MLS Is Back Odds & Picks: How to Bet Sporting KC vs. Colorado Rapids

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Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Khiry Shelton #11 of Sporting Kansas City

  • In a Friday night match, the bottom of Group D will face off in an elimination game of Sporting KC vs. Colorado Rapids at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
  • Over the last year, both squads have been pretty uninspiring defensively, especially Sporting KC who allowed the second-most goals in the MLS last season.
  • Is there value on the total in this battle of solid offenses and questionable defenses? I break down the match below and give my favorite bet.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids Betting Odds

Sporting KC odds -107 [BET NOW]
Colorado Rapids odds +255 [BET NOW]
Draw odds +270 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3 (-103/-120) [BET NOW]
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Odds as of Friday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


The bottom of Group D faces off in an elimination Friday night as Sporting KC battles the Colorado Rapids. Sporting KC was stunned by two goals from Minnesota in stoppage time to lose 2-1.

Colorado Rapids were poor, losing 2-0 to Real Salt Lake and never really created any high-quality chances. The loser of this match will be going home from the MLS is Back Tournament.

Sporting KC

The 2-1 loss was disappointing for Sporting KC as they controlled the entire match, but just couldn’t finish. Sporting won the expected goals battle 1.49 to 1.12. In fact, for the first 65 minutes of the game Minnesota had registered just one shot, while KC had 14 shots registered.


Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.


Sporting KC missed the postseason last year for the first time in 10 years.

However, their underlying metrics show they were a bit unlucky. Based on expected points, Sporting should have earned 48 points rather than 38.

Over the offseason, Sporting finally addressed their need for a center forward by signing Liga MX’s top goal scorer Alan Pulido from Chivas Guadalajara. He figures to improve an offense that averaged 1.72 xG per match last season.

Sporting’s main issue last season was their defense. Kansas City let in 67 goals, which was the second-highest mark in MLS. They brought in newcomers Roberto Puncec and Winston Reid to try and stabilize their backline.

With high offensive output and a shaky defense, Sporting KC’s matches last year were really high scoring, with an average of 3.36 xG per match. I expect another high-scoring affair Friday night against the worst defense in MLS one season ago.

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Colorado Rapids

The Rapids were poor in their first match, allowing two goals to the 19th-ranked offense in MLS a season ago. They weren’t much better offensively, creating only one chance over 0.15 xG in the match.

Last season, Colorado had the worst defensive record in the league, allowing 1.93 expected goals per match, but the Rapids are hoping their two young centerbacks Lalas Abubakar and newly-acquired Auston Trusty can help fix their leaky defense.

Colorado also lost USMNT legend Tim Howard in the offseason, and they haven’t found a capable replacement who can help stabilize things behind a young backline.

The Rapids posted decent offensive numbers last season, generating 1.64 xG per match. That number stands to improve as the Rapids signed talented attacking midfielder Younes Namli from FC Krasnodar.

With a shaky defense and an improving offense, I expect this match versus Sporting KC to provider some fireworks.

Analysis

Based on the current line at DraftKings, I don’t see any value in backing either side in this match.

    • Sporting KC projected odds: +117 (46.01% win probability)
    • Real Salt Lake projected odds: +212 (32.10%)
    • Draw projected odds: +307 (21.89%)
    • Sporting KC projected xG: 1.94
    • Colorado Rapids projected xG: 1.58

Instead, I am going to look at the total. Since I have 3.51 goals projected for this match, I am going to back Over 3 goals at short odds.

Pick: Over 3 (-103)
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