MLS Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Predictions: Our 3 Best Bets, Including FC Dallas vs. Houston in Texas Derby (April 23-24)
Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images. Pictured: Manager Adrian Heath of Minnesota United.
We head into the eighth week of the Major League Soccer season, featuring another 14-game slate. There are 10 matches takes place Saturday, followed by four more games on the Sunday schedule.
The Saturday afternoon card is headlined by the first edition of the league’s original Texas Derby, with FC Dallas hosting Houston. Later on, Chicago and Minnesota United tangle for Upper Midwest bragging rights.
And Sunday, two of the league’s more promising starters in the New York Red Bulls and Orlando City meet in central Florida.
That said, here are our Best Bets for the Week 8 docket.
Our Weekend MLS Best Bets
FC Dallas vs. Houston
|Over/Under||2.5 (-105 / -120)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 3 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Univision | fuboTV|
|Odds updated via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Some derbies can feature an inherent edge for the road team against the moneyline.
What creates home-field advantage in MLS is the rigors of travel; not the stadium environments. And those rigors are usually less in local rivalries.
However, for reasons unclear, the Texas Derby has been an exception. No away team has taken all three points in this fixture since 2016 and the last time Houston did so was way back in the 2011 season.
If there isn’t an edge for away teams, then there is one for games finishing even in this matchup.
In total, 16 of 42 Texas Derby fixtures have finished level, including nine of the last 18 and two of the last three meetings. Couple that with teams whose xG difference this season is each virtually nil, and you have a chance of a draw well above the league rate of 24 percent.
Betting the tie at +250 odds implies a 28.6% probability for teams that have drawn six of their 14 matches so far.
Quillen’s Pick: Draw (+250)
Minnesota vs. Chicago
|Over/Under||2.5 (-106 / -116)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 5 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN | fuboTV|
|Odds updated via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
All week I’ve heard people saying they’re going to keep playing under the total in Chicago matches until given a reason not to do so.
So, I’m fading the public here.
Chicago has clearly been intent on improving its defense under new manager Ezra Hendrickson. Yet, that’s been pretty easy at Soldier Field, where opponents are relatively happy to settle for a point.
On the road, the Fire defense has been fortunate more than good, conceding only once while allowing 5.7 xG to opponents.
Minnesota United has one of the league’s best line-breaking passers in Emanuel Reynoso, which is a problem for a team like Chicago trying to be more obstinate than imaginative.
And while the Loons’ striking corps isn’t reliable, the club is coming off its most clinical performance of the season via a 3-1 win over Colorado.
When you combine Minnesota’s home matches and the Fire’s travels, the average combined xG total is a hair north of 3.0 per match.
I don’t have a lean on the result, but the Fire can’t keep riding its away defensive luck forever. So I’m backing the total to clear 2.5 goals at -106 odds and an implied 51.5% probability. That’s very low cost given the xG metrics.
Quillen’s Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-106)
Orlando City vs. RBNY
|Over/Under||2.5 (+110 / -140)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 3:30 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN | fuboTV|
|Odds updated via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Orlando City has played some of the cagier games in MLS this season, and the New York Red Bulls’ high press is becoming notorious for producing some ugly soccer.
And yet, the home/away splits point to a more open game than you might think.
This can happen when high-pressing teams visit low-block teams, the latter of whom are far more likely to take attacking initiative on home soil.
The total has gone over 2.5 goals in four of seven matches between the Red Bulls’ away games and City’s home fixtures so far. And the xG totals suggest that trend would’ve been more pronounced with better finishing, with games averaging 2.86 combined xG in that sample.
What’s more, this is a trend that holds true through last year under the same managers. Since the start of the 2021 campaign, 22 of 41 of these teams’ games have seen at least three goals scored, a rate of 53.7 percent. That includes a 2-1 Red Bulls win in Florida that featured 3.8 combined xG overall.
Since it’s a trend that spreads evenly over both teams, even if not super pronounced, I like playing the over if it’s better than even money. At +110 odds, it’s a wager implying a 47.6% probability.
Quillen’s Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (+110)
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