Saturday’s MLS Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Sporting Kansas City vs. Los Angeles FC Preview (June 26)
Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Members of Sporting Kansas City celebrate a goal.
- Sporting Kansas City takes on Los Angeles Football Club on Saturday in a key MLS showdown.
- Manager Peter Vermes and SKC are sitting fourth in the Western Conference standings, while LAFC has struggled to maintain its position just above the playoff cut line.
- Ian Quillen breaks down the match below and explains why he's backing SKC to grab the victory.
Sporting KC vs. LAFC Odds
|Sporting KC Odds||+128|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-182 / +133)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 5:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Friday evening via DraftKings.|
Although Los Angeles Football Club entered the year as the oddsmakers’ MLS Cup favorite, it’s Sporting Kansas City looking to stay near the top of the Western Conference standings Saturday when these sides meet.
Sporting KC enters the weekend in second place in the West — and four points back of Seattle — after a convincing 3-1 win over surging Colorado.
Meanwhile, LAFC remain (barely) beneath the playoff line after a 2-0 home win over Dallas that was its most comfortable result of the season.
The Black and Gold have yet to string together consecutive wins this season after dealing with nagging injuries to attackers Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi early on.
Salloi — Not Pulido — Leading Sporting KC Offense
Before the season I hyped Mexican striker Alan Pulido as a darkhorse MLS Golden Boot candidate, but the target man isn’t even Kansas City’s top scorer.
That’s no fault of Pulido, who has five goals. However, 24-year-old Hungarian winger Daniel Salloi has him bested with six goals so far after striking for a first-half brace in a 3-1 win over the Rapids.
This was always possible for the left winger, who came through Sporting’s youth academy via manager Peter Vermes’ Hungarian ties. Yet, it’s been a hard road for Salloi since he scored 11 goals and contributed seven assists during a breakout 2018 campaign.
In 2019, Salloi led MLS in an unfortunate category, scoring only one goal while underperforming his expected-goals projections by 6.27 goals, according to American Soccer Analysis. In 2020, he just struggled to find the field.
His re-emergence this year has allowed Vermes to manage his roster better than most during a three-game, eight day stretch. Both Pulido and Johnny Russell were limited to a half of action Wednesday, while Roger Espinoza and Ilie Sanchez were also pulled off before the final whistle.
It was a younger core of players who went the full 90, including Salloi, Gianluca Busio (19 years old), Jaylin Lindsey (21) and Felipe Hernandez (23), the latter of whom pounced for the final goals against the Rapids.
Israel international Gadi Kinda is questionable to return after missing two games dealing with a foot injury.
LAFC Finds Old Groove in Win Against FC Dallas
After a frustrating home draw against Houston last weekend, the relative ease and dominance of a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas might be what manager Bob Bradley’s squad needed to rediscover its swagger.
Vela bagged his first goal of 2021, added an assist and was able to depart 15 minutes before time to secure some critical rest during his busiest week of the year after recovering from a minor knee injury earlier this season.
Latif Blessing also scored his first of the season and probably could’ve had an assist with better finishing. And afterward, the xG totals were even a little more dominant than a two-goal win suggested.
The question is whether Bradley can manage his squad through a second, short turnaround in as many games, even if his latest opponent is going through the same travails.
The squad surrounding Vela should be resilient enough — all but two of Wednesday’s starters were age 25 or younger — but things are still a challenge when the 32-year-old playmaker and 2019 MLS MVP is out or reduced to a substitute.
The Black and Gold have earned only two points in five matches where Vela has not started. If he is in the starting XI, it would be his first game starting three days following a previous start since July 6, 2019.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Oddsmakers are starting to treat Sporting Kansas City as the team it is, but they also aren’t giving up on what LAFC was expected to be.
Apparently neither are bettors. The line opened with Sporting KC favored at +115 odds — a 46.5% implied probability — even though it’s unbeaten in six at home (four wins, two draws) and LAFC has yet to win on the road. And yet, it has ticked slowly in the visitors’ direction to where it sits as of Friday evening.
Clearly, LAFC is a better team now — with Vela and fellow attacker Diego Rossi both in rhythm — than when it went to Seattle without Vela in the starting lineup and suffered a 2-0 defeat.
This is still a pretty tough spot for LAFC, though. And Kansas City is sneaky good, having created more xG than its opponents in eight consecutive matches, according to StatsBomb.
I bet the home side at +115 odds and went in for another unit at +128 odds — a 43.9% implied probability. I suggest you do the same.
Pick: Sporting Kansas City ML (+128)
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