MLS Week 14 Betting Preview and Value Plays
Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara (18) colliding with Philadelphia Union defender Auston Trusty (26)
There are just two more weeks until the start of the 2018 World Cup, which will include about 15 MLS players (final rosters due on June 4). Until then, there’s plenty of league action, including 11 matches on the slate for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
All of the intriguing matchups fall on Saturday, including:
- LA Galaxy at Portland Timbers (5 p.m. ET)
- Orlando City at New York City FC (7:30 p.m. ET)
- New York Red Bulls at New England Revolution (7:30 p.m. ET)
- Philadelphia Union at Atlanta United (7:30 p.m. ET)
- LA FC at FC Dallas (8 p.m. ET)
The weekend begins with Colorado hosting Vancouver on Friday night (9 p.m. ET), and wraps up on Sunday with Sporting Kansas City taking on Minnesota United (8:30 p.m. ET).
I’ve picked out two plays offering value (Season Record: 29-28-2, +20.41 units, 36% ROI) and have also offered thoughts on each of the other nine matches.
(All lines as of Friday afternoon via Pinnacle sportsbook. All betting percentages are the offshore market average. Bettors can find all the latest odds and betting percentages with a Sports Insights membership).
Vancouver Whitecaps at Colorado Rapids (Friday, 9 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Colorado +109, Vancouver +258, Draw +264
Total: 2.5 (o-109)
The Rapids have been struggling, and the stats back up the poor performance on the field. Luckily they’re at home on Friday night against a Vancouver side that has given up the most goals (27) in the Western Conference.
Colorado opened +125 and are down to +105, so bettors believe they’ll turn things around and get the victory. I’m not as convinced but don’t think there’s much value taking Vancouver either, so it’s a pass for me.
LA Galaxy at Portland Timbers (Saturday, 5 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Portland -127, LA Galaxy +364, Draw +277
Total: 3 (u-111)
Despite beating Portland in the opening game of the season, the Galaxy haven’t had much success against good teams this year, losing seven of 13 matches so far. I lean toward Portland here but don’t see much value, and am also scared off a bit by the line movement toward LA.
Orlando City at New York City FC (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: NYC FC -197, Orlando City +547, Draw +351
Total: 3 (o-130)
It’s the case for most teams, but NYC FC will be really happy to return home, where they’re 5-0-0 this season. It’ll be a difficult task for Orlando City to keep them from scoring multiple goals, and my lean is on the over here, but not at the current price.
Toronto FC at Columbus Crew (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Columbus +110, Toronto FC +265, Draw +244
Total: 2.5 (o-125)
This has the potential to be the match of the week, and Columbus have proven to be one of the top teams in the league. The Crew have the top xGD (Expected Goal Differential) in the league by a wide margin, but Toronto FC are fifth on the list and have played three fewer games. They’re also 15 points behind Columbus right now and would love to get at least a point on the road. I think Toronto could pull it off but I’m not keen on betting against Columbus on their current form.
New York Red Bulls at New England Revolution (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: New England +135, NY Red Bulls +188, Draw +275
Total: 3 (u-119)
Somehow the Revolution stole a point against Atlanta United on Wednesday night and have another tough opponent at home on Saturday night in the New York Red Bulls. I get the feeling that there will be a late game-winning goal by either side, but just don’t know who, so this will be another pass for me.
Philadelphia Union at Atlanta United (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Atlanta -207, Philadelphia +572, Draw +360
Total: 3 (u-109)
Line movement is trending toward Atlanta United since opening with the number up to high as -230 at some sportsbooks. They haven’t had the best results lately but should have had all three points in New England on Wednesday and will need to finish their chances against a Philadelphia squad who are on a roll.
The juice on the total has actually shifted toward under 3 goals, from over -120 to under -109, which surprised me a bit. The Union have struggled on the road all season with only two goals, but they’re trending in the right direction and should be good for at least one on Saturday. I’m going with the Over 3 (-106) on the perfect playing conditions.
Houston Dynamo at Montreal Impact (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Montreal +156, Houston +162, Draw +274
Total: 3 (u-117)
The Impact have been in shambles but are still slight home favorites against Houston, who just lost, 3-1, in Salt Lake Wednesday night. Montreal have been shut out in four straight games but an Over/Under of 3 instead of 2.5 suggests that they’ll break the streak on Saturday. They were able to score at home earlier in the year and do have some dangerous players.
Montreal are also catching Houston in a tough spot, and you’re buying very low by backing the Impact to get a result. Public bettors are on the Dynamo, but I’m sensing a frustrating draw (+274) for both teams.
LA FC at FC Dallas (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Dallas -162, LA FC +439, Draw +324
This is a great matchup featuring the league’s toughest team to beat, FC Dallas (one loss), hosting the club with the most road wins (four) in the West, LA FC. Oddsmakers expect FC Dallas to get all three points, but the line is far too high for my liking.
San Jose Earthquakes at Chicago Fire (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Chicago -110, San Jose +281, Draw +294
Total: 3 (u-117)
Both clubs have lost seven times this season, scored 18 goals, have an identical -4.3 xGD and have given up nearly the same number of goals (Chicago 24, San Jose 23). Neither team is very good, and I want no part betting this match.
Seattle Sounders at Real Salt Lake (Saturday, 9:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Real Salt Lake +138, Seattle +202, Draw +246
Total: 2.5 (o-130)
The Sounders have a great opportunity to get a road win at Real Salt Lake, and their low odds of +202 reflect that. They’ve scored the fewest goals in the league (seven) but are facing a club that is conceding the third-highest (26). Seattle opened +220 and the line has moved toward them, but I’d be more apt to bet over their team total since I don’t trust them to get the victory.
Minnesota United at Sporting Kansas City (Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Moneyline odds: Sporting KC -340, Minnesota +1021, Draw +461
Total: 3 (o-115)
Sporting Kansas City are one of the biggest favorites of the season at -340 and will be looking for revenge after a 1-1 draw at Minnesota just 11 days ago. Sporting KC at -1.5 goals is an option to bet rather than the high moneyline, but Minnesota have finally put together a couple good results in a row to build on. Sporting KC probably wins, but I don’t think there’s any value in it.
Value Plays (Season: 29-28-2, +20.41 units, 36% ROI), All plays risk 1 unit
Philadelphia-Atlanta Over 3 (-106)
Montreal-Houston Draw (+274)
Updated MLS Cup odds (via 5Dimes):
- FC Dallas keep on winning and now have the third-best odds to win the MLS Cup at +800.
- Atlanta United (+550) remain the favorites for the sixth consecutive week.
- Oddsmakers still can’t figure out Real Salt Lake: they’ve moved from +3400 to +7000 to +8000 to +4500 in the last month.
Don’t forget to visit our 2018 World Cup Central page for all the latest odds, analysis, value plays, injuries and more.
Team-by-team breakdowns have also been rolled out as we approach the opening games.