MLS Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Predictions: Our 3 Best Bets, Featuring NYCFC vs. Philadelphia (March 19)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.
An 11-game slate on Saturday kicks off the final full weekend of Major League Soccer play before the upcoming international window.
As always, there’s some lucrative betting opportunities when there are this many matches on one day across the landscape.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the best wagering opportunities.
Saturday’s MLS Best Bets
NYCFC vs. Philadelphia Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-120 / -110)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 1 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
|Odds updated via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
New York City FC was special in its nine home games at Yankee Stadium last season. And Philadelphia has never won on a trip to the Bronx.
So, why do I like the Union here?
It’s partly about emotion. The Union lost the 2021 Eastern Conference final at home to NYCFC in overtime, while missing more than half their starting lineup to a nightmarishly times COVID-19 outbreak.
I expect Philadelphia manager Jim Curtin and his men to have the edge in those intangibles against an NYCFC side returning home from the CONCACAF Champions League meat grinder.
Yes, MLS teams have won three of five home games following second leg of a CCL quarterfinal, but those matches have rarely come against opposition that finished above them in the table the year before.
If it wasn’t for the unique home field edge of the Yankee Stadium, I’d like Philly on the money line. As it is, I’m playing an Asian Handicap wager on the Union getting +0.5 on the spread line at +120 odds, with an implied 45.5% probability.
For me, that’s a bargain.
Quillen’s Pick: Philadelphia +0.5 (+120)
Atlanta vs. Montreal
|Over/Under||2.5 (-148 / +122)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 4 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
|Odds updated via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
The dreaded hangover from CCL participation also makes an impact over weeks and months rather than immediately following elimination.
If there’s a pattern worth betting on in the short term, it’s depressed scoring when teams in the competition hit the road in MLS action.
Since the competition’s current format began in 2018, game totals have stayed under 2.5 goals in six of seven weekend matches where the road team played midweek in the second leg of a quarterfinal.
Montreal finds itself in such a circumstance, and the home/road splits in MLS were already pointing toward a lower total.
Of Atlanta’s 13 home games since the exit of former manager Gabriel Heinze, seven have finished with two or fewer goals. The two this season have gone above, but against teams in Sporting Kansas City and Charlotte that take unusually aggressive away postures. Atlanta still needed a soft penalty and a wonky deflection to earn a 2-1 win against Charlotte.
Montreal’s away tactics are typically the polar opposite. Since manager Wilfried Nancy’s managerial debut, 12 of Montreal’s 19 away matches have featured two or fewer goals.
You can play the total staying under 2.5 goals at +122 odds and an implied 45% probability. I’d put the real probability maybe 10 points higher.
Quillen’s Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (+122)
Chicago vs. Sporting KC Odds
|Sporting KC Odds||+280|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-130 / -110)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 6 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
|Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Chicago’s offense has crept slowly out of the gate, while Sporting Kansas City’s defense — away in particular — has shipped goals alarmingly.
The latter appears more likely to continue.
In Chicago, you have a team that isn’t quite matching its xG total yet, though it’s 2-0 win at D.C. United was clearly a step in the right direction.
And you’d expect the end product to improve as time went on when the two focal points of your attack are new arrivals to the league Xherdan Shaqiri and to the club in Kacper Przybylko.
However, Sporting has conceded multiple goals in four consecutive away matches dating back to 2021, and five combined in their first two of 2022. The expected goals totals show those have been deserved for a defense that is showing its age and lack of pace.
Even though the money line has moved in Chicago’s favor, this is still a good buy-low opportunity for an attack in a good spot at home.
At -111 odds and an implied 52.6% probability to score twice, I’d be convinced that’s what your doing until Sporting can show much better defensive form.
Quillen’s Picks: Chicago — Team Total Over 1.5 Goals (-111)