MLS Betting Picks, Predictions, Preview: Our 4 Best Bets, Including New York City FC & Austin (Oct. 30-31)

MLS Betting Picks, Predictions, Preview: Our 4 Best Bets, Including New York City FC & Austin (Oct. 30-31) article feature image
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Alex Menendez/Getty Images. Pictured: Orlando City star Nani.

Saturday and Sunday mark the penultimate weekend of the Major League Soccer season and, needless to say, there’s still a lot on the line.

Some 11 teams playing are mathematically alive for the 14-team MLS Cup postseason without yet clinching a spot in the field.

In the Western Conference, the top seed and a first-round bye are also still at play. And there’s also plenty of betting value out there if you know where to look.

That said, here are our two best plays for Saturday’s card and two best wagers for Sunday’s exciting slate.

Saturday’s Best Bets

Inter Miami vs. NYCFC

Inter Miami Odds +290
NYCFC Odds -110
Draw +285
Over/Under 2.5 (-150 / +120)
Day | Time Saturday | 1:30 p.m. ET
How To Watch Univision | fuboTV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The first instinct looking at this line is to buy Inter Miami as a substantial home underdog in a league where home-field advantage is a huge.

However, there’s a better trend to back here and it’s the major difference in how Miami plays its soccer at DRV PNK Stadium versus on the road. Away, Miami are often boring and downright negative. At home, they try much harder to be proactive. And if it doesn’t lead to goals, it often leads to better scoring chances for the opposition

The total has gone over 2.5 goals in 12 of Inter Miami’s 16 home games overall, including eight of the last nine contests. Their opponents are only an average road team, but they’re also a club that thrives  in transition, which happens to be Miami’s biggest defensive weakness.

Both teams also probably would see one point as less than satisfactory.

Inter Miami needs to win to prolong its very slim playoff hopes and send off the retiring Federico Higuain in style. And NYCFC are trying to secure a playoff game at Yankee Stadium, where they are almost unbeatable this season.

Getting to three goals should be fairly likely, certainly better than the implied 60% probability of taking the total over 2.5 goals at -150 odds.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-150)

FC Dallas vs. Austin FC

FC Dallas Odds -115
Austin FC Odds +295
Draw +290
Over/Under 2.5 (-185 / +145)
Day | Time Saturday | 8 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

With home teams winning at a 49% clip in MLS, this three-way line reflects a game the betting market believes would be nearly exactly even at a neutral site. The standings suggest the same, with Dallas a point ahead of Austin and both eliminated from playoff contention.

However, they reflect a whole body of work and not a moment in time. And at this moment, Austin are slightly more talented and possibly considerably more motivated. The late summer additions of Sebastian Driussi and Moussa Djitte have made Austin more well-rounded than the side that struggled to score in so much of the early season.

And as an expansion team, it’s easier for manager Josh Wolff to sell playing to build momentum for Year 2.

Additionally, Dallas has been among the worst home teams in MLS this season with only four wins in 16 appearances. Austin’s relative ease of travel and considerable away support could also blunt some of the home-field edge.

Los Verdes’ defense is too suspect to bet them straight, but taking them +0.5 goals at even money makes a lot of sense.

Pick: Austin FC +0.5 (+100)

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Sunday’s Best Bets

Minnesota United vs. Sporting KC

Minnesota Odds -105
Sporting KC Odds +255
Draw +285
Over/Under 2.5 (-145 / +125)
Day | Time Sunday | 1 p.m. ET
How To Watch ESPN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Yes, Minnesota is at home. Even so, the three-way line here is puzzling.

Sporting Kansas City have clearly had the better season and are still playing for the top seed in the West. Alan Pulido is out, but MVP candidate Daniel Salloi seems likely to return after missing two games with a mild ankle injury. Johnny Russell is in the form of his life with 10 goals in his last eight games.

And Sporting Kansas City has the third-best away record in MLS with eight wins in 15 previous attempts.

Minnesota continue to earn results worse than the quality of their performances, including their 2-1 loss at Vancouver on Wednesday. Their expected goals might be showing up in the line, but their continued wastefulness has to be weighing on confidence.

One more factor is the early kickoff. Sporting Kansas City have dropped points only once in seven matches kicking at 5 p.m. or earlier local time. Minnesota have lost three of five games.

I’m splitting the difference between backing Sporting Kansas City to win and to earn at least a point, playing them at +0.25 on an Asian Handicap wager at +120 odds. If these sides draw, half the stake pushes and the other pays out.

Pick: Sporting KC +0.25 (+120)

Orlando City vs. Nashville

Orlando City Odds +120
Nashville Odds +225
Draw +255
Over/Under 2.5 (+100 / -125)
Day | Time Sunday | 7:30 p.m. ET
How To Watch UniMás | fuboTV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

You can read all the advanced metrics you want. Sometimes records are better predictors of the future, especially at this point in the season, and especially if their are personnel or tactical wrinkles involved.

Under manager Gary Smith, Nashville have been completely unafraid to play for a point and minimize risk when going on the road. As a result, they’re tied for the Eastern Conference lead with eight away draws.

Under Oscar Pareja, Orlando have been consistently competitive, but at times too reliant on 34-year-old Nani to generate results. He left at halftime of Wednesday’s match. And already, their six home draws are second in the Eastern Conference to Nashville’s eight ties.

It’s unsexy, but the draw is a pretty clear value play here at +255 odds and an implied 28.2% implied probability.

Separated by only five points, these sides are likely to at worst be within a goal late, leaving the tie in play until the final whistle. That’s a good place to be as a bettor.

Pick: Draw (+255)

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