MLS Betting Preview: Can D.C. United Secure a Playoff Spot?

MLS Betting Preview: Can D.C. United Secure a Playoff Spot? article feature image

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: D.C. United’s Wayne Rooney

  • The MLS season is down to a crucial final few weeks, highlighted by Saturday's matchup between D.C. United and FC Dallas (4:55 p.m. Univision).
  • After analyzing the current betting market for the four matches this weekend, I've picked out three value plays to make (+34.92 units this season).

The 2018 MLS regular season is down to the final few final weeks, and a number of clubs are still vying for playoff berths.

The marquee matchup of the weekend is D.C. United hosting FC Dallas on Saturday afternoon at Audi Field. Wayne Rooney and company can move into a playoff position with a victory, while FC Dallas can solidify the top spot in the West with a win.

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After analyzing the betting market for the four matchups this weekend, I’ve picked out three value plays to make.

MLS Season Record: 50-50-3, +34.92 units, 35% ROI

Houston Dynamo at LAFC (Friday, 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+)

Houston odds: +780
LAFC odds: -330
Draw odds: +500
Over/Under: 3.5 (u-120)

The Dynamo were thrashed at Seattle on Monday night, 4-1, and now have to take on another club jockeying for a favorable playoff position.

LAFC are gaining momentum toward the end of the season and have picked up 17 points in eight games to move into second in the Western Conference. Bettors feel really good about another three points Friday night.

The market opened LAFC at -165/-170 last week, but those odds have skyrocketed in the last few days. The moneyline is up to -320/-330, a clear signal of sharp money continuing to hit the home side.

>> All odds and betting percentages as of Friday at 3 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLS odds and track your bets

There’s also been a significant shift in the over/under, increasing from 3 to 3.5. A multi-goal loss by the Dynamo could be in store once again, especially considering they’ve been eliminated from playoff contention. A depleted lineup due to the international break won’t help, either.

Nearly all the value is gone at this point, but it’s hard not seeing LAFC walk away with at least a two-goal victory. I’m still willing to lay the chalk on the goal-line of -1.5.

The Bet: LAFC -1.5 (-125)

Colorado Rapids at Minnesota United (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+)

Colorado odds: +410
Minnesota odds: -175
Draw odds: +385
Over/Under: 3 (o-140)

It’s been a very difficult season for both clubs as they’ve combined for 36 losses and -47 goal differential.

The Rapids have suffered seven straight defeats by a 22-1 scoring margin, and have been shut out six times in that span. Their last win was more than two months ago, and they’ve got about a 20% chance on Saturday afternoon.

Minnesota United have looked decent at certain points of the season, but the overall defensive unit has been terrible, conceding 63 goals in 31 matches. Despite the Loons’ inefficiencies, they find themselves as heavy favorites to beat Colorado.

While this team should be favored in this match, the price is overstated. Public bettors want nothing to do with the draw in this match, but it would be a perfect result for two teams going nowhere.

The Bet: Draw (+385)

FC Dallas at D.C. United (Saturday, 4:55 p.m. ET on Univision)

FC Dallas odds: +210
D.C. United odds: +125
Draw odds: +265
Over/Under: 3 (u-119)

This match has huge playoff implications in both conferences, and each club is hot, combining for 10 straight league games without a loss.

FC Dallas are looking for home-field advantage and a bye in the West, while D.C. United are two points behind Montreal for the final playoff spot in the East.


The three-way moneylines are tight, but D.C. United have the best odds to claim a victory. While a win would go a long way for either club, a draw would be an acceptable result for both.

Public betting percentages have been mostly balanced with 39% on D.C., 45% on Dallas, and 16% on the Draw. Bettors will likely continue to pick a side, but the market has adjusted the line toward Dallas and the Draw so far.

The Bet: Draw (+265)

Orlando City at New England Revolution (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+)

Orlando City odds: +508
New England odds: -214
Draw odds: +395
Over/Under: 3.5 (u-115)

New England could basically be eliminated from playoff contention by the time this match starts, but their chances are slim to none anyway. It’s been another frustrating season to be a Revs fan, especially considering I’ve tortured myself by watching nearly every game.

Orlando City’s season ended months ago, and they’ve conceded a league-high 2.27 goals per game. There’s really not much to look forward to in this match.

Odds have shifted in New England’s direction, currently at -205 after opening -165. It’s a steep price to pay on an inconsistent team, and not one I’m willing to go for. If there is a bet to make in this match, it’s probably on the over, but unfortunately that’s already increased from 3 to 3.5.

The Bet: PASS

Value Plays

  • LAFC -1.5 (-125) vs. Houston
  • Minnesota-Colorado Draw (+380)
  • D.C. United-FC Dallas Draw (+265)

2018 MLS Cup Odds

Atlanta United (+300) and New York Red Bulls (+300) are the co-favorites to lift the trophy at the end of the season, but only one of them will be in the final since they both play in the Eastern Conference.

The biggest odds movers over the last couple months have been:

  • Seattle (+6600 to +1600)
  • Philadelphia (+9000 to +2200)
  • D.C. United (+50000 to +4000)

My preseason picks FC Dallas (+1500) and Real Salt Lake (+4000) are both currently in a playoff position, which is all you can ask for in MLS. Anything can happen after that.