Sunday MLS Odds, Pick, Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC Betting Preview (Oct. 17)

Sunday MLS Odds, Pick, Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC Betting Preview (Oct. 17) article feature image

Ira L. Black – Corbis/Getty Images. Pictured: Valentin Castellanos.

  • The New York Red Bulls take on rival New York City FC in Sunday's Major League Soccer action.
  • The latest Hudson River Derby could have major Eastern Conference playoff implications for both clubs.
  • Ian Quillen breaks down the matchup below and explains why he expects plenty of goals in this matchup.


RBNY Odds+160
NYCFC Odds+170
Over/Under2.5 (+100 / -140)
Day | TimeSunday | 1 p.m. ET
How To WatchESPN | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The New York Red Bulls could pull even on points with New York City FC in the crowded race for Eastern Conference playoff spots with a win in Sunday's Major League Soccer encounter.

The Red Bulls enter the weekend three points and three places behind sixth-place NYCFC ahead of the third Hudson River Derby clash in less than a month.

The sides tied 1-1 at Red Bull Arena back on Sept. 22, before the Red Bulls pulled off a surprising 1-0 win at Yankee Stadium three days later.

The Red Bulls are unbeaten in their last six, winning four games and drawing two while outsourcing opponents 9-2 in that stretch.

The Cityzens are winless in their last four and carrying a scoreless streak of 329 minutes.

RBNY Defense Keeping Them Afloat

Even in their rougher patches of 2021, the Red Bulls have been one of the league’s more consistent defensive squads.

That ethos has hit another level with four clean sheets kept in their last six games, driven by RBNY’s trademark high-press approach and a string of poor opponents.

Case in point: they were dominant in two wins over an Inter Miami side incapable of dealing with any of its pressing foes this season.

The Red Bulls won 4-0 in South Florida on Sept. 17, then followed with a 1-0 home win. Over those games, manager Gerhard Struber’s side led Miami 4.3 to 0.7 in expected goals (xG) created.

Patryk Klimala scored his team-leading eighth goal in the latter match. But the Red Bulls continue to be one of MLS’ more balanced — if not super explosive — offensive sides.

Despite scoring only 34 times total, RBNY has seven multi-goal scorers. One of those other six may need to come through on Sunday, with Klimala questionable with a thigh issue. 

NYCFC Finishing Issues Causing Trouble

No team in the Eastern Conference has made life harder on themselves than NYCFC with its record of missing chances. 

City’s +12 goals difference is more than eight goals lower than the predicted xG difference of +20.5, which is the highest in the Eastern Conference.

Leading scorer Valentin Castellanos has 13 goals, but is underperforming his xG by more than five goals. And in this recent scoring drought, NYCFC has not found the net despite creating 3.7xG in the last three games, according to StatsBomb.

If there’s a bright side, it’s that City are coming off their first defensive clean sheet since late August following a 0-0 home draw against Nashville SC. 

But even there, it’s a glass half empty; NYCFC settled for the point despite a 1.7 to 0.7 xG edge.

The Cityzens also have four players returning from international call-ups. The biggest doubt among them might be center back Alex Callens. He played all 270 minutes of qualifying for Peru, including 90 minutes in Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Argentina.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Since this rivalry began, every season series has included at least one match with at least three total goals scored. 

I’m inclined to back that trend and fade the outcome of the last two matches in the season series here.

For starters, those two games were played in the span of four days. In MLS, fixture congestion more often reduces scoring than generating it.

Secondly, the previous two meetings featured more chances than the final scores suggest, with the sides combining for 4.9xG and only three actual goals.

Thirdly, RBNY need three points to move back above the playoff line while NYCFC need three to regain some sense of playoff safety. 

And last of all, both teams are due for a regression. City hasn't been bad going forward as its three-game shutout streak suggests. The Red Bulls' recent clean sheets have come against the inept Miami and Cincinnati, and an exhausted City squad.

Given all that, I think we see an even and not particularly conservative match. That, plus a relatively generous price of even money will have me playing the total over 2.5 goals here.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (+100)

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