MLS Odds, Playoffs Picks & Previews: How to Bet NYCFC vs. Miami & Dallas vs. Minnesota (October 17)

MLS Odds, Playoffs Picks & Previews: How to Bet NYCFC vs. Miami & Dallas vs. Minnesota (October 17) article feature image

Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Paul Arriola.

The first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs concludes on Monday night with the fifth and sixth first-round games of an extended weekend.

First, defending champion New York City FC hosts an Inter Miami side that has surged their way into the postseason.

Then, FC Dallas welcomes Minnesota United in a game between teams that have been somewhat overshadowed in a star-studded Western Conference.

Here are our best bets for the Monday night slate.

Our 2 Monday MLS Best Bets

NYCFC vs. Miami

NYCFC Odds-167
Miami Odds+430
Over/Under2.5 (-143/+106)
Day | TimeSunday | 7 p.m. ET
How To WatchFS1
Odds via Unibet. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

With New York City FC and Inter Miami, you have to look at their recent work sample rather than their full season because of key changes to both squads.

For NYCFC, it’s the summer departure of 2021 MLS Golden Boot winner Valentin Castellanos, who still finished City’s leading goal scorer with 13 goals.

In the first 21 games before Castellanos moved to La Liga’s Girona, the Cityzens played to a +19.2 xGDiff. In the 13 games after, it slid to +1.6.

City have earned only 14 points in the latter stretch, and it would’ve been much worse without a three-game win streak to close the season.

For Miami, it's 2020 MLS MVP Alejandro Pozeulo’s arrival in a trade from Toronto. 

Miami’s xGDiff decreased from -4.1 in the 19 games before Pozuelo’s debut to -1.6 in the 15 games after. The Herons have earned 26 of their 48 points since the Spaniard’s arrival.

Then there's another twist. NYCFC's home-away from Citi Field, which will host Monday's game with Yankee Stadium unavailable.

In the last two regular seasons, City have played to a 13-2-4  record and +41 goal differential at Yankee Stadium. They’ve gone 7-4-5 with a +3 goal differential in their “home" games elsewhere.

So the odds are leaning too heavily toward the home side here.

With NYCFC’s recent win streak and Pozuelo likely returning from a two-match injury layoff, I'm going a bit more conservative than I might otherwise. The play for me here is Miami +1 goal on an Asian handicap at -125 odds and an implied 55.6% probability.

If City win by one goal it’s a push. You lose only on a muti-goal NYCFC win, something the Cityzens have managed in only two of 24 games outside Yankee Stadium this season.

Quillen's Pick: Inter Miami +1 Asian Handicap (-125)

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Dallas vs. Minnesota

Dallas Odds-112
Minnesota Odds+280
Over/Under2.5 (-143/+106)
Day | TimeSunday | 9:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchFS1
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Each of these teams won on the road in the regular season series, but the latter meeting — a 3-0 FC Dallas win at Minnesota United on Labor Day weekend — seems more likely to reflect what might happen Monday.

Minnesota have picked up only four points since losing defender Bakaye Dibassy for the season in late August. The Loons have lost all four away matches since that date.

Meanwhile, Dallas have won six of their last seven at home. That includes victories over the top two teams in the league, LAFC and the Philadelphia Union, as well as the surging LA Galaxy.

They've also seen teenage wide man Alan Velasco return from a layoff of just more than a month and contribute a match-winning assist in a 2-1 Decision Day victory over Sporting Kansas City. 

Playoff games are often contested more tightly than the average MLS game, which can bring in a greater chance of a draw in particular. Backing a home favorite at slightly less than even money a little daunting.

However, that’s what I think you have to do here with FC Dallas at -112 odds and an implied 52.8% probability.

Minnesota might have beaten Vancouver on Decision Day to ensure they didn’t fall out of the postseason completely, but this feels like a frontier too far given each team’s current form.

Quillen's Pick: Dallas ML (-112)

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