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MLS Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Saturday Best Bets, Featuring Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire (May 28)

MLS Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Saturday Best Bets, Featuring Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire (May 28) article feature image
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Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images. Pictured: Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

A frenetic May concludes this weekend with Week 14 of the Major League Soccer season before it (mostly) goes quiet for the June international window.

The Saturday slate kicks off with an intriguing all-California clash between San Jose and Los Angeles Football Club. Later, the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United renew the league’s oldest continuously played rivalry.

And when Toronto FC and Chicago meet north of the border in Canada, something has to give.

We’re getting aggressive with our best bets from the Saturday slate with some longer odds, but considerable value.

LAFC vs. San Jose

LAFC Odds -200
San Jose Odds +350
Draw +450
Over/Under 3.5 (+120 / -175)
Day | Time Saturday | 6 p.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

San Jose is a much-improved side under interim manager Alex Covelo, who has guided the club to earn 11 points from 18 possible since relieving former boss Matias Almeyda.

And although they finish a busy stretch with some injuries in defense, Covelo managed the workload of his attackers in a 2-0 Open Cup loss at Sacramento Republic in midweek. Jeremy Ebobisse, Cristian Espinoza, Chofis Lopez and Cade Cowell played 33 minutes or fewer in the contest.

Jackson Yueill and Jamiro Monteiro missed the clash entirely, but aren’t on the team’s availability report for the weekend.

Meanwhile, LAFC will be facing San Jose without captain Carlos Vela, who was injured in Wednesday’s cup defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy. However, its bigger issue might be its suddenly more-average looking defense.

Facing its seventh match in 22 days, manager Steve Cherundolo’s group has conceded two goals in four of its last six outings, including their last two home league games.

Even looking at the total body of work, LAFC has conceded twice in five of 13 matches overall and two of seven at home. San Jose has scored at least twice in two of five away games and seven of 13 overall.

Given those overall numbers — and the fact Cherundolo asked more of his regulars in the loss to the Galaxy — I like backing the Earthquakes to score at least twice here at +225 odds and an implied 31.3% probability. Even if it hits, LAFC might have enough firepower to win anyway.

Quillen’s Pick: San Jose — Team Total Over 1.5 (+220)

RBNY vs. D.C. United

RBNY Odds -160
D.C. Odds +400
Draw +290
Over/Under 2.5 (-140 / +100)
Day | Time Saturday | 7 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The New York Red Bulls, who are still somehow searching for their first home victory in league play, faces a D.C. United side that’s a sizable underdog worth backing in this meeting.

United os a poor man’s RBNY in some ways, built around a similar high-pressure ethos, but without as many years shaping the talent of its roster around those ideals.

And although D.C. United has performed better home than away, like the New York, its analytics suggest it might be a stronger road team than average over the long haul. That can often be the case with high press teams.

Additionally, it’s impossible to deny D.C. United has the match’s more reliable goal scorers in Ola Kamara and Taxi Fountas. The latter is averaging 0.96 goals per 90 minutes since his arrival from Rapid Vienna. And the club had a week to prepare for this game, while the Red Bulls were tested midweek in a 3-1 U.S. Open Cup victory over Charlotte FC that was closer than the score indicated.

The Red Bulls are too good to lose at home all season. However, this isn’t the best spot for them and manager Gerhard Struber has at times shown a tendency to push his squad too hard in busy stretches.

I’m not predicting a D.C. victory here. Yet, given the circumstances, its chance at three points is better than the 20% probability implied by +400 odds.

Quillen’s Pick: D.C. United ML (+400)

Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire

Toronto Odds +185
Chicago Odds +135
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-140 / +100)
Day | Time Saturday | 7 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN+
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Toronto FC’s expected-goals numbers are bad, plus it hasn’t won in six league matches. However, the Reds are worth backing as a slight home underdog against the uninspiring Fire.

For starters, Toronto has won half its home games, and even with its analytic struggles, its xG difference at BMO Field is better than Chicago’s away xG difference both overall and per 90 minutes.

Additionally, Toronto has over-performed those home xG totals, while Chicago has underperformed its away numbers. And there’s a reasonable explanation for that: That even with Alejandro Pozeulo battling injuries, Toronto has a better, more in-form finisher in Jesus Jimenez than anyone in Chicago’s squad, including Xherdan Shaqiri.

Additionally, Chicago’s away performances seem to be getting worse. After opening with a win and a draw, manager Ezra Hendrickson has watched his team earn only one point from 15 in its more recent travels. The club has posted a -6.0 xG difference during that stretch, which is worse than its overall -5.2 mark over the full away slate.

Yeah, Toronto had Canadian Championship Duty in midweek, but its played on a Tuesday instead of Wednesday and rested a lot of regulars. And Pozuelo, the 2020 MLS MVP, has been upgraded to questionable ahead of this clash.

In the end, though, this isn’t so much about believing in Toronto as not believing in Chicago just yet. That’s why I’m playing the Reds at +185 odds on the moneyline and an implied 37% probability.

Quillen’s Pick: Toronto FC ML (+185)

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