MLS Odds, Picks | Predictions & Best Bets for Charlotte FC vs Atlanta United, Toronto FC vs. Columbus

MLS Odds, Picks | Predictions & Best Bets for Charlotte FC vs Atlanta United, Toronto FC vs. Columbus article feature image

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  • Charlotte FC vs Atlanta United, Vancouver vs FC Dallas and Toronto FC vs Columbus are three matchups to watch for MLS Week 3.
  • Ian Quillen previews those three matchups and provides a betting pick for each one.

Week 3 in Major League Soccer rolls on this Saturday as we shift our attention to a few teams looking for their first victories of the season.

Charlotte welcomes Atlanta United for a lunchtime kickoff on FOX as it seeks its first points of any sort.

Then in British Columbia, the Vancouver Whitecaps will seek to do the same against an FC Dallas side hitting the road for the first time.

And much-hyped Toronto FC will try to win their home opener against a Columbus Crew side that appears to be enjoying life under new boss Wilfried Nancy.

Let's get to the previews and picks.

MLS Odds & Picks

Charlotte FC vs. Atlanta United

Charlotte Odds+145
Atlanta Odds+160
Over/Under2.5 (-145 / +115)
Time 12 p.m. ET
How To WatchFOX | Apple TV
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

With two losses in its opening two matches, Charlotte has been among the league's disappointments. But it's probably not as bad as it looks in the early standings.

They deserved a point from their 1-0 season-opening defeat to the New England Revolution, which the visitors snatched through Henry Kessler's 89th-minute winner. And the 3-1 loss in Saint Louis City's inaugural home game owed more to their own mistakes — and maybe the emotion of the occasion — than the quality of the opponent.

Meanwhile, Atlanta United has shown signs of promise in their first two matches of 2023. But both a 2-1 win over San Jose and 1-1 draw against Toronto FC came at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Their real struggles last year came on the road, where they won two matches and took only 11 points. Until the promise turns into more obvious material improvement, I'm inclined to keep fading Atlanta away from home.

I'm backing Charlotte to bounce back and get their first victory at +130 odds and an implied 43.5% probability. They've already won 10 of 18 times on their ground in MLS play, including against an Atlanta side that lost more than half their 2022 away fixtures.

Quillen's Pick: Charlotte ML +130 or Better

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Vancouver vs. FC Dallas

Vancouver Odds+130
Dallas Odds+190
Over/Under2.5 (-113 / -120)
Time 5 p.m. ET
How To WatchMLS Season Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The Vancouver Whitecaps looked poor for the last 120 minutes of MLS action while twice giving back one-goal leads to start the season.

After two defeats, many who were championing the 'Caps as a club that could make a significant jump forward this season are leaping off the bandwagon.

But from a betting perspective, it's way too soon to stop paying attention to the 'Caps, particularly at home, where they've had a strong record through the entirety of manager Vanni Sartini's tenure.

Since he took over in the middle of the 2021 campaign, the 'Caps have won 16 of 26 at BC Place, a rate well above the average MLS home winning percentage. The squad build has been a logical progression under sporting director Axel Schuster.

Further, their 5-0 Concacaf Champions League win in midweek over Real Espana of Honduras should boost the confidence of an attack that was struggling to find its killer instinct. And it wasn't the most draining performance physically, given how much Vancouver had the ball.

Dallas was impressive in a 3-1, come-from-behind victory over the LA Galaxy. But like several MLS sides, Vancouver is the longest trip Dallas will take this year. (This is perhaps one reason the Caps' home/away splits are more stark than most in MLS.)

Although Vancouver isn't exactly a top defensive team, much of Dallas' success in Week 2 is owed to a notoriously porous Galaxy defense.

Given those circumstances, the price of +140 odds and an implied 42.6% probability on a home team winning is too favorable to turn down, even if the eye test so far hasn't been very impressive.

It's not a wager speculating the Whitecaps have improved, only that they'll continue to be what they've already been as a home side.

Quillen's Pick: Vancouver ML +140 or Better

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Toronto FC vs. Columbus

Toronto Odds-105
Columbus Odds+240
Over/Under2.5 (-140 / +116)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchMLS Season Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The opening line rated this game as a pick'em, and odds have been shifting in Toronto's direction ever since.

That creates a real opportunity here against a Columbus side that is probably the best TFC has faced this season. And they're led by former Montreal boss Wilfried Nancy, whose teams consistently earned results and posted big numbers on the road against the Reds last year.

And though Toronto showed signs of playing more pragmatically in a 1-1 draw at Atlanta last weekend, that goes out the window if they go behind.

Columbus on the moneyline probably represents some value as well. But there's more on the Crew to score two or more goals at +172 odds and an implied 36.8% probability.

Toronto allowed two or more goals in 9-of-17 home games last season, and so far those defensive liabilities still seem present. Nancy's second-place Montreal side scored two or more away from home on 11-of-17 occasions.

While Columbus is not as advanced in learning Nancy's system, the trio of Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Zelarayan and Cucho Hernandez pulling the strings may be more talented than Montreal's core last year.

Quillen's Pick: Over 1.5, Columbus team total (+172)

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