Sunday MLS Odds, Picks, Prediction, Best Bets: Portland vs. LA Galaxy Betting Preview

Sunday MLS Odds, Picks, Prediction, Best Bets: Portland vs. LA Galaxy Betting Preview article feature image

Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Galaxy standout Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

  • The Portland Timbers host the Los Angeles Galaxy in Sunday's Major League Soccer clash.
  • Both clubs have the firepower to deliver some goals in this affair, which has analyst Ian Quillen targeting the total.
  • Check out below where he's landed in this intriguing showdown at Providence Park.

Portland vs. LA Galaxy Odds

Portland Odds+115
LA Galaxy Odds+250
Over/Under2.5 (-138 / +114)
Day | TimeSunday | 3:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchFS1 | fuboTV
Odds updated via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Portland and the Los Angeles Galaxy try to regain their early season momentum when they meet on Sunday at Providence Park in Sunday's lone Major League Soccer match.

The Galaxy suffered a pair of hard-luck defeats prior to the international break. In their third match of the season, they suffered a 3-2 road loss at Seattle, which scored on a penalty kick and two set pieces. The following outing, Los Angeles was dealt a 1-0 home shutout against Orlando City despite doubling the visitor side in terms of expected goals.

Meanwhile, Portland required an 80th-minute penalty to salvage a 1-1 home draw against that same Orlando side, with both teams playing through the international window. It was the Timbers' third draw in five MLS games this year after sharing points only four times all of last season.

The Galaxy won the season series during the previous campaign, winning both home matches after opening with a defeat in Portland.

Portland Finding Things Difficult Thus Far

The Timbers snuck up on Western Conference foes and pundits alike with their 2021 late-season surge that resulted in a West title and MLS Cup final appearance.

There were two reasons why.

Firstly, while standout Sebastian Blanco — the 2020 MLS is Back tournament most valuable player — returned from an ACL injury early in the season, it took half the campaign to regain his peak form.

Secondly, even when he was regularly starting, the Timbers drastically outperformed their xG numbers, finishing the year with a +4 goal difference and a -8.0 xG difference.

You might sum up 2022 so far with one word: regression.

The Timbers are already underperforming their xGDiff by more than three goals after five matches, particularly on the defensive end. Between their 2-2 home draw against New England to open the season and a 4-1 loss at FC Dallas in the this week, they conceded six goals in just 2.3 xGA overall.

Perhaps that’s understandable given the injury absence of starting center-back pairing Larrys Mabiala and Dario Zuparic. Both players had sports hernia surgeries this season. Zuparic made his first start against Orlando. Mabiala has made the gameday roster in Portland’s last three matches, but is yet to play.

Also, Blanco has eased back after signing a new contract following negotations that resulted in an abbreviated preseason. The Argentine has yet to start a match and has only one primary assist in 128 total minutes.

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Chicharito Still Top Option on LA Galaxy Offense

It’s a similar story for the Galaxy, who have also underperformed xG metrics in the second year under manager Greg Vanney after starting his first campaign in charge by defying them in a good way.

It’s mostly on the attacking end where Los Angeles has let itself down, scoring four goals on 7.1 xG overall. Most of that wastefulness has fallen outside the realm of 2021 team scoring leader Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who has 2.7 xG and has scored twice. Chicharito’s 0.68 xG per 90 minutes is the exact same as a season ago, suggesting the 33-year-old standout will have another productive year when it’s all said and done.

However, wingers Raheem Edwards and Kevin Cabral, as well as defensive midfielder Rayan Raveleson, have all failed to score from promising chances. For Raveleson, it’s perhaps understandable after he scored a career-high five times in any domestic campaign in his MLS debut last year.

For Cabral, it’s a frustrating continuation of a trend after he managed had five goals on 8.5 xG from a more advanced position in his maiden season.

And it could spell trouble if Douglas Costa isn’t able to contribute. The former Brazilian international is questionable with an “upper leg” issue, per the team’s availability report.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Despite both teams’ struggles in front of goal so far, I like playing the total over 2.5 goals. These sides have enough quality and track record of scoring that it’s fair expect a regression toward their respective xG totals.

Also, Portland — for lack of a better term — “go for it” far more often at Providence Park. The Galaxy aren’t exactly built to earn results with their defense, even if it is much improved.

If you look from the start of 2021 to this season, it’s also a trend that has held up often enough for both teams to justify the price of -138 odds and implied 58% probability.

To be exact, the total has cleared 2.5 goals in 13 of 20 home matches for the Timbers dating back to the start of 2021 and in 13 of 19 Galaxy away games. That’s a hit rate of exactly two out of three contests. Given the talented offensive personnel on the field, I’d expect the probability is even a bit better.

A bonus pick: If Chicharito is in the lineup, I also like him to score anytime at +170 odds and an implied 37% probability. He has goals in six of his 13 away appearances since the start of the 2021 season. And I’m not a huge believer in Portland’s defense right now, even if Mabiala and Zuparic start.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-138)

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