MLS Odds, Pick, Preview & Best Bets: Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City Betting Preview (April 17)

MLS Odds, Pick, Preview & Best Bets: Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City Betting Preview (April 17) article feature image

Shaun Clark/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Football Club star Carlos Vela.

  • Los Angeles FC welcomes Sporting Kansas City to town for Sunday's MLS contest.
  • Carlos Vela and the hosts are looking to rebound from last week's defeat to the LA Galaxy.
  • Ian Quillen breaks down the meeting below and explains why he's forecasting to roll to the victory.

LAFC vs. Sporting KC Odds

LAFC Odds-210
Sporting KC Odds+540
Over/Under2.5 (-155 / +124)
Day | TimeSunday | 4 p.m. ET
How To WatchESPN | fuboTV
Odds updated via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Los Angeles Football Club looks to rebound from a disappointing — and controversial — derby defeat when it hosts struggling Sporting Kansas City in Sunday’s Major League Soccer action.

Manager Steve Cherundolo and LAFC thought they'd found a last-gasp equalizer in last Saturday's road match against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Instead, the play was ruled offside following video review and The Black and Gold were sent to a 2-1 defeat and first setback of the season.

Sporting KC has been one of the league's early disappointments after its third-place finish in the Western Conference a season ago. Manager Peter Vermes' squad has lost in all four of its away trips and is coming off a 2-1 home loss to Nashville SC last weekend.

Sporting KC took the season series last year, winning once home and once away before LAFC got some late revenge in a 4-0 rout on Labor Day weekend.

Former MVP Vela Finding Stride for LAFC

For three seasons, LAFC supporters have been hoping Carlos Vela could come even close to replicating his historic 2019 MLS MVP campaign.  In 2022, the now 33-year-old standout might be getting there.

Vela has made all six starts for Cherundolo. And although he has only one goal since his opening-weekend hat trick, his consistent presence and threat has the LAFC attack humming. He also has two assists by MLS' definition, which includes secondary assists that’s similar to ice hockey.

Even scarier for a side whose 14 goals are double the total they had at this point last season? Cristian Arango hasn't really found his top form yet.

The Colombian international has just one goal this season in six appearances, coming as a substitute against the Galaxy to start the potential comeback. After signing during the 2021 secondary transfer window, he scored 14 goals in his last 14 MLS matches last year, and eight in his last six games.

However, Arango's goal last weekend was also his first off the bench since his arrival. If he can excel in that role, he could provide another dimension for a team that has sometimes faded late in games once Vela's tank nears 'empty.'

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Sporting KC Struggling Without Pulido

In 2021, Sporting KC steamrolled to a third-place finish in the Western Conference despite playing without striker Alan Pulido for much of the year.

After the Mexican attacker underwent season-ending knee surgery this winter, the hope was Sporting KC could duplicate that feat.

The reality appears to be the opposite. And that might not be surprising if you look at the end of 2021, when Pulido had a previous knee procedure. His last regular-season match was Oct. 3, and while SKC won three of the seven league fixtures that followed, it led opponents only once in expected goals.

At face value, Sporting KC’s current problems appear to be as much defensive as offensive. Yet, it's possible Pulido's absence makes opponents more comfortable throwing numbers forward and pushing transition opportunities against a defense that lacks pace.

It might also make Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell easier to shut down. The duo each have scored only once so far in 2022 after combining for 31 goals a season ago. The rest of the squad have combined for only four goals.

Montenegran striker Nikola Vujnovic was signed to provide a stop-gap scoring solution in the central channel, but has yet to find the target and generated only 0.10 xG per 90 minutes so far in his five appearances.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Last year, the metrics loved LAFC and didn't really like Sporting KC, but the former missed the playoffs and the latter made the conference semifinals.

This year, both appear to be regressing to where they metrics said they should've been in 2021. In other words, the money line here is pretty fair.

Where I see opportunity, though, is in how LAFC approaches playing with a lead — by continuing to press and trying to put games away on the counter. This Sporting KC team isn’t built to chase games against a side like that.

Cherundolo's men have won two of three home games and three of six overall by multiple goals. Sporting KC has lost all of its away encounters and four of seven overall by more than one goal.

So for me, the value is on selling a goal and playing the hosts to cover -1.5 goals on the spread line at +130 odds and an implied 42.6% implied probability.

It's a small sample, but in the applicable home/road splits so far, that has hit on six of seven occasions between these two franchises.

If you want a hedge, maybe consider Vujnovic to score anytime at +340 odds. If the visitors keep it close, there's a strong chance it's because he finally finds his scoring boots.

Pick: LAFC -1.5 (+135)

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