MLS Is Back Odds, Picks & Predictions: How to Bet Real Salt Lake vs. Minnesota United
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Molino
- The two leaders of Group D, Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United, in the MLS Is Back Tournament will face off tonight in a battle for a potential trip to the Sweet 16.
- Minnesota United is coming off a thrilling come-from-behind win last weekend, scoring two goals in stoppage against Sporting KC, but they'll be without reigning MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara again.
- Where's the value in this Friday night late matchup? I break it down and give my favorite bet of the match.
MLS: Real Salt Lake vs. Minnesota United Odds
|Real Salt Lake odds||+160 [BET NOW]|
|Minnesota United odds||+148 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+275 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||3 (+110/-134) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET|
The MLS is Back Tournament continues Thursday as the two leaders of Group D battle for a potential trip to the Round of 16.
Real Salt Lake looked fantastic in its first match, dominating in a 2-0 win against Colorado. Minnesota, on the other hand, pulled off a miraculous comeback, scoring two goals in stoppage time to beat Sporting KC, 2-1.
A win for either side would give them a strangle-hold on Group D with one match to play.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake put on a defensive clinic against Colorado, holding the Rapids scoreless and limiting them to just 0.89 expected goals.
RSL were one of MLS’ elite defensive sides in 2019, ranking second in the league with an average of 1.3 expected goals allowed per match. However, that defensive fortitude meant The Claret and Cobalt sacrificed some offensive firepower. Real Salt Lake ranked 22nd in the MLS in 2019 with 1.2 xGF per game.
Salt Lake returned most of that defensive core, but they did not address their offensive issues during the offseason. Although they finished third in Western Conference last season, RSL posted a -3.39 expected goal differential, which ranked 16th in MLS.
I think they will struggle Friday night to create chances against a solid Minnesota defense.
The Loons pulled off an incredible comeback against Sporting KC to win 2-1 last Sunday with two goals in stoppage time.
WHAT A FINISH ‼️
Minnesota United (+215) score in the 92nd and 97th to give them a comeback win against Sporting KC.
Kevin Molino scored the game winner in the 97th minute. pic.twitter.com/3ku88fYhLw
— Action Network Soccer (@ActionNetSoccer) July 13, 2020
Minnesota United took a massive step forward last season, finishing with the seventh-best expected goals against average in the MLS.
Minnesota returns their entire defensive core, including reigning MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara. However, Opara decided to opt out of the MLS is Back Tournament, which is a huge blow.
Unlike RSL, Minnesota United added some fire power to their offense during the transfer season. Luis Amarilla, who led the Paraguayan league in goals last year, should improve an already stout Minnesota offense that scored 1.63 xG per match last season.
I think Minnesota’s offense will be able to penetrate Real Salt Lake’s defensive wall and move to the top of Group D.
Even without Opara, my model suggests that Minnesota is undervalued on Friday night and worth a bet.
- Real Salt Lake projected odds: +297 (25.21% win probability)
- Minnesota United projected odds: +115 (46.47%)
- Draw projected odds: +253 (28.33%)
- Real Salt Lake projected xG: 0.94
- Minnesota United projected xG: 1.24