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MLS Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Wednesday Best Bets, Featuring D.C. United vs. NYCFC (May 18)

MLS Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Wednesday Best Bets, Featuring D.C. United vs. NYCFC (May 18) article feature image
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Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Vancouver Whitecaps defender Cristián Gutiérrez.

With CONCACAF Champions League concluded and two rounds of U.S. Open Cup action played, Major League Soccer teams will turn to league play in large numbers Wednesday for the first big midweek slate of the season.

D.C. United looks to continue on its improved form under interim manager Chad Ashton when it hosts defending MLS Cup champion New York City FC at Audi Field.

Philadelphia forward Julian Carranza faces his former team when Inter Miami makes a visit to Subaru Park. And FC Dallas looks to continue its excellent start when it wraps up a two-match West Coast trip at Vancouver.

That said, here are our best bets on the midweek slate.

D.C. United vs. NYCFC

D.C. United Odds +195
NYCFC Odds +120
Draw +250
Over/Under 2.5 (-145 / +100)
Day | Time Wednesday | 7:30 p.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The overall metrics on D.C. United aren’t great, but it has improved considerably since parting with manager Hernan Losada and installing Ashton as the caretaker boss.

And striker Taxi Fountas has certainly helped, scoring five times in five appearances since his expedited arrival from Rapid Vienna.

However, even though Fountas is outperforming his expected goals so far, D.C. has posted about a +0.5 xG difference under Ashton, while earning seven points in four games. The club won both home matches in that span, and its rougher home xG numbers in those contests are partly due to defending a lead for a combined 106 minutes.

We don’t know all that much about NYCFC in 2022 on the road. However, the sides has been underwhelming in it three away matches, taking just one point. And there’s enough history from 2021 to suspect that its gaudy home numbers since then won’t translate to its travels.

Yes, those NYCFC road games came while also managing Champions League play. Yet, against a D.C. United team finding better form of late and in a league where home teams win half the time, City has to earn the right to be such a solid favorite.

So, I’m taking D.C. United via a moneyline bet at +195 odds and an implied 33.9% probability. And I’d stay away from playing a Draw No Bet wager since D.C. has drawn only once in its home tilts since the start of the 2021 season.

Quillen’s Pick: D.C. United ML (+195)

Philadelphia vs. Inter Miami

Philadelphia Odds -250
Miami Odds +625
Draw +350
Over/Under 2.5 (-135 / -105)
Day | Time Wednesday | 7:30 p.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The total has stayed under 2.5 goals in all six of Philadelphia’s home games and the last three of Inter Miami’s five road contests. Those numbers also fit broader trends of high press teams sometimes playing tighter games at home, and clubs who defend deeper playing tighter games away.

So, it was a little strange to see the line on the total leading toward three or more goals. However, I think I’ve figured out why it is… and why it’s a little soft.

The Union and their opponents have actually averaged 2.61 combined xG per contest in six games at Subaru Park. Yet, there’s two big outliers in this small sample: a 2-0 victory over a San Jose side that has conceded a league-worst 26 times and last weekend’s 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls. Philadelphia ran up large xG totals in both games without finishing chances.

Remove those two matches and the average combined xG in the sample of Union home games shrinks to 2.0 xG overall.

The combined xG numbers from Inter Miami away games are also trending lower with striker Gonzalo Higuain out of Phil Neville’s starting lineup. The combined xG in Inter Miami away games has averaged 1.9 in three matches since he’s been either out with a knee issue or used as a substitute.

Yes, these samples are too small to be  significant, but they also follow trends from last year with the same managers and systems. So, I feel pretty good backing the total below 2.5 goals at odds that imply a 51.2% probability. It has hit more than 80% of the time with these teams’ relevant splits.

Quillen’s Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-105)

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Vancouver vs. FC Dallas

Vancouver Odds +170
Dallas Odds +150
Draw +225
Over/Under 2.5 (-110 / -130)
Day | Time Wednesday | 10 p.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

FC Dallas is getting a lot of love for its nine-game unbeaten run after a 3-1 victory at the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday. I’m one of those loving the club after I played it as my Global Underdog pick in our Action Network feature.

However, Dallas’ vertical counterattacking style was an awful matchup for a Galaxy side that lacks some athleticism right now. Overall, Vancouver is a weaker side than Los Angeles, but also younger with more physical tools and probably better able to cope with that Dallas speed.

The Whitecaps also enjoy one of the better MLS home-field advantages. They’ve lost only twice in 13 home contests dating back to last season. And they were unfortunate more than poor in their defeat this season, a 3-2 loss to Portland. Their home xG totals are also superior to Dallas’ away xG numbers.

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If Ryan Gauld — aka the Scottish Messi — were available and fit, I’d like the Whitecaps outright. However, he’s in health and safety protocols for a second consecutive game. And he’s pretty crucial to what the Whitecaps do going forward. Dallas is also without some attacking talent — most notably Argentine teenager Alan Velasco — but it’s a little deeper.

In light of that, I like the draw a lot at +225 odds and an implied 30.8% probability between teams that have had a habit of splitting points. Vancouver has drawn two of five at home, and Dallas have drawn three of five away.

Quillen’s Pick: Draw ML (+225)

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