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MLS Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Predictions: Our 3 Best Bets, Including LA Galaxy vs. LAFC (April 9)

MLS Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Predictions: Our 3 Best Bets, Including LA Galaxy vs. LAFC (April 9) article feature image
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Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Galaxy star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

Hard to believe, but we’re already entering the sixth week of the 2022 Major League Soccer regular season.

The headline clash is the 13th regular-season edition of the Los Angeles Derby aka El Tráfico between Los Angeles Football Club and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

However, it’s another busy Saturday around the league with 11 games in total being played. And as always, some lucrative wagering opportunities exist.

Here are our three best bets for the loaded slate.

Saturday’s MLS Best Bets

RBNY vs. Montreal

RBNY Odds -165
Montreal Odds +440
Draw +300
Over/Under 2.5 (-130 / +104)
Day | Time Saturday | 4 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN+
Odds updated via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

The New York Red Bulls have had a promising start to their second full season under Gerhard Struber, but they still struggle to put teams out of reach on home soil.

The likely culprit is their brand of high-pressure football, which has earned results, but in part relies on the opponents’ aggression to generate a volume of chances. In general, away teams are less aggressive.

Going back to the start of the 2021 season, the Red Bulls only have three multi-goal victories in 19 matches at Red Bull Arena. They haven’t scored more than twice at home since the 2020 campaign.

Meanwhile, Montreal comes in with its early record and underlying analytics depressed by circumstances. Canada’s CONCACAF Champions League representatives not only had the challenge of managing a quarterfinal run in February and March, it also had to do so while playing three of its first four league fixtures on the road.

In that context, the fact its xG difference is only slightly in negative territory is impressive. Montreal has been in all but one game it has played —  at the house of horrors that is New York City FC’s compact Yankee Stadium pitch. The side is now free of continental commitments, with striker Romell Quioto returning from COVID-19 protocols after missing out in a win at Cincinnati last weekend.

As I wrote in our Global Underdogs piece, there’s also probably value on the Montreal moneyline here. However, my top play is on Montreal getting a goal at -130 odds via the Asian Handicap and an implied 56.5% probability.

With this wager, you’re betting games that don’t finish with a one-goal RBNY victory result in at least a point for the visitors. In the Red Bulls’ games since 2021, that bet would’ve hit on 11 occasions, pushed five times and only lost in three instances.

Quillen’s Pick: Montreal +1 (-130)

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LA Galaxy vs. LAFC

 LA Galaxy Odds +145
LAFC Odds +165
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (-175 / +138)
Day | Time Saturday | 7:30 p.m. ET
How To Watch FOX | fuboTV
Odds updated via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

The headline billing of Mexican stars Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Carlos Vela might be overshadowing how good these teams have been defensively.

The LA Galaxy have conceded five times and allowed only 4.6 non-penalty xG through five matches. As for LAFC, the club has been even better in conceding four times and yielding 3.6 non-penalty xG in the same number of games.

When you get two above-average offenses playing two above-average defenses, that sort of compresses the outcomes you might expect in terms of goals scored on each side.

In layman’s terms, you expect each offense to find at least a goal, but you except to find it tougher to find multiples than you might usually.

That said, this makes for excellent conditions to place a bet on the draw.

At +270 odds and an implied 27% probability, that’s the case here. The history doesn’t hurt either. For all the bragging rights allegedly on the line in this derby, honors have finished even in five of 12 regular-season meetings. That includes the latter two fixtures played last year.

Quillen’s Pick: Draw (+270)

Vancouver vs. Portland

Vancouver Odds +150
Portland  Odds +180
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (-125 / +100)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN+
Odds updated via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

One explanation for Vancouver’s early season struggles is the magic manager Vanni Sartini’s men possessed late last season simply ran out. Another is they’ve merely needed to overcome an injury bug.

That Vancouver won its first match in which both striker Brian White and playmaker Ryan Gauld both played and started is evidence of the latter. You also won’t find a more brutal early season schedule than the Whitecaps have endured. And they’re still unbeaten in two home games.

Theoretically, a visit from defending Western Conference champion Portland would continue the brutal Vancouver schedule.

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However, something feels off for a Portland team that has been badly outplayed in both away games and can’t seem to keep 11 men on the field. Playmaker Sebastian Blanco is getting closer to 90-minutes fit after contract negotiations shortened his preseason. Yet, it’s possible this team’s core of Blanco and the Chara brothers — all above 30 — is hitting an age-related decline at the same time.

Vancouver was one of the better home MLS sides in 2021, with Portland one of the lesser away clubs relative to its awesome home-field record. Those trends don’t always carry across seasons, but we’re seeing no evidence they haven’t so far in this campaign.

And +150 odds and an implied 40% probability suggests the Whitecaps would win this fixture less often than the average MLS home team wins a game. I just don’t buy that right now, given both those above trends.

Quillen’s Pick: Vancouver ML (+150)

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