MLS Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets For Atlanta vs Chicago & More

MLS Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets For Atlanta vs Chicago & More article feature image

Sopa Images/Getty. Pictured: Quentin Westberg.

We're already at the unofficial quarter pole of the MLS 2023 regular season with Week 9 upon us.

On Saturday night, D.C. United visits Orlando City in a clash of Eastern Conference teams looking for back-to-back victories. Later, the Houston Dynamo look to continue their perfect start at home under Ben Olsen when Inter Miami pay a visit.

On Sunday, Atlanta United host the Chicago Fire in a nationally televised game on FS1.

Let's take a look at our three best bets for the weekend slate.

MLS Odds & Picks

Orlando vs. D.C.

Orlando Odds-106
D.C. Odds+275
Over/Under2.5 (-120 / -110)
Day | TimeSaturday | 7:30 p.m. ET
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Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The three-way line here suggests two teams that have similar underlying numbers and thus are fairly even. While the former is true, I think there's plenty of reason to think Orlando City are significantly better than D.C. and worth backing at almost even money.

For starters, Orlando began the season both trying to integrate a lot of new pieces and managing CONCACAF Champions League commitments. Manager Oscar Pareja also has an MLS track record for having teams who make middling starts but then begin building momentum this time of year.

When you remove matches that were played less than a week from a CCL game, the Lions' record improves to 3-1-0 (W-L-D). It's only a two-game sample, but their home xG difference since being eliminated from the CCL is +0.55 per 90 minutes, which would be good for fifth or sixth in the Eastern Conference.

D.C.'s overall numbers are worse so far and they've had fewer obstacles to deal with in terms of scheduling. We're still learning about all the teams, but it's likely they're at least a solid tier beneath Orlando in the overall MLS hierarchy.

In a league where the average team wins almost half the time, there's probably closer to a three out of five chance of a Lions win here. I played the number early at +105, but I think there's still value here at -106 and an implied 51.5% probability.

Quillen's Pick: Orlando City ML (-106)

Houston vs Miami

Houston Odds-120
Miami Odds+300
Over/Under2.5 (-120 / -105)
Day | TimeSaturday | 8:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchMLS Season Pass
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The Houston Dynamo have only scored nine goals this season, and four of them have come from the penalty spot.

When you take away the three penalties they've earned at home, the Dynamo have averaged less than 1.0 xG created and less than 1.0 xG allowed per 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, Inter Miami continue to post some of the most rigid home/away splits in the league. The total has come in under 2.5 in 14 of the Herons' last 20 games back to the start of last season. That includes all three games this season, in which the combined xG created and allowed has totaled about 1.8 per 90 minutes.

The most likely way the total goes over 2.5 here is if one team earns another penalty. Otherwise, track records suggest the -105 odds and implied 51.2% probability here is a bargain, with the actual probability likely beyond 60%.

Quillen's Pick: Under 2.5 (-105)

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Atlanta vs Chicago

Atlanta Odds-175
Chicago Odds+410
Over/Under2.5 (-157/ +117)
Day | TimeSunday | 4:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchFS1 | Apple TV
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Thiago Almada has emerged as one of the frontrunners for the MLS MVP award in the first quarter of the season for Atlanta United. Though his four goals so far come on relatively few chances, his five primary assists so far are legitimate, coming on 0.77 expected assists per 90 minutes.

He's averaging more than 1.0 xG plus xA per 90 minutes so far. And while he was held out last weekend as a precautionary measure in a 2-2 draw in Toronto, the absence was short enough and Almada young enough that it feels very likely he'll start against the Chicago Fire. He has one goal contribution in five of six games so far this season.

The Fire have been a little better defensively than in seasons past, but they've still conceded three times in all games so far despite playing only twice on the road.

With Giorgios Giakoumakis possibly out with a hamstring issue, Almada should be even more of a focal point in attack than he already is. That might also make him good value to score a goal himself. I love the value on an Almada assist at +200 odds and an implied 33.3% probability.

Quillen's Pick: Thiago Almada Over 0.5 Assists (+200)

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