made these Western Conference foes two of the longest shots to win MLS Cup.
  • Ian Quillen details below why he's backing San Jose to get a result on the road.

Houston vs. San Jose Odds

Houston Odds -114
San Jose Odds +280
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (-186 / +135)
Day | Time Friday | 8 p.m. ET
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Odds as of Thursday afternoon via DraftKings.

Before national TV focuses on the Pacific Northwest on Friday, Houston welcomes San Jose to BBVA Stadium in a soft Major League Soccer opening match between teams the futures market doesn’t exactly rate highly.

The Earthquakes snuck into the 2020 postseason because of an expanded field, while the Dynamo bottomed out late to finish last in the Western Conference. Neither had a particularly splashy offseason, though manager Tab Ramos’ Houston operation has aggressively recruited a handful of recognizable MLS veterans.

There’s certainly a chance one of these teams takes a step forward this year, but there’s probably isn’t enough room in the West for both to do so.

So, while this game won’t draw much hype, it just might be a playoff six-pointer.

Houston

The Dynamo, who ended 2020 on a seven-game winless slide, begin their new campaign dead last in the futures market (+20000) following an offseason strategy to recruit solid, but unspectacular, league veterans.

The result is an incoming quintet of Maxi Urruti, Fafa Picault, Tim Parker, Derrick Jones and Joe Corona that has played a combined 25 previous MLS seasons across 11 different clubs. Add first-year Argentine forward Mateo Bajamich and Ramos has plenty of new clay to mold.

Unfortunately, there’s also plenty of offense to replace. Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis have departed for Mexico and Portugal, respectively.  And the 33-year-old Darwin Quintero might be dropping down the depth chart, because of Ramos’ preference for pressing, despite recording seven goals and seven assists last year.

The analytics suggest Houston was more unlucky than poor in 2020, with an expected-goals difference that was almost nil (its actual goal difference was -10). However, it’s unclear what that means for this year when there’s so much roster turnover at key positions.

San Jose

The Quakes sit tied for the second-longest odds to win the 2021 MLS Cup (+15000), not because of where they finished in the table last season, but for their -16 goal differential and league-worst 51 goals conceded.

Those numbers suggest San Jose rode its luck, while playing one of the world’s most unusual styles: a high-pressure system with a chaotic man-marking scheme that has made manager Matias Almeyda a bit of a cult hero.

Like Houston, the analytics are a bit kinder to San Jose. According to American Soccer Analysis, its xGDiff was a shade better than -5 last season.

Almeyda added a pair of midfielders who understand his system well in Javier Eduardo Lopez from his time at Chivas Guadalajara and Eric Remedi from his early career at Banfield. That might help tighten the Quakes’ transition defense, though they could still use a back-four signing.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

The MLS offseason is among the longest in the global soccer world, which can result in a disjointed return to play. And while the data might suggest these teams are evenly matched, an established identity can go along way early on.

That said, the Earthquakes very much know who they are. The Dynamo don’t. That fact alone should make San Jose a solid favorite on a neutral field. Further, Houston’s notorious home-field edge over the years isn’t as imposing in April when the climate is tolerable for its visitors.

If you pounced early, you could find a double-chance bet that hits on a San Jose win or draw as high as +110. Even at -108 odds, it’s still very solid value.

Pick: Double Chance — San Jose or Draw (-108)

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