MLS Playoffs Betting Odds & Pick: Columbus vs. Nashville (Sunday, Nov. 29)
Ira L. Black — Corbis/Getty Images. Pictured: Nashville’s Daniel Rios, left, and captain Dax McCarty.
- The Columbus Crew will take on Nashville SC in an MLS matchup on Sunday night.
- Jeremy Pond has his eye on the under in what he thinks will be a tight game.
- Check out Pond's full betting preview with updated odds below.
Columbus vs. Nashville Odds
|Columbus Odds||+123 [BET NOW]|
|Nashville Odds||+225 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+225 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+138/-180) [BET NOW]|
|Day/Time||Sunday, 8 p.m. ET|
Editor’s note: At least six Columbus players have tested positive for COVID-19 heading into this match. However, the game is still scheduled as planned as of this story’s publication. Please check back for further updates.
Things are going to get interesting in the Major League Soccer postseason Sunday when Columbus hosts expansion side Nashville in an Eastern Conference semifinal-round match.
The Crew, seeded third and the highest-ranked club left on the Eastern side of the bracket, picked up a 3-2 home win against the New York Red Bulls at MAPFRE Stadium in the first round.
As for Nashville, the fresh face has produced back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs, with the most recent coming in a stunning, 1-0 overtime road triumph against second-seeded Toronto FC earlier in the week.
These sides met just once during the regular season, with Columbus picking up a 2-0 win back on Sept. 19 in Ohio.
With that all said, let’s take a peak at what could be in store.
Seeing the Crew get to this point in the season should not surprise anyone. This is a club that is solid from front to back, which showed in the RBNY win.
Columbus also showed its character and resilience in that affair, which is something you saw from this outfit throughout its campaign. Down 1-0 to the Red Bulls, the Crew scored three consecutive goals to pull away. A very late RBNY goal tightened things up on scoresheet, but the visitor never got another quality chance in waning moments to potentially force overtime.
Pedro Santos, Darlington Nagbe and Gyasi Zardes — Columbus’ top players — scored, which should have the trio feeling confident entering this contest.
— x – Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) November 21, 2020
Columbus concluded the regular season with solid underlying numbers. However, you would expect more from the Crew after such a strong campaign.
Columbus finished with a decent 30.8 expected goals for and 29.9 expected goals against, generating a +0.9 xGDiff and +0.04 xGDiff/90 minutes. The latter two numbers — xGDiff and xGDiff/90 minutes — were relatively flat, which makes this match with Nashville relatively even on paper.
So far, it has been a dream postseason run for Nashville in its first year in the league. The club, which has suffered just two losses in its last 14 fixtures, could not be in better form and is peaking at the absolute right time.
Many people might have looked at that Toronto FC result, thinking it must have been a fluke. However, Nashville dominated its Canadian foe much of the second half and overtime of the contest. Bottom line, it deserved the win that came via Daniel Rios’ overtime goal and kept the club’s title hopes alive.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again!
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 25, 2020
Prior to its most recent win, Nashville rolled to a 3-0 victory over Inter Miami in its play-in game.
Nashville’s defensive prowess has been anchored by Walker Zimmerman, who was named the league’s defender of the year. Bottom line, this is a hard club to break down in its defensive third of the pitch.
Despite it’s recent goal-scoring fortunes, Nashville struggled offensively in the regular season. The club finished 12th out of 14 teams in goals scored, finding the back of the net only 24 times in 23 regular-season games.
Statistically, Nashville’s numbers are what you’d expect. The club finished with a mediocre 23.9 xG, but impressive 25.4 xGA, which resulted in a -1.5 xGDiff and -0.06 xGDiff/90 minutes. The club’s xGA was was tied for second best in the conference with Philadelphia, which was eliminated from the playoffs.
Columbus has a slight edge in the advanced metrics, but it’s basically a wash when you factor in the postseason results.
Betting Analysis & Picks
Bottom line, this is really going to be quite a match. Neither side gives the ball away or concedes much in terms of scoring opportunities, so don’t expect that to change in this contest.
That said, I am backing the total to stay under the number in this affair. This is going to be an absolute dogfight, which could wind up going all the way to overtime and penalty kicks in my opinion.
If you’re looking for a side, I would back Columbus via a Draw No Bet wager at no more than minus-140 prior to kickoff. The Crew is 9-0-1 at home this season, so this is the safest play if you’re looking for a team to get on.
Picks: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-148)