MLS Best Bets | Picks & Predictions for D.C. United vs FC Cincinnati & More

MLS Best Bets | Picks & Predictions for D.C. United vs FC Cincinnati & More article feature image

Jeff Neal/Getty. Pictured: Cincinnati FC.

As the world waits for Lionel Messi to arrive in Miami, Major League Soccer plows on through the summer.

While the wisdom of the unique MLS schedule — which includes playing through the CONCACAF Gold Cup — is debatable, it can create some unique wagering opportunities for knowledgeable punters.

With that in mind and an eye on who will and won't be available for their clubs, let's get to the picks for another busy Saturday of matches.

MLS Odds & Picks

D.C. United vs FC Cincinnati

D.C. Odds+115
Cincinnati Odds+220
Over/Under2.5 (-125 / +100)
Day | TimeSaturday |  7:30 p.m. ET
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Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Oddsmakers set this game as a virtual pick'em when betting opened, and a lot of early sharp money apparently came in on D.C.

It's an understandable trend, but one you should fade.

D.C. is on regular rest, while Cincinnati played to a 3-0 home win over Chicago in midweek. The visitors are also without striker Brandon Vazquez and defender Matt Miazga, who are away on international duty with the American Gold Cup squad. And the expected goals (xG) numbers say Cincy have been good, but not as good as their results.

But what those totals don't tell you is just how consistent manager Pat Noonan's bunch has been.

They're probably fortunate to win as many games as they have, but they've earned losing only once legitimately, having allowed an opponent more xG in only three of their 18 games. Two of those games when Cincy were without MVP candidate Luciano Acosta in the starting lineup.

Additionally, D.C. have been a better-than-average away team and a worse-than-average home side, both in terms of results and data.

And while Saturday marks two games in four days for Cincy, they had regular rest before and will have it again after. That makes Acosta being rotated very unlikely. Plus, Noonan will be welcoming back a few internationals from duty outside CONCACAF, and Sergio Santos and Nick Hagglund should be available to return from layoffs to hamstring issues.

The betting market hasn't gotten Cincy right all season and they don't have them right here. Use it to your advantage by playing Cincy to at least earn a point at -140 odds and a 58.3% implied probability.

Quillen's Pick: Cincinnati +0.5 (-140 via PointsBet)

New York Red Bulls vs Atlanta United

RBNY Odds-106
Atlanta Odds+280
Over/Under2.5 (-108 / -108)
Day | TimeSaturday | 7:30 p.m. ET
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Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

When both Thiago Almada and Giorgos Giakoumakis play for Atlanta United, the Five Stripes have only lost once.

That came in a 3-1 home defeat to Charlotte that was complicated by a 51st-minute red card. Giakoumakis also came off the bench in that contest after the outcome was mostly decided.

The pair have only featured together three times on Atlanta's travels this season between a combination of injuries and international absences. But the Five Stripes have a win and two draws in those games while playing to a +2.2 xG difference.

Both men were off on international duty when Atlanta gutted out a 2-2 draw against New York City FC at home during the midweek. Neither were all that heavily used for Argentina and Greece respectively, which means they should be in line to start together on Saturday night.

The Red Bulls are better than even money favorites, perhaps because of some of the variability in Atlanta's performances with and without those stars. There's also the matter of the Red Bulls' xG numbers, which suggest they should be performing at a better rate than they are.

But they are short-handed in the striking department, and more so with Cory Burke at the Gold Cup for Jamaica. They've won only three times at home, and their home xG numbers are more ordinary relative to MLS averages than their away totals.

Playing Atlanta to take at least a point at -108 odds and an implied 51.9% probability is a good option, even if one member of the aforementioned star tandem is coming off the bench for some reason. If they're both in Gonzalo Pineda's starting XI, I'd expect heavy late movement toward the visitors.

Quillen's Pick: Atlanta United +0.5  (-108 via bet365)

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LAFC vs Vancouver

LAFC Odds-150
Vancouver Odds+375
Over/Under2.5 (-154 / +120)
Day | TimeSaturday |  7:30 p.m. ET
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Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The xG numbers say the Whitecaps should be better than a winless road team. But those numbers also have a more severe home/away split than the average MLS team.

They have earned above-average home performances and below-average away results for a few years. It's probably something about the unique synthetic and indoor surface at B.C. Place, combined with some of the most travel miles flown for away games.

And although Vancouver theoretically have the advantage of not playing in the midweek, sitting through a weather delay of several hours before their scheduled game in Colorado was postponed might be just as bad.

Meanwhile, it feels like LAFC are beginning to get their legs under them again after back-to-back victories. While they failed to add on to Stipe Biuk's very early opener in a 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders, they will find a much more willing dance partner in terms of allowing chances in the Whitecaps.

They'll also see a couple South American regulars return from international duty who weren't involved in the midweek game.

While the moneyline might be too steep (or honestly, it might not), there's value on a same-game parlay of LAFC to win and the total to land above 2.5 goals at +120 odds and an implied 45.5% probability. It's a wager that has cashed in 5-of-9 LAFC home games and 4-of-7 Whitecaps away days this year. And the 'Caps don't have any defeats anywhere with a total coming in under 2.5.

Quillen's Pick: Same-Game Parlay: LAFC ML and total over 2.5 (+120 via BetMGM)

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