MLS Saturday: Betting Value on Four Sides
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco
- MLS features eight matches Saturday night, including Seattle Sounders-LA Galaxy at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN.
- The betting market has already seen significant line movement on home favorites such as Seattle, Houston and Sporting Kansas City.
- After analyzing all eight matchups on the board, I've picked out four value plays (+32.48 units on the season).
We’ve got another big night on tap in MLS, including Seattle-LA Galaxy and Sporting KC-Portland.
There are five big home favorites on the board, but the other three matches are essential toss-ups, and there’s plenty of betting value all around Saturday.
In midweek action, we saw more stellar play from Wayne Rooney to lead D.C. United to another win, 4-1, over the Portland Timbers. LAFC also took care of Real Salt Lake, making it a profitable night for sharp bettors.
After analyzing each of Saturday’s matches, I’ve picked out four value plays, all at plus-money odds.
Season Record: 45-45-3, +32.49 units, 37% ROI
LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders
Moneyline odds: Seattle -170, LA Galaxy +460, Draw +357
Total: 3 (o-103)
Time: 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Galaxy will be shorthanded when they travel to Seattle for an early Saturday start against the Sounders. Among the missing are Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romain Alessandrini, Gio dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos and Michaël Ciani.
Seattle is arguably the hottest team in MLS, having reeled off five straight wins as they battle back into the Western Conference playoff picture. LA has been close to getting results but conceded late goals in three consecutive matches (one loss, two draws).
The Sounders have movedfrom -135 to -170 since opening, largely in part to the missing Galaxy starters. Seattle is the only side to bet here, but most of the moneyline value is gone at this point. Instead, I’m counting on a quick start from Seattle to put LA away early, so the first-half moneyline at +116 is a better option.
The Bet: Seattle 1st Half (+116)
New York City FC at Philadelphia Union
Moneyline odds: NYC FC +180, Philadelphia +145, Draw +275
Total: 3.5 (u-135)
Time: 7 p.m. ET
New York City FC have stayed toward the top of the Eastern Conference largely due to their unbeaten home record (10 wins, 2 draws), but they haven’t been too shabby on the road either (4 wins, 3 draws, 5 losses). A short trip to Philadelphia doesn’t appear to be too difficult on paper, and the +180 moneyline odds will be enticing for public bettors.
The Union have been one of the more exciting clubs in the league and sit in the last playoff spot in the East, but results show a -7 goal differential. Does that even matter though? That figure can be misleading without looking a little more deeply, and Philadelphia is in the top 10 in xGD (expected goal differential) at +3.6. This is the type of match in which bettors can find some real value in an underrated side.
The Bet: Philadelphia +145
New York Red Bulls at Vancouver Whitecaps
Moneyline odds: NY Red Bulls +134, Vancouver +203, Draw +269
Total: 2.75 (o-113)
Time: 7 p.m. ET
The Vancouver Whitecaps are coming off a crucial road win Saturday night at Portland, 2-1, but lost the Canadian Championship to Toronto FC midweek. Fortunately, they’re back at home against the Red Bulls rather than having to travel yet again.
The Red Bulls have been one of the MLS’ top teams all season long and don’t appear to be slowing down. NY has moved from +162 to +134 to get the road victory and I tend to agree with that.
Most of the betting action on the over/under has come in on the over, shifting the total from 2.5 to 2.75 at both Pinnacle and CRIS. This match won’t be easy for the Red Bulls, but I’m forecasting a 2-1 win.
The Bet: PASS
Chicago Fire at Montreal Impact
Moneyline odds: Montreal -150, Chicago +425, Draw +315
Total: 3 (o-104)
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
The Fire have fallen into the bottom of the Eastern Conference and desperately need to pick up points, but the team is still playing for one another.
The Impact sit in a playoff spot but have a terrible -10 goal differential and have played more games than all the other playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference. Their expected goals per game is worst in the league and results have probably flattered them up to this point.
Despite Chicago being a trendy road underdog, the value at +425 is much too good to pass up.
The Bet: Chicago +425
Minnesota United at FC Dallas
Moneyline odds: FC Dallas -275, Minnesota +780, Draw +445
Total: 3.25 (o-113)
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Minnesota United concede a ton of goals on the road, yet nearly half of public bettors are taking the Loons to pull off the upset tonight. I just can’t see it happening, even with a high moneyline of +780, and this should be a multi-goal win for FC Dallas.
The Bet: PASS
Portland Timbers at Sporting Kansas City
Moneyline odds: Sporting KC -141, Portland +390, Draw +318
Total: 3 (o-106)
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
The Portland Timbers held a first half lead, 1-0, at D.C. United on Wednesday night but were thrashed in the end, 4-1. They’ve now lost two straight games after going 15 matches unbeaten in the league.
The odds of an upset at +390 are awfully tempting, especially since Sporting KC are the most popular bet of the day, but I can’t pull the trigger. A better option would probably be Portland +0.5 goals at +130.
The Bet: PASS
Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo
Moneyline odds: Houston -185, Real Salt Lake +485, Draw +370
Total: 3 (o-115)
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Both clubs were recent losers as Real Salt Lake dropped a 2-0 decision at LAFC on Wednesday night while the Dynamo lost in stoppage time to Columbus, 1-0, last Saturday.
The line has shot up on Houston from -150 to -175 behind 75% of both sharp and public bettors. With the value gone on the home side, I don’t want any part of this match.
The Bet: PASS
Toronto FC at San Jose Earthquakes
Moneyline odds: San Jose +165, Toronto FC +175, Draw +260
Total: 3 (o-116)
Time: 10 p.m. ET
Toronto FC are making a late push to the Eastern Conference playoffs and have a bit of momentum after winning the Canadian Championship on Wednesday night. The San Jose Earthquakes have cemented themselves as the worst team in the league with just 16 points, and have three fewer wins than any other club.
While I completely understand that it’ll be a tough match for Toronto FC based on a midweek match and travel to the West Coast, I’m backing the better team here. I’m also surprised that public bettors are on San Jose yet again, making the Toronto FC pick a little more comforting.
The Bet: Toronto FC (+175)
- Seattle 1st Half (+116) vs. LA Galaxy
- Philadelphia (+145) vs. NYC FC
- Toronto FC (+175) at San Jose
- Chicago (+425) at Montreal