MLS Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets For Portland vs LA & More

MLS Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bets For Portland vs LA & More article feature image

Ira Black/Getty. Pictured: Wilfried Nancy.

While many other high-profile leagues take a break for the international window, MLS plays on into match day five.

Maybe MLS shouldn't schedule such games, but for our purposes, it's best to accept that they do and use the implications of makeshift rosters to inform our wagers.

The weekend begins with a nationally televised match between the Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy – two teams that are struggling to match 2023 expectations.

It continues with two intriguing Eastern Conference clashes as the white-hot Atlanta United visit the Columbus Crew and Phil Neville's Inter Miami host the Chicago Fire.

Let's dive into our MLS odds, picks and predictions.

MLS Odds & Picks

Portland vs LA Galaxy

Portland Odds+130
LA Galaxy Odds+200
Over/Under2.5 (-125 / -105)
Time 4:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchFOX | Apple TV
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The teams the Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy put on the field on Saturday afternoon will be far from the squads that MLS envisioned for this game on FOX. 

Portland have their habitual early season injury wave to manage. It is impacting Sebastian Blanco, Yimmi Chara, Felipe Mora, Cristhian Paredes, Dairon Asprilla and Evander entering Saturday.

The Galaxy aren’t in a much better spot, with Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Douglas Costa out and striker Dejan Joveljic on national team duty.

Those absences have taken the line on total goals lower than it might otherwise be, and with good reason. But that probably brings some softness in the both teams to score market considering the mediocrity of both teams' defending.

Each defense has yielded more than 1.5 xG per 90 minutes this season. In MLS, mediocre attacks more often solve mediocre defenses than they don't.

I’m playing yes on both teams to score at -145 odds and an implied 59.2% probability. It’s a wager that has cashed in five of these teams’ seven games so far, even with both squads' injury woes up front.

Quillen's Pick: Yes – Both Teams to Score (-145 via Caesars)

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Columbus vs Atlanta

Columbus Odds+150
Dallas Odds+155
Over/Under2.5 (-124 / +102)
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchMLS Season Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

The line has moved significantly in Atlanta’s direction since wagering on this game opened.

That would make sense during a normal week, but far less so with a glance at Atlanta's international call-up list.

It includes MLS MVP frontrunner Thiago Almada, who has scored or assisted on eight of 11 of Atlanta's goals. It continues with winger Derrick Etienne Jr., defender Miles Robinson and striker Giorgios Giakoumakis.

Columbus have plenty of key absences of their own. Playmaker Lucas Zelarayan and goalkeeper Eloy Room are with their national teams, and Cucho Hernandez is out roughly a month with a muscle injury. 

But they’re still the home side in a league where home teams win a shade under 50% of the time. They also have the superior manager in Wilfried Nancy, which has an outsized impact in games where teams are playing with imperfect squads.

A draw is a reasonable possibility, and there's probably value on the under 2.5 if it's at even money or better. The strongest play, however, is on the home side being more likely to take three points than the visitors in a game where international call-ups diminish Atlanta's talent advantage.

I’m playing Columbus on a draw no bet wager at -112 odds and a 52.8% probability that a match that doesn’t finish even will go Columbus’ way.

Quillen's Pick: Columbus – Draw No Bet (-112 via FanDuel)

Miami vs Chicago

Miami Odds-110
Chicago Odds+260
Over/Under2.5 (-110 / -110)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchApple TV
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Miami and Chicago are two of the teams less impacted by the international window, and that’s a good thing for bettors looking to get aggressive in backing recent trends relative to the total.

The Herons played far more high-scoring matches at home than they did in their travels in 2022.

That hasn't borne out so far in 2023, but the stats suggest it might eventually. Miami’s two home matches so far have averaged 3.1 xG generated, even though the total has gone under 2.5 on both occasions.

Unlike the two previous games against Philadelphia and Montreal, Miami will enter Saturday as a clear favorite with the expectation to create the game. That’s something history shows manager Phil Neville takes seriously.

Chicago were among the visiting teams most easily forced into wide-open games in 2022. And while Xherdan Shaqiri remains out, offensive contributors Kei Kamara and Fabian Herbers will return from red card suspensions.

Yes, there are injury questions in Miami’s attack, but the trends here are so pronounced that it's still worth backing the possibility for goals in a match that both teams will view as a winnable game.

Since the start of last season, the total has gone over 3.5 goals in 16-of-37 games when Chicago have been traveling or Miami have been at home.

I’m selling a goal and playing the total over 3.5 at +235 odds and an implied 29.9% probability. There’s value on the conventional total going over 2.5 at -110 odds as well.

Quillen's Pick: Over 3.5 (+235 via FanDuel)

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