Sunday MLS Odds, Pick, Prediction: Austin FC vs. Houston Betting Preview (Oct. 24)
John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Bessler.
- Austin FC and Houston meet Sunday afternoon for an intra-state Major League Soccer battle.
- Both clubs have been eliminated from playoff contention, with the visiting Dynamo (+210) stands as the road underdog.
- Ian Quillen breaks down the contest below and gives his top pick for the match.
Austin FC vs. Houston Odds
|Austin FC Odds||+125|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-155 / +125)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 4 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN | fuboTV|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.|
Neither Austin FC or the Houston Dynamo will reach the playoffs this year, but it will still feel like a big occasion when they meet on Sunday in the Texas capital.
Austin is looking to build momentum toward its second MLS season down the stretch. And they have shown signs of improvement recently, despite a 4-0 loss in San Jose on Wednesday night.
Houston are also on a better run of form recently, surprising West leaders Seattle last weekend before losing 3-0 Wednesday night to the LA Galaxy.
The season series is on the line between these new in-state rivals. Each won a previous match at their respective home stadiums.
Scoring Has Been All or Nothing for Austin FC
Without a capable center forward for much of the season, the summer additions of Sebastian Driussi and eventually Moussa Djitte have brought a much-needed finishing threat.
But it’s still a lot of all or nothing in front of goal over the last six games since Djitte made his first start at center forward.
In a home loss to San Jose and wins against the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, Austin scored seven times. In defeats to Colorado, Minnesota and then away to San Jose, they were held scoreless for a 14th, 15th and 16th time.
That continued polarity shows itself on the form sheet. Austin have not drawn a match in 19 games, which is probably the longest such stretch in MLS. Their four draws overall are tied with Portland for a league low.
At the same time, the expected goals (xG) total show Austin have been a little unlucky since that crucial roster change.
Austin won two matches and lost four, scoring seven goals and conceding 10. But they narrowly led opponents in xG, 9.9-9.7, over that stretch.
Houston Emerges From Rock Bottom
Houston’s improved form of late has come partly as a result of the addition from within of Colombian attacker Darwin Quintero.
After enduring a 16-match losing streak that effectively smashed Houston’s postseason hopes, they’ve taken a far more respectable 11 points from their last eight matches.
All of Quintero’s eight starts have come in those games, with the 34-year-old going the full 90 in the last five.
It was never entirely clear why Quintero failed to make manager Tab Ramos’ XI before then — if it was injury, fitness, managerial preference, etc. With Ramos’ high-pressing approach and Quintero’s age and track record, it may have been a combination.
If there were positive defensive tradeoffs for relegating Quintero to a bench role, they eventually became irrelevant.
Houston conceded multiple goals in the last seven games of its 16-match winless run. They’ve done so four times since in Quintero’s eight starts.
They could be challenged in defensive midfield on Sunday, with both Matias Vera and Derrick Jones questionable with lower body injuries.
Betting Analysis & Pick
It’s been a rough season for Austin, but in a game between sides eliminated from postseason contention, they may have more to play for.
Los Verdes are in the early stages of their expansion project, where playoffs are an achievement above and beyond expectations. Even without them, there’s reason to be positive about next season and they want to continue to finish the year strong, with both coach Josh Wolff and GM Claudio Reyna nearly certain to return.
The same isn’t true for the Dynamo, who saw an ownership change in July and parted with GM Matt Jordan in August. Ramos might follow after the season.
Additionally, while Quintero is always dangerous, the back-to-back short recovery periods might prompt the 34-year-old to be rested.
Either way, Austin’s deeper roster is a crucial edge as both sides play a third match in nine days.
That’s plenty of reason to take Los Verdes at home at +125 odds and an implied 44.4% probability. Home sides win 48% of matches in MLS. Given the circumstances, I think I’d give Austin the slight edge even at a neutral ground. And remember: They rarely draw.
Pick: Austin ML (+125)