MLS Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Portland vs. FC Dallas (Sunday, Nov. 22)
Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Portland Timbers captain Diego Valeri and teammate Jorge Villafaña.
- Portland is a favorite to defeat FC Dallas in Sunday night's MLS Cup Playoff match.
- The beginning of the postseason has been wild, but Jeremy Pond expects the Timbers to come through.
Portland vs. FC Dallas Odds
|Portland Odds||+100 [BET NOW]|
|FC Dallas Odds||+250 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+265 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-152/+117) [BET NOW]|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
If Saturday’s Major League Soccer postseason insanity is any sort of indication as to what still lies ahead, we are in for a wild ride the rest of the way.
That being said, things might not get as crazy (to be honest, I hope they do) in Sunday’s first-round match between Portland and FC Dallas, but it should still be highly entertaining affair nonetheless.
The Timbers, seeded third in the Western Conference playoffs, is hoping to find similar to success from this past summer when it captured the MLS is Back Tournament crown in Orlando at 28-1 odds.
On the other side, FC Dallas comes in as the sixth seed and hopes to start its own run toward a possible MLS Cup title.
Let’s take a look at this intriguing contest and see what’s in store.
Portland enters this match having finished in a three-way tie atop the conference with Sporting Kansas City and Seattle, all winding up with 39 points through 23 regular-season games.
The Timbers got the worst end of the stick via the MLS tiebreaker system, winding up in third place. Portland, which ended up second in the conference with 46 goals (only one behind Los Angeles Football Club), went 2-1-3 over its last six games.
All in all, the Timbers and coach Giovanni Savarese — who was my pick for MLS coach of the year — should be proud of their effort after losing standouts Sebastian Blanco and Jaroslaw Niezgoda to season-ending ACL injuries during the busy campaign.
As for FC Dallas, the club closed the regular season with a 3-1 record. That lone loss came on Decision Day when it dropped a 3-0 decision to Minnesota United, which actually cost the Toros a chance at hosting a playoff match.
When comparing the common data and statistics between these clubs, they’re closer than what you might have expected.
Portland finished with 31.5 expected goals for and a poor 35.3 xGA during the regular season, giving the club a surprisingly bad -3.8 xGDiff and -0.16 xGDiff/90 minutes. Obviously, these are not the kind of numbers you would have anticipated seeing from one of the conference’s best clubs.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
In contrast, FC Dallas actually has better overall numbers than its host when it comes to the advance metrics. The Toros had a slightly better 31.8 xG goals and relatively solid 30.6 expected goals against for a balanced +1.2 xGDiff, along with a +0.06 xGDiff/90 minutes.
The Toros’ xGDiff and xGDiff/90 minutes were good enough for fifth out of 12 teams in the conference, making this an even more interesting contest on paper as I previously mentioned.
Betting Analysis & Picks
I rode Portland and its 28-1 futures odds all the way to the MLS is Back Tournament crown, so there is no way I am going away from this club.
The Timbers have overcome so much, dealing with so many hurdles during its campaign. So, why would Portland fold up shop and crash out of the playoffs against an opponent that went 1-5-3 on the road during the regular season?
Bottom line, don’t count on it.
With that in mind, I am backing Portland on the money line to earn a spot in the conference semifinals, where it will face LAFC or reigning champion Seattle. Two of the last three meetings between these sides have seen at least three goals scored, which has landed me on this pick.
Picks: Portland ML (+100) | Total Over 2.5 Goals (-152)
- Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose — Total Over 3 Goals (-129): This Western Conference battle has goals galore written all over it. These clubs have combined to score at least five goals (yes, five goals) in three of their last four meetings, which has me confident in this play.
If you’re looking for a side, back the No. 8-seeded Earthquakes getting +1.25 on the alternative spread line. I think Chris Wondolowski and his teammates keep it close against the conference’s top seed.