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MLS Odds, Picks & Prediction: Columbus Crew vs. FC Cincinnati Betting Preview

MLS Odds, Picks & Prediction: Columbus Crew vs. FC Cincinnati Betting Preview article feature image
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Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Columbus Crew standout Lucas Zelarayan.

Columbus vs. FC Cincinnati Odds

Columbus Odds -125
FC Cincinnati Odds +290
Draw +280
Over/Under 2.5 (-160 / +115)
Day | Time Sunday | 7:30 p.m. ET
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Odds updated as of Sunday evening via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

After scoring three goals in his first two Major League Soccer appearances, Cucho Hernandez makes his likely home debut for the Columbus Crew on Sunday in the Hell is Real Derby against FC Cincinnati.

The former Watford striker came off the bench in those two appearances, scoring the winner in a 3-2 comeback against Chicago and a 2-2 draw against D.C. United.

Cincinnati will play the second of three games without suspended MVP candidate Luciano Acosta. The club settled for a 2-2 draw with Vancouver in the first game since Acosta’s red card, the nature of which drew extra discipline from the league.

Columbus leads the series with four wins and three draws in eight meetings. The Crew won the last affair via a 3-2 victory in the first of these fixtures played at Lower.com Field last August.

Columbus Crew

After playing 74 minutes in his first two appearances, Hernandez could be in line for his first start.

That would be good news for Crew fans, with his three goals already tying for third on the team. Even more promising, the last two featured assists from playmaker Lucas Zelarayan, suggesting the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership.

At the same time, it’s worth noting both performances came against two of the league’s worst sides. And even with his inclusion, Columbus was outcreated in terms of xG by both opponents.

Even if Hernandez is a much-needed long-term solution for the Crew at striker, his early production obviously isn’t sustainable.

By The Numbers

  • 3.64 Hernandez’s goals per 90 minutes in his first two appearances.
  • 6.08 — Columbus’ goals per 90 minutes with Hernandez on the field.
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FC Cincinnati

We don’t have much precedent to say who Cincinnati is without Acosta.

The 28-year-old has played in all but one game for a club that is massively improved under the new regime of sporting director Chris Albright and manager Pat Noonan.

And in that 2-2 draw against Vancouver, Cincinnati did largely what it has done all season: fail to turn a promising home performance into three points. The fourth-year side is slightly better on the road in terms of results earned.

The good news is Brenner is in the best form of his MLS tenure. The Brazilian has contributed eight goal involvements (goals or assists) in his last seven matches.

By The Numbers

  • 4-3-3 — Record (W-L-D) for Cincinnati away from home this season.
  • -4.0 — The away xGDiff for FC Cincinnati during the campaign.
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Betting Analysis & Pick

Given the introduction of Hernandez and the absence of Acosta, the line has understandably moved in Columbus’ direction.

Whether it has ruined the value on the Crew is tougher to say. We really don’t know what they look like with Hernandez and Zelarayan starting together. And we really don’t know how well Cincinnati can cope for Acosta’s absence on a prolonged basis.

It’s difficult to imagine short-handed Cincinnati earning all three points. However, it’s far more reasonable to envision the momentum Hernandez and Zelarayan regressing to the mean against a better opponent.

And at +280 odds and 26.3% probability, there’s value in the visitors being disruptive enough to earn a draw. Both teams have drawn at least 30% of their games this season and three of their eight MLS regular-season meetings.

The Pick: Draw (+280)

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