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MLS Betting: Three Value Plays on Saturday Night

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Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kei Kamara

  • The MLS regular season has reached a critical juncture in the schedule with some teams desperate to earn points.
  • With eight matches on the board Saturday night, there are three value plays worth betting.

It’s easy to forget about MLS when the Premier League and other European countries start their seasons, but the betting value is still out there.

Last weekend there were four draws, all with payouts above +290, as well as upset wins by San Jose (+605) at FC Dallas and Sporting KC (+260) at Houston. There were critical late goals scored in half the matches, which caused a ton of betting results to shift.


>> Follow Dan McGuire in The Action Network App to get free alerts on all of his MLS bets.

Saturday’s MLS action is highlighted by LA FC-Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver-Portland. I’ve previewed every match and pinpointed three value plays.

Season Record: 42-44-3, +23.65 units, 27% ROI

(All odds as of Saturday, 11 a.m. ET via Pinnacle. All betting %s via Market Average)


Houston Dynamo at Columbus Crew

Moneyline odds: Columbus -192, Houston +558, Draw +332
Total: 3 (o-110)
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

The Columbus Crew have the upper hand in this match, playing at home against a Houston Dynamo club who had to play a midweek US Open Cup semifinal match and had already been struggling in league play. To make matters worse for the Dynamo, they’re missing key players due to injury and suspension.

The Crew have won two straight games by 3-2 scorelines and are coming off a bye week, so they should be rested and ready to go.

It comes as no surprise that Columbus’ odds increased from -170 to -220 over the last few days, but there’s been some slight buyback on the Dynamo. The moneylines are all getting an appropriate amount of action from the public, and with a high total of 3 goals, I expect the Crew to get the win. There’s not much value on betting them on their own, but they should be safe in two-team parlays.

The Bet: PASS


Philadelphia Union at New England Revolution

Moneyline odds: New England -114, Philadelphia +311, Draw +295
Total: 3 (o-110)
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

The New England Revolution find themselves in serious trouble after a solid start to the season and have failed to win in five straight matches. The way they’ve recently dropped points has been incredibly disappointing, conceding late goals against the LA Galaxy and Orlando City.

However, head coach Brad Friedel isn’t fretting yet, and he recently said “I’ve approached things no differently than I did on day one. … There’s absolutely nothing to panic about here at all.” The Revs have been playing well but surely need to finish off games or else they’ll miss the playoffs yet again.

Philadelphia have been inconsistent all season in league play but did book a ticket into the US Open Cup Final with a win over Chicago on Wednesday night. They’ve been poor on the road and have conceded 3+ goals in 60% of their away games this year.

The Bet: New England (-114)


New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire

Moneyline odds: NY Red Bulls -105, Chicago +285, Draw +290
Total: 3 (o-106)
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

Chicago is anything but on fire, losing six straight league matches, and Saturday night doesn’t get any easier. The Fire possess the second-worst goal differential (-13) in MLS and are tied for second-most losses (13).

The public betting percentages are all distributed evenly in this match, and there’s been some small line movement toward the Red Bulls (+105 to -105). I’m surprised to see so many public bettors taking a chance on Chicago, as I anticipated NY would receive the large majority of bets.

The Red Bulls line looks too good to be true, and I sense a fishy result in this match. Everything points to an NY victory, but I’m laying off this one.

The Bet: PASS


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San Jose Earthquakes at Colorado Rapids

Moneyline odds: Colorado +111, San Jose +265, Draw +257
Total: 3 (u-135)
Time: 9 p.m. ET

Both San Jose and Colorado picked up victories last weekend but had previously been in a free fall. Apparently this is a rare weekend in MLS with public bettors opting not to flock toward favorites. For Earthquakes-Rapids, there are 55% of bets on Colorado (+111), 30% on San Jose (+265) and 15% on Draw (+257).

Again, the betting percentages roughly fall in line with the expected win probabilities, and there isn’t any value in fading the public. I would lean toward Colorado at home, but it’s impossible to trust either club, so it’s another pass for me.

The Bet: PASS


Montreal Impact at Real Salt Lake

Moneyline odds: Real Salt Lake -126, Montreal +351, Draw +300
Total: 3 (u-101)
Time: 10 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake have been difficult to decipher this season. Their MLS Cup odds have fluctuated throughout the year.

For Saturday night’s home matchup, RSL opened -156 but have crashed down to -126 despite getting the majority of bets. Around the market, some sharp money has hit Montreal and the draw, and that’s where I believe the value lies as well.

After zero draws through their first 21 matches this season, the Impact have settled for a tie in two of their last three games.

The Bet: Real Salt Lake-Montreal Draw (+300)


Sporting Kansas City at Los Angeles FC

Moneyline odds: LA FC +121, Sporting KC +218, Draw +282
Total: 3 (o-125)
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

Since opening, odds on Sporting KC have shifted from +270 to +218, mostly due to the recent travel and matches played by LA FC. This will be the fourth match in just 12 days for Bob Bradley’s crew.

Both clubs have identical records (10-6-6) and are tied for third in the Western Conference, but recent results haven’t been kind.

The Bet: PASS


Minnesota United at Los Angeles Galaxy

Moneyline odds: LA Galaxy -222, Minnesota +570, Draw +424
Total: 3.5 (o-119)
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

The LA Galaxy are the most popular bet on Saturday, receiving more than 80% of tickets. However, lopsided betting is to be expected with -222 odds.

I’d love to go contrarian and take a shot on Minnesota or the draw, but the Loons can’t be trusted on the road. In ten away games, they’ve conceded 3+ goals eight times, and the Galaxy have plenty of attacking options. The odds would have to be much higher for me to consider betting on Minnesota.

The Bet: PASS


Vancouver Whitecaps at Portland Timbers

Moneyline odds: Portland -208, Vancouver +601, Draw +374
Total: 3 (u-105)
Time: 11 p.m. ET

The final match of the night features a fun Western Conference battle between the Timbers and Whitecaps.

Portland is the second-most popular bet on Saturday with more than 75% of moneyline tickets and their odds have increased from -195 to -208. They’re one of two MLS teams to be undefeated at home this season, and they have yet to concede more than three goals in a game on their own turf.

But I’ve been impressed with Vancouver lately despite the lack of results, and they’ve got a real shot of springing an upset. With odds now above +600, there’s definitely value on the Whitecaps to get all three points.

The Bet: Vancouver (+601) 


Value Plays

  • New England (-114) vs. Philadelphia
  • Real Salt Lake-Montreal Draw (+300)
  • Vancouver (+601) at Portland

Updated 2018 MLS Cup Odds

  • Atlanta United remain the favorites to win the 2018 MLS Cup. They were the hosts of the All-Star game and have been the best club all season long.
  • Eight clubs are listed at +1400 or better, while the rest of the league is +2800 or higher.
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