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FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew MLS Odds, Picks, Predictions, Betting Preview (July 9)

FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew MLS Odds, Picks, Predictions, Betting Preview (July 9) article feature image

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Luciano Acosta

  • The "Hell is Real" Derby kicks off Friday night in Cincinnati for the first time this season.
  • Both sides are missing players due to Gold Cup call-ups, but the Crew will be without more important pieces than the home side.
  • Ian Quillen explains below how he's factoring that into the game and what sort of bet he is placing.

FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Odds

FC Cincinnati Odds +133
Columbus Odds +195
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (+100/ -134)
Day | Time Friday | 7:30 p.m. ET
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Odds as of Thursday evening via DraftKings.

As FC Cincinnati hosts the Columbus Crew for the first “Hell is Real” Derby of 2021, it’s debatable which Ohio side has the momentum.

Columbus has five more points and the chance to move above the Eastern Conference playoff line with a win or draw.

But Cincinnati has earned seven points from nine during a three-match road trip to jumpstart its season.

Can the Crew break a three-match winless run? Or will FCC finally christen its new TQL Stadium with a win in its fourth attempt?

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FC Cincinnati Recovers From Rough Start

Although Cincy opened the season earning only four points from seven matches, the offense has looked as capable so long as playmaker Luciano Acosta is on the field.

All 10 of Cincy’s goals have come during the eight games Acosta has played. Cincy has averaged roughly 1.5 expected goals (xG) per game when Acosta plays, and 1.1 in the two he missed with a hand injury.

But Acosta alone wasn’t enough to shift results to a positive direction for manager Jaap Staam.

It’s taken a marked defensive improvement — in the form of the first two clean sheets of the year in wins at Chicago and Toronto — to get Cincy results to match an improved product.

Former U.S. national team center back Geoff Cameron deserves plenty of credit. He’s played all but five minutes since his arrival on May 16, with Cincinnati earning 10 of their 11 points since.

Midfielder Allan Cruz and fullback Ronald Matarrita are away with the Costa Rica national team at the Concacaf Gold Cup. But Staam definitely has more of his squad available than his managerial counterpart.

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Columbus Struck With Gold Cup Call-Ups

The Crew are among the MLS teams hit hardest by Gold Cup call-ups, losing five players to five different nations.

The most notable include attackers Gyasi Zardes (United States) and Kevin Molino (Trinidad and Tobago), and goalkeeper Eloy Room (Curacao).

Zardes’ departure leaves only two players with Columbus who have scored this season, Argentine playmaker Lucas Zelarayan and Costa Rican midfielder Luis Diaz. (Columbus has also scored on three own-goals).

Striker Bradley Wright-Phillips is questionable to return from a thigh injury that has kept him out since the end of May.

But he’s almost certainly only available off the bench, likely putting either Miguel Berry or Alexandru Matan in line to start in Zardes’ vacated spot at center forward.

A third option may be to push Zelarayan up to forward or a false 9 role.

Betting Analysis & Pick

The three-way line has more or less flipped since it opened, with Cincinnati favored by nearly the same margin it was originally an underdog.

But while the moneyline market has adjusted to each team’s form and roster availability, some game and team props haven’t.

There’s two pretty clear attractive plays here.

One is to bet no on both teams to score, which you can have at -105 odds and 51.2% implied probability. So far, that bet has hit 13 of 21 times between these teams, or about 62% of the time.

But with Columbus’ roster crunch, the better option may be to play the Crew not to score at +205 odds and a 32.8% implied probability.

They’ve already failed to find the net six times in 11 tries this season, or about 55% of the time. And that’s with most of their attackers available.

Pick: Columbus team total under 0.5 goals (+205)

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