MLS Odds, Picks & Best Bets: Austin FC vs. LA Galaxy Preview (May 8)
Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Galaxy star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
- Austin FC hosts the Los Angeles Galaxy in Sunday's Major League Soccer nightcap.
- Both Western Conference sides have played well thus far, with the Texas club sitting second in the table and visitors right behind in third place.
- Ian Quillen breaks down the match below and gives his top pick.
Austin FC vs. LA Galaxy Odds
|Austin FC Odds||+135|
|LA Galaxy Odds||+185|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-125 / -110)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 7 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||FS1 | fuboTV|
|Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Both sides will look for a statement-making victory Sunday when Austin FC hosts the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer action.
Austin entered the weekend in second place in the Western Conference. However, some still doubt Los Verdes’ staying power in their second MLS season after they finished second to last in the conference in their expansion campaign.
Manager Greg Vanney is in the second year of his project as well. His squad entered this week tied for third in the West and four points behind Austin, but have only scored once in its last three matches.
These teams split last year’s two-match season series, with each winning at home by a 2-0 score.
Driussi Carrying Austin FC This Season
Want to explain Austin’s second-year improvement? Take a look at Sebastian Driussi’s stats so far this season.
The Argentine is the unofficial early leader in the MLS MVP race after scoring seven goals and contributing three assists. He arrived too late to be in that conversation last year. However, we might have guessed this was possible after he signed during the 2021 secondary transfer window and immediately became Austin’s most important offensive player.
Diego Fagundez has also had a renaissance in his second season in Texas. The 26-year-old’s six assists are already four off a career high.
Of the reasons to be skeptical of Austin, one of the more legitimate ones is its schedule. The club’s six wins have come against teams sixth or lower in its respective conference standings. That includes a victory against the current last-place teams in each conference in Vancouver and D.C. United.
Austin has also over-performed its +3.7 expected goals difference by more than 10 goals. Yet, most of that over-performance came when it defeated Cincinnati, 5-0, and Inter Miami, 5-1 — both at home — to open the season.
Costa Struggling So Far With LA Galaxy
The Galaxy were supposed to have a considerably more well-rounded roster in 2022 than in 2021, when they were a little too reliant on Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
That just hasn’t materialized, though. The biggest disappointment so far has been former Juventus, Bayern Munich and Brazil national team star Douglas Costa. He only has one goal in his first eight games, and he’s a little fortunate to have that as well. Costa has taken only 0.6 xG worth of shots on goal so far.
Chicharito has five of the Galaxy’s 10 goals and hasn’t found the net in three games. He was held without a shot — on target or otherwise — in last week’s 1-0 loss at Real Salt Lake.
Dejan Joveljic scored a late winner two games ago as a substitute against Nashville SC and looked menacing off the bench last time out. With the rest of his attack sputtering, that could give Vanney reason to consider playing a two-striker formation.
However, that’s only if he can do it without disrupting the Galaxy’s considerably improved defense. Their seven goals conceded was tied for second-fewest in MLS entering the latest slate and their 8.1 xGA is also the second-lowest total in the league.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Austin’s home record is gaudy, with 13 points earned from 15 possible and a +13 goal differential.
However, the host has ridden its luck on both ends of the field. In particular, the club has conceded only twice, but allowed 5.3 xG across those five games.
And Austin has played some bad road offenses. Three of them — Minnesota United, Vancouver and Inter Miami — entered this week having eight combined goals between them in 13 away games.
The Galaxy have struggled to put away chances of late, but at least they’re creating them aside. Costa’s listlessness aside, Los Angeles’ 1.56 xG per 90 minutes on the road is the second-best mark in the Western Conference.
Chicharito and company might just find it easier to create away from home, when the opponent is more focused on entertaining its own fans. They’ve scored a respectable six away goals and still underperformed their xG in those five games.
It all points to a good chance of regression for Austin defensively and Los Angeles offensively in this contest. That’s why I’m backing the Galaxy to clear 1.5 goals at +145 odds and an implied 40.8% probability.
Two goals might not be enough to take all three points against an in-form Austin front, though.
Pick: LA Galaxy — Team Total Over Goals (+145)