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Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes Odds, Picks, Prediction: Friday MLS Betting Preview (August 20)

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes Odds, Picks, Prediction: Friday MLS Betting Preview (August 20) article feature image

Lyndsay Radnedge/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Wondolowski.

  • The Galaxy are blazing into the playoff picture even without star Chicharito.
  • A string of draws has left the Quakes shakeup, but Ian Quillen is ready to count on them Friday.
  • LA will look to complete its first regular-season sweep of San Jose in more than 20 years.

LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Odds

LA Galaxy Odds -125
San Jose Odds +350
Draw +270
Over/Under 1.5 (-275 / +190)
Day | Time Friday | 10:30 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN2 | fuboTV
Odds updated Thursday night via BetMGM.

The LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes meet for a third and final time this regular season on Friday night, with the Galaxy looking for a rare California Clasico sweep.

You have to go all the way back to Major League Soccer’s first season in 1996 to find a year when the Galaxy won every regular season meeting against San Jose. 

That year, the eventual Western Conference champions won all four of their games against the team then known as the San Jose Clash. In 2021, the Galaxy are looking to go three for three after a 1-0 home victory on May 29 and a 3-1 away win on June 26.

Before this season, the Quakes had the better recent stretch in this derby, sweeping the two-match season series in 2017 and going 6-2-2 (w/l/d) in the last 10 prior to this season.

LA Galaxy In Playoff Picture Despite Injury Issues

The wait for the return Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will continue. 

Mexico’s all-time leading international scorer — and the Galaxy’s leader this season with 10 goals — hasn’t played since he was a late scratch against Sporting Kansas City on July 4 with a calf issue.

Chicharito had been upgraded from out to questionable during LA’s previous two games but did not make either game-day roster. Manager Greg Vanney now says he won’t play Saturday either.

The Galaxy have managed better than you might expect without Chicharito’s production, going 4-4-2 in those 10 games while staying solidly in the playoff picture.

Most of that stretch has come without significant squad additions. But 22-year-old striker Dejan Joveljic has made a pair of starts after signing from Eintracht Frankfurt. He assisted Kevin Cabral in his debut, a 1-0 win over Minnesota United last weekend.

Joveljic followed that by generating 0.3 expected goals (xG) in his first 90-minute shift in Tuesday’s 2-1 home loss to Colorado. 

The visiting Rapids led in xG 2.3 to 1.3, marking LA’s largest deficit in the metric since a 3-0 loss at Portland back on May 22, when the Galaxy played the second half with 10 men after Derrick Williams’ ejection.

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Draws Shake Up Quakes

The Earthquakes are locked into arguably their most consistent stretch of the season. The problem is that hasn’t been quite good enough to restore them to playoff contention.

The Quakes are unbeaten in their last nine but have settled for draws in seven of those games, including a 1-1 tie at home against Minnesota on Tuesday night.

Even one more victory instead of a draw would’ve seen San Jose enter this weekend on the inside of the Western Conference’s seven playoff places.

But in the grander scheme, the performance against Minnesota was a promising one after losing defender Nathan to a 21st-minute red card and conceding a game-tying goal one minute later.

Although the visitors continued to be the marginally more dangerous side, short-handed San Jose conceded few clear chances and offered a decent threat on the counter while settling for the point.

Jeremy Ebobisse is still looking for his first goal for the Quakes after three appearances following a trade from the Portland Timbers.

After starting San Jose’s last two matches, he seems likely to begin Friday night on the bench if Matias Almeyda rotates his squad. That could put 38-year-old all-time MLS scoring leader Chris Wondolowski in line for a spot start. He currently has 168 career MLS goals, including two this season.

Betting Analysis & Pick

I generally shy away from advising readers to playing goal scorers. The added juice books typically take makes them unappealing. And there’s so much that can go wrong — from a surprise lineup decision to an early game injury.

That said, I can’t find a bet here I like better than Wondolowski to score anytime at +240 odds and an implied 29.4% probability.

Almeyda’s previous squad rotation patterns suggests Wondolowski will get the nod. He’s unlikely to push Ebobisse in three straight starts, and he appears to prefer Cade Cowell on the wing rather than at center forward these days.

There’s also Wondo’s career scoring record against LA: 12 goals in 30 appearances, including 26 starts. You could also argue Wondolowski is overdue for a goal after underperfoming his xG totals by an uncharacteristic three goals this season. And he’s registered 0.7 xG in 119 previous minutes against LA across the previous two Cali Clasicos.

Even if you don’t subscribe to believing a player is due, Wondolowski’s 0.64xG per 90 minutes in 2021 make him a solid play at this price if he plays as much as 45 minutes.

Wait for lineups if you like. But be ready to pull the trigger quickly if he’s in Almeyda’s XI, because the price could change quickly.

Pick: Chris Wondolowski to score any time (+240)

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