Big MLS Favorites Creating Betting Value on Saturday Night

Big MLS Favorites Creating Betting Value on Saturday Night article feature image

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Portland Timbers forward Fanendo Adi (9)

  • MLS road teams went a perfect 4-0-1 in midweek action and are looking to continue the run.
  • Five of the eight favorites Saturday night are listed at -140 or higher, creating betting value across the board.

Saturday night features a busy eight-match slate in MLS, including a marquee matchup between the Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City.

After analyzing the betting market for all eight matches, I’ve picked out four value plays today.

Season Record: 35-41-2, +16.68 units, 22% ROI

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Atlanta United at Montreal Impact

Moneyline odds: Atlanta United +124, Montreal +216, Draw +270
Total: 3 (u-117)
Time: 7 p.m. ET

In their previous head-to-head matchup early in the season, Montreal took an early lead on the road but ultimately lost, 4-1, at Atlanta United.

Atlanta United have scored the most goals (46), they’re tied for the best goal differential (+21), and they’re tops in league points (44). The Montreal Impact are somehow tied for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite just one draw all season and a -9 goal differential. They’re also near the bottom of the league in shots per game while Atlanta United are one of the best at denying shots on target.

This lopsided matchup on paper has also seen lopsided public action. More than 80% of tickets have come in on Atlanta United (+124) to get all three road points, but their current odds are now longer than the opening odds. It appears that some early, smart money has come in on Montreal, but I’m not willing to back them.

Bet: Pass

Columbus Crew at New York Red Bulls

Moneyline odds: NY Red Bulls -159, Columbus +463, Draw +321
Total: 3 (u-120)
Time: 7 p.m. ET

The Red Bulls earned a solid 1-0 victory at D.C. United on Wednesday night and have won six of seven matches overall. The Crew pulled off a late comeback to beat Orlando City, 3-2, last Saturday night but had previously lost four of five games.

New York comes into this match as sizable -159 favorites, with Columbus available at +436 and the draw at +310. Bettors feel great about the Red Bulls at home, and the team is receiving nearly 80% of moneyline tickets.

The Crew have really struggled to score on the road and haven’t done so in four straight games away from home. This is a great buy-low spot on Columbus to turn things around and grab a result against a superior squad.

Bet: Columbus Crew +0.5 (+140)

Chicago Fire at Toronto FC

Moneyline odds: Toronto FC -250, Chicago +700, Draw +413
Total: 3 (o-140)
Time: 7 p.m. ET

Toronto FC picked up three crucial points in Chicago last week and will have a chance to do it again at home against the same opponent. The Fire are now on the outside of the playoff picture and spiraling downward.

Sharp bettors have put a serious dent in this line: Toronto FC are now up to -250 after opening -170. They’re receiving only 34% of bets, which is a great indication that smart money — and not public bettors — is responsible for the shift.

Bet: Toronto FC -250 in a parlay

Colorado Rapids at D.C. United

Moneyline odds: D.C. United -165, Colorado +515, Draw +325
Total: 2.5 (o-145)
Time: 8 p.m. ET

In a battle between two of the worst teams in MLS, the Colorado Rapids travel to D.C. United looking for points in their third straight match. These clubs have combined for just seven wins and 31 points on the season, which would still barely make the playoffs in either conference.

The slight majority of bets has come in on D.C. United, moving their odds up from -145 to -165. At that price, it’s really hard to justify taking the home side, and there’s potentially some value on the Rapids now.

Bet: Pass

FC Dallas at Sporting Kansas City

Moneyline odds: Sporting KC -108, FC Dallas +307, Draw +272
Total: 2.5 (o-145)
Time: 9 p.m. ET

In the match of the night, two of the top three Western Conference clubs will go at it in Kansas City. FC Dallas have been one of the more impressive road sides this season, but Sporting KC have lost just once at home.

Nearly 70% of bettors are taking Sporting KC, and their odds have increased from +105 to -108 since opening. The public and sharps are on the same side in this one, but I believe there’s still plenty of value on the KC moneyline.

Bet: Sporting KC (-108)

Minnesota United at Vancouver Whitecaps

Moneyline odds: Vancouver -142, Minnesota +367, Draw +323
Total: 3.5 (u-145)
Time: 10 p.m. ET

Minnesota United are basically the Western Conference version of the Montreal Impact. Both clubs have 28 points with just one draw apiece yet somehow find themselves fighting for the final playoff spot.

Public bettors have newfound confidence in Minnesota United; they have nearly 60% of moneyline bets at Vancouver. However, the line has drifted from +291 to +367, signaling that it’s all square money and not sharp money. The smarter bets have clearly come in on Vancouver.

Bet: Vancouver (-142) in a parlay

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Real Salt Lake at San Jose Earthquakes

Moneyline odds: San Jose +125, Real Salt Lake +196, Draw +294
Total: 3 (o-119)
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

The best team to fade lately, the San Jose Earthquakes, find themselves as small home +125 favorites against Real Salt Lake. This is fairly surprising considering San Jose are winless in 11 straight games and have been shut out in back-to-back matches.

Despite San Jose’s horrible run of form, the majority of public bettors likes the Earthquakes to win at home. Real Salt Lake may be a sucker bet, but I’ll gladly take it, especially since it’s the contrarian angle.

Bet: Real Salt Lake (+196)

Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers

Moneyline odds: Portland -147, Houston +395, Draw +318
Total: 3 (o-119)
Time: 11 p.m. ET

There may be no hotter team in MLS than the Portland Timbers, who are unbeaten in their past 13 matches. They’ve yet to lose at home this season and have conceded just seven goals at Providence Park in eight games. The Timbers are also fully healthy with no suspensions.

I figured a strong majority of bettors would be backing the Timbers, but they’re getting only 54% of tickets. Sharp bettors are surely backing them, though, as Portland have increased from -115 to -147. I agree with the move, but the value is mostly gone, so I’ll be passing.

Bet: Pass

Value Plays

Sporting Kansas City (-108) vs. FC Dallas

Columbus Crew +0.5 (+140) at New York Red Bulls

Vancouver/Toronto FC parlay (+138)

Real Salt Lake (+196) at San Jose