MLS Is Back Odds & Picks: Why The LAFC vs. Houston Over/Under Total Is Too High

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Rob Ericson/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Diego Palacios

  • Brad Cunningham previews Monday night's MLS Is Back Tournament match between LAFC and Houston.
  • Find betting odds and a pick below, featuring analysis on why the over/under is too high given the absence of Carlos Vela.

LAFC vs. Houston Dynamo

LAFC odds -143 [BET NOW]
Torino odds +210 [BET NOW]
Draw +355 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3.5 (-103/-127) [BET NOW]
Time Monday, 8 p.m. ET
TV FOX

Odds as of Sunday night and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


The MLS is Back Tournament rolls on Monday night as Group F kicks off with LAFC facing off against the Houston Dynamo. The tournament has been affected by the coronavirus with two teams already pulling out of the tournament (FC Dallas and Nashville FC) and numerous games having to be postponed due to positive tests.

However, most matches are still moving forward as scheduled for now.

LAFC

The big news out of the LAFC camp is reigning MVP Carlos Vela has decided to skip the tournament to be at home with his pregnant wife. He will leave a massive void in LAFC’s attack.

Vela was the key cog in LAFC’s offense, bagging 34 goals and 10 assists in 2019. Diego Rossi will now have to lead the LAFC attack, and he is a more than capable replacement, bagging 16 goals and 6 assists last season.

The Black and Gold had some key departures over the offseason, including their defensive rock Walker Zimmerman.

Zimmerman was part of a defense that only allowed 1.13 expected goals last season, so it will be interesting to see how LAFC looks without him.

Houston Dynamo

It was another poor season in 2019 for the Dynamo, who have missed the playoffs six of the last seven years. The Dynamo finished last season with a -1.35 expected goal differential, which is significantly lower than their actual goal differential of -14, suggesting they were a bit unlucky in 2019.


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.


Despite some interest from Europe, Houston held onto their two best players Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis, and when those two guys get going, they can score in bunches.

The Dynamo were the definition of average in 2019, ranking 14th in expected goals for per match (1.51) and expected goals against per match (1.55). I don’t see the Dynamo making much noise against one of the top teams in MLS.

Analysis

LAFC opened at -208 and dropped all the way down to -143 after the news about Vela broke. However, the total seems relatively unchanged following the news, which I think has created some value on under 3.5 goals.

  • LAFC projected odds: -154 (60.70% win probability)
  • Houston Dynamo projected odds: +505 (16.52%)
  • Draw projected odds: +339 (22.78%)
  • LAFC projected xG: 1.81
  • Houston Dynamo projected xG: 0.91
Under 3.5 (-127)
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