MLS Saturday: Public Bettors Jumping on Wayne Rooney and D.C. United

Credit:

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Wayne Rooney

  • Wayne Rooney is set to make his debut for D.C. United at brand-new Audi Field.
  • Public bettors are all over D.C. United (-137) to beat Vancouver, and the moneyline has soared.
  • I've picked out three value plays based on the betting market for D.C. United-Vancouver, Columbus-NYC FC and San Jose-Montreal.

It hasn’t been easy to get excited about MLS in the midst of wild World Cup action, but this weekend marks the end of that overlap. There are some intriguing matches to look forward to on Saturday night, including D.C. United vs. Vancouver Whitecaps.

The brand-new Audi Field will officially open for D.C., and the game will also mark the MLS debut for forward Wayne Rooney. Fans and bettors are clearly excited, and that’s been reflected in the odds.

I’ve looked at every match on the slate and analyzed the betting market to identify three value plays.

Season Record: 31-34-2, +16.26 units, 25% ROI

(All lines as of Friday night via Pinnacle sportsbook. All betting percentages are the offshore market average. Bettors can find all the latest odds and betting percentages with a Sports Insights membership).

Columbus Crew at New York City FC (7 p.m. ET)

Moneyline odds: NYC FC -105, Columbus +280, Draw +276
Total: 3 (u-130)

NYC FC will put their undefeated home record on the line Saturday night against Columbus in a battle of top-four teams in the Eastern Conference.

In the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium (yep, they’re still playing home games there), NYC FC have won nine and drawn once this season, outscoring opponents 25-4. NYC FC are behind only Atlanta United in points (37) and wins (11) in the overall league standings.

On the flip side, the Columbus Crew have lost three of four matches, including a 4-0 drubbing at LA Galaxy last week. They still sit fourth in the table and in a playoff position, but need to right the ship before other teams catch up.

Bettors certainly like their chances to turn things around, as the Crew’s odds have dropped from +405 to +280 since opening. They were able to earn a 2-2 draw at Yankee Stadium last season and also played a playoff game there, so they should be prepared for the small field dimensions.

Columbus have been a bit unlucky this season, as their xGD (expected goal differential) is near the top of the league at 10.7, even after the blowout loss in LA. I’m not putting much stock in that last one and believe they’ll put in a much better performance back east. I’m buying low here and taking the Crew +0.5 goals (-109) to pick up at least a point on the road.

San Jose Earthquakes at Montreal Impact (7:30 p.m. ET)

Moneyline odds: Montreal -141, San Jose +403, Draw +291
Total: 3 (o-110)

The Montreal Impact are definitely one of the stranger teams in the league. They had an up-and-down start to the season, went pointless in the month of April, then somehow flipped the switch to win five of six matches. In the process, they managed exactly zero draws (8 wins, 12 losses).

 

The Earthquakes have mostly struggled, winning just two matches and conceding in every one of their 18 games played. However, things have been better lately; they earned three straight draws before falling to Portland last week. Head coach Mikael Stahre recently noted that San Jose has lost just once by multiple goals and is in every game, but emphasized that being close isn’t enough.

Around the betting market, the moneyline has jumped up on Montreal a couple different instances since opening. They’re currently -141 favorites, but I don’t think there’s that much separation between the squads, even with home-field advantage. San Jose have been able to score on the road despite not getting results, so I like the value on the draw (+291).

Vancouver Whitecaps at D.C. United (8 p.m. ET)

Moneyline odds: DC United -137, Vancouver +350, Draw +317
Total:  3 (o-117)

D.C. United will finally play a home match at the new Audi Field on Saturday night in what will also be the debut of Wayne Rooney. Both are much-needed boosts for the club, and they have plenty of games in hand on the rest of the league. A win on Saturday night would be the perfect start toward a playoff push the rest of the year.

Neither team has played on this field yet, so the home-field advantage seems to be overstated. Public bettors are surely excited about the new prospects, though, and D.C. United have moved from -111 to -137 behind 74% of bets.

Especially now that the line has increased significantly, I like the value on Vancouver +0.5 goals (+117) to keep things close and spoil the party.

Value Plays

Columbus +0.5 (-109) at New York City FC
Montreal-San Jose Draw (+291)
Vancouver +0.5 (+117) at D.C. United

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