MLS Updated Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Prediction: Our 2 Friday Best Bets, Featuring Timbers vs. Sounders

MLS Updated Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Prediction: Our 2 Friday Best Bets, Featuring Timbers vs. Sounders article feature image

Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Seattle Sounders teammates Alex Roldan, left, and Raúl Ruidíaz.

Friday night could be a pivotal one in the course of the Major League Soccer season.

Austin FC hosts Los Angeles Football Club in a potential Western Conference final preview. Then, Portland and Seattle meet in a Cascadia derby that doubles as a playoff six-pointer out West as well.

That said, here are our best bets for the slate.

Our Friday MLS Best Bets

Austin FC vs. LAFC

Austin FC Odds+170
LAFC Odds+125
Over/Under3.5 (+115 / -165)
Day | TimeFriday | 8 p.m. ET
How To WatchESPN | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

It's popular to talk about Austin FC as a team ripe for regression based on expected-goals data. That misses some nuance.

While Austin is over-performing its xG numbers by roughly 20 goals, the club sits third in the league in big chances created, according to FotMob. That's also an important predictor of results — particularly away results — and helps explain Los Verde's excellent away form despite poor xG numbers.

As for its home xG, it has been mostly in line with reality minus two season-opening blowouts against FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami. And when you factor all of that, the moneyline odds should probably be giving more credit to the home side, even as good as LAFC has been this season.

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The arrival of Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini has given LAFC an aura of invincibility. In the real world, that duo's contributions have been minor so far.

Don't get me wrong, though. The outfit should still be a solid MLS Cup favorite. However, the gap isn't as wide as some say and it's not growing larger — at least in regular-season terms — because of those summer additions.

This could also be a home game that sets up more like an away trip tactically for Austin. That could play into the big-chance-creating Los Verdes' edge.

I like Austin FC at +170 moneyline odds that confer a 37% implied probability. You might also consider the Draw No Bet market, but for me the insurance is too expensive.

By The Numbers

  • +6.1 — The home xGDiff for Austin FC through 12 games this season.
  • +2.5 — The away xGDiff for LAFC through 12 games this campaign.

Quillen's Pick: Austin FC ML (+170)

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Portland vs. Seattle

Portland Odds+155
Seattle Odds+150
Over/Under2.5 (-165 / +120)
Day | TimeFriday | 10 p.m. ET
How To WatchESPN | fuboTV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

The Timbers have lost only twice at home and the Sounders have only won three times on the road this season.

And yet the line shifted substantially in Seattle's direction shortly after it opened as an underdog in the neighborhood north of +200 odds.

Potentially, there was sharp, early action on the Sounders for two reasons:

  1. This rivalry has skewed heavily toward the visiting teams under their current managers.
  2. By xG data, Seattle has been the better side in four consecutive matches, tracking with striker Raúl Ruidíaz and his return from injury.
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However, Seattle will also be missing the influential Cristian Roldan after he exited a 3-3 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend with a groin problem. The Sounders still haven't effectively replaced holding midfielder Joao Paulo, leaving them prone to uncharacteristic defensive lapses.

Add the surprising early line shift and it's enough to stay away from the three-way moneyline in this important affair.

Where I see an edge is on a low total, particularly if you buy a half goal of insurance via a Asian Handicap wager of under three goals at -130 odds and an implied 56.5% probability.

The total between Portland home and Seattle away games has stayed under this number on 15 occasions and cleared it just five times. Exactly three goals scored voids the bet, making the odds a bargain in my opinion.

By The Numbers

  • 10-2-1 — The away team's record (W-L-D) between these sides since the start of the 2018 campaign.
  • 5-2-6 — Record of bettors (win-loss-push) who backed the total staying under three total goals during that span.

Quillen's Pick: Total Under 3.0 Goals (-130)

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