Nashville SC vs. Philadelphia Union Odds, Picks, Predictions: Saturday MLS Betting Preview (July 3)

Nashville SC vs. Philadelphia Union Odds, Picks, Predictions: Saturday MLS Betting Preview (July 3) article feature image
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Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Nashville SC standout Aníbal Godoy.

  • Nashville welcomes Philadelphia to "Music City" for Saturday's Major League Soccer showdown.
  • The host side. which has put together a solid season, faces an opponent that has been somewhat shaky on defense of late.
  • Ian Quillen takes a look at these clubs and explains below why he likes Philadelphia get a result.

Nashville vs. Philadelphia Odds

Nashville Odds -103
Philadelphia Odds +290
Draw +230
Over/Under 2.5 (-121 / -112)
Day | Time Saturday | 8 p.m. ET
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Odds as of Friday evening via DraftKings.

Two of the toughest teams to beat in Major League Soccer clash Saturday when Nashville SC hosts the Philadelphia Union.

Nashville suffered just its first loss two weeks ago in a visit to the New York Red Bulls, but has since rebounded with a victory over Toronto FC and a draw against Houston.

Philadelphia has lost only twice and arrives in the Music City on an eight-match unbeaten run following a wild 3-3 draw in Chicago last weekend.

This showdown marks the first meeting between these franchises. Plus, this could very well be an MLS playoff preview.

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Nashville Loves Late Drama, Playing to Stalemates

Two things have characterized Nashville’s season so far: Draws and late drama.

Both revealed themselves this past Saturday when Abu Danladi scored in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 home draw against Montreal.

Three days prior, Luke Haakenson scored in the 83rd and 92nd minutes to rally Nashville from a goal down in a 3-2 home victory over Toronto FC. And two matches before that, Randall Leal’s brace after the 80th minute rallied his side from two down to a 2-2 tie at Atlanta United.

Lost in these cardiac-kid heroics is the frustration manager Gary Smith must feel that his side hasn’t made things easier on itself.

According to American Soccer Analysis, Nashville is the fourth-worst team in MLS in terms of its performance relative to its expected goals, with a +2 goal difference that’s 6.35 beneath what xG would suggest.

And according to StatsBomb, three of Nashville’s six draws have come in games where its total xG have been at least 1.0 greater than their foes’ stats.

Turn those three results into victories and Nashville is entering this match tied with the New England Revolution atop the Eastern Conference standings, not sitting in sixth place and three points back of the latest visitor.

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Philadelphia Looking to Shore Things Up Defensively

Even though they’ve avoided defeat, the Union’s last three matches might feel like a slide compared to a three-game winning streak that came before it.

Manager Jim Curtin’s men kept three consecutive clean sheets in those wins. They’ve conceded five goals since, coming in a 2-2 draw at Atlanta and that 3-3 tie in Chicago that sandwiched a 1-0 home in against Columbus. In fact, the Union have yet to win when they don’t keep a clean sheet, but they’ve also earned a point on three of the four occasions they’ve conceded first.

Kacper Przybylko has cooled off after scoring eight goals through the end of May across all competitions (three in MLS and five in CONCACAF Champions League). However, in Cory Burke, the Union have a second striking option few other MLS teams possess.

After visa issues delayed his return from a loan stint in the Austrian Bundesliga and reduced him to five appearances as a sub in 2020, the Jamaican international has scored four times in 10 appearances this season.

Captain Alejandro Bedoya is questionable with a calf injury after missing the draw in Chicago, and young midfield teammate Anthony Fontana remains unavailable in the league’s concussion protocol.

Betting Analysis & Pick

All week I’ve had trouble understanding this three-way line. The only conclusion I can reach is that Nashville’s clear xG superiority is why it’s a relatively solid home favorite against Philadelphia.

If that’s the case, the question is if there are any lurking variables that explain and suggest the discrepancy in xG is because of something other than random variance. And there are two big ones.

The most obvious is both Przybylko and Burke are better poachers and finishers than anyone Nashville has on its roster. Most xG models don’t take into account the finishing proficiency of the player taking the chance.

The second is that goals change games. Philadelphia has scored first in six of its 11 matches. Nashville has gotten the first goal only twice in 10 games. You’re more likely to generate xG if you’re playing a large portion of a match from behind, because often the team scoring is content to defend and take fewer risks.

Long story short: the traditional metrics of points earned and goals scored mean something, too, and quite a bit in this fixture.

That’s why you should snap up a Double Chance wager on the Union or draw at -120 odds and an implied 54.5% probability. It’s a steal for a team in their form.

Pick: Double Chance — Philadelphia or Draw (-120)

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