Minnesota United vs. Sporting Kansas City Odds, Picks, Prediction: How to Bet Saturday’s MLS Match (August 21)

Minnesota United vs. Sporting Kansas City Odds, Picks, Prediction: How to Bet Saturday’s MLS Match (August 21) article feature image
Credit:

Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Russell (left) and Hassani Dotson (right).

  • Despite clear success on the road, Sporting Kansas' struggles at home could spell trouble on Saturday.
  • Robin Lod's ability to find the net has been instrumental for Minnesota, making his absence with a calf injury a concern for the Loons.
  • Stars on both sides of the pitch are spent, which could present an exciting opportunity to seize the under.

Minnesota vs. Sporting KC Odds

Minnesota Odds +125
Sporting KC Odds +215
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-150 / +120)
Day | Time Saturday | 3:30 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN | fuboTV
Odds as of Saturday via DraftKings.

Minnesota United are looking to recapture their momentum on Saturday afternoon when they visit a Sporting Kansas City side locked in a tight battle for Western Conference supremacy.

Minnesota’s run of seven unbeaten matches at home came to an end in last Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy.

Then on Tuesday night, Minnesota failed to take advantage of a man advantage for the final 69 minutes and settled for a 1-1 draw at the San Jose Earthquakes.

Kansas City has been unbeaten in its last four but allowed Seattle to retake the top spot in the West after SKC drew Portland 1-1 at home on Wednesday.

But Sporting have won their last four on the road, an impressive feat considering home teams are winning about 47% of the time in Major League Soccer this season.

Loons Looking To Score

In what is a banner year for MLS center forwards, the Loons are the rare team to achieve moderate success without a de facto first-choice target man.

They’ve gotten by in part because of wide man Robin Lod’s exceptional goal-scoring form since his return from Euro 2020. He has four of his team-leading six goals in the six matches since he played in all three of Finland’s group stage matches.

But with Lod out with a calf injury, the Loons have seen that lack of a trusted poacher become more impactful.

Jonathan Klinsmann was excellent  in the Galaxy’s win in St. Paul, but after Minnesota created 1.6 expected goals (xG) it’s hard to say the goalkeeper’s performance alone justifies not scoring at least once.

Then the Loons failed to turn numerical supremacy into enough dangerous chances in San Jose, with Wil Trapp’s goal coming in their only shot on target.

The easiest solution may be for Emanuel Reynoso to look to score more often himself.

The Argentine former Boca Juniors man has two goals and three assists in the playmaking role, but has underperformed his 3.0 xG and has seen other teammates fall short while posting 5.3 expected assists (xA).

Slovakian defensive midfielder Jan Gregus left Tuesday’s match early with an ankle injury, but he’s listed as questionable on the team injury report.

Even 30 minutes from Gregus could be valuable. It’s difficult to expect 35-year-old, like-for-like replacement Ozzie Alonso to play a sharp full 90 after starting only once since May 12.

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Sporting Struggles At Home

You might file this under nitpicking, given that manager Peter Vermes’ men enter the weekend a point behind Seattle for the West lead. But Sporting’s home form has let them down of late.

It’s four games now without a victory at Children’s Mercy Park. They only salvaged a draw in midweek against Portland from Daniel Salloi’s goal deep in second-half stoppage time on an effort that beat Steve Clark to his near post.

Sporting are like the Loons in that they’ve been riding an unconventional top scorer in Salloi, whose 12 goals have the winger squarely in MLS Golden Boot contention.

Unlike Minnesota, Sporting still have a primary center forward in Alan Pulido, who has eight goals and two primary assists. He’s also crucial in his role as a hold-up man for Salloi and Johnny Russell to play off down the flanks.

Khiry Shelton or Wilson Harris could see themselves in the starting XI if Vermes decides to rest any of that front three, after the effort involved in Wednesday’s latest come-from-behind heroics.

Shelton in particular has seen considerable time while Pulido has managed injuries and international commitments. But the 28-year-old has only a goal to show for his 18 appearances in a significant underperformance of his 2.8 xG.

Midfielder Felipe Hernandez is the most notable absence, missing out due to personal reasons, according to the club game notes.

Betting Analysis & Pick

With the relatively thin rosters in MLS, there’s always an added layer of uncertainty in games that are the end of a weekend-midweek-weekend sequence.

Both SKC and Minnesota have performed exceptionally in such contests previously, each earning 10 points from a possible 12.

But both squads have also pushed their stars in their last two, with Reynoso and Pulido among the players who have logged two 90-minute shifts since last Saturday. Salloi nearly did the same, coming off as a very late sub in the weekend win in Dallas.

If you really want to play the moneyline, I think SKC is the team more likely to rotate their squad. Minnesota is coming off an extra day, and also saved their legs some by playing 11 on 10 for 70 minutes against San Jose.

That said, I think the easiest play here is buying a goal and playing the total under 3.5 goals at -200 odds and an implied 66.7% probability.

The total has gone above 3.5 exactly once in 11 all-time meetings between these clubs and managers. And with all the wear on their attacking players, you could probably predict this won’t be their sharpest game.

You could also bet the total under 2.5 at +120, but the presence of Russell and Reynoso — two of the better free kick artists in the league — makes be believe the better value is the more conservative 3.5 play.

Pick: Total under 3.5 goals (-200)

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