MLS Odds, Picks & Prediction: Montreal vs. New York City FC Betting Preview (Saturday, July 30)
Ira L. Black – Corbis/Getty Images. Pictured: Valentín Castellanos waves goodbye to the fans at Yankee Stadium.
Montreal vs. NYCFC Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-155 / +110)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 7:30 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
New York City FC begins the post-Valentin Castellanos era when it makes a tricky trip to Canada for Saturday’s Major League Soccer match with Montreal.
The Cityzens have won four games in a row, but must now continue without the 2021 MLS Golden Boot winner who was also leading the 2022 chase. He just left for a year-long loan to newly promoted Girona in Spain.
Montreal has won two consecutive outings since welcoming back attacking midfielder Djordje Mihailovic. The American had seven goals and four assists before an ankle injury forced him out for five games.
The Cityzens won these teams’ previous meeting via a 4-1 home rout in March, but the final score flattered the hosts in my opinion.
Montreal had just enough extended slumps to avoid being considered among the MLS Cup favorites. The outfit is currently in a five-way tie for seventh favorite at +2500 odds in the futures market at BetMGM at this moment.
However, context suggests a strong dark horse if it stays healthy. Montreal isn’t as deep as NYCFC, Los Angeles Football Club or Philadelphia. Yet, the side is 9-5-2 (W-L-D) when Mihailovic plays and 9-2-2 in those games after losing the first three contests while balancing continental play. That’s an elite level.
If there’s a major criticism, it’s Montreal’s soft concession of goals. It’s 36 conceded goals are nearly 13 more than xG predictions. And it has been consistent enough to suggest an issue with simple mistakes or attention span in the back.
By The Numbers
- 1.81 — Montreal’s points per game in Mihailovic’s 16 appearances.
- 1.20 — The host side’s points per game without Mihailovic on the pitch.
New York City FC
The good news for NYCFC is it has been preparing for Castellanos’ departure since winning the 2021 MLS Cup when it thought he might move in the winter.
The club is unbeaten in four games without the 23-year-old standout and the obvious candidates to replace him have performed well. Heber has six goals primarily off the bench. Talles Magno has five goals and eight assists while playing mostly out wide with Castellanos at center forward.
However, it’s worth noting NYCFC is two different teams home and away, even if it has earned results both places. The Cityzens have scored 24 goals in nine games at Yankee Stadium, six goals in two “home” matches moved to Citi Field and 11 goals in nine away contests.
By The Numbers
- 26.8% — Percentage of NYCFC’s total goals scored away this season.
- 2-2-0 — The Cityzens’ record (W-L-D) without Castellanos this campaign.
Betting Analysis & Picks
Montreal is a very slight favorite in some places and an ever slight underdog elsewhere. Yet, either way I think you take the club unless the line slides considerably further in their favor, which I doubt will happen.
Even with its track record, NYCFC will have an adjustment period without Castellanos. And it’s hard to overstate Mihailovic’s importance.
The analytics also back the home side, in part because the difference because the Cityzens’ home-field edge appears to be way larger than league average. Montreal’s home xGDiff sits at +7.7 and NYCFC has a -0.4 xGDiff away.
Even so, you can also leverage an NYCFC offense that typically scores at least once away and a Montreal defense that struggles to keep clean sheets. Montreal has conceded in nine of its 11 home wins. Its foes have scored in two of three away defeats.
So, I’m splitting my money between a moneyline wager and Single Game Parlay tied to Montreal. The former is at +155 odds with an implied 39.2% probability and the latter at +333 odds and an implied 23.1% chance.
The Picks: Montreal ML (+155) | Single Game Parlay: Montreal ML & Both Teams To Score — Yes (+333)