New MLS Coaches Battle in Sunday’s New York Derby

Credit:

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: NYC FC’s Alexander Callens and NY Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips

After a busy 10-match slate in MLS Saturday night, the spotlight turns to the Bronx on Sunday for a battle between New York City FC and New York Red Bulls.

Both clubs are toward the top of the Eastern Conference, but both will have to navigate the rest of the season with new managers.

Below I’ve analyzed the betting market and pinpointed a value play for the New York derby.

Season Record: 31-33-2, +17.26 units, +27% ROI

 

(All lines as of Sunday morning via Pinnacle. All betting percentages are the offshore market average. Bettors can find all the latest odds and betting percentages with a Sports Insights membership).

New York Red Bulls at New York City FC (7 p.m. ET)

Moneyline Odds: NYC FC +121, NY Red Bulls +212, Draw +284
Total: 3 (o-125)

NYC FC and the NY Red Bulls are second and third in the Eastern Conference standings, respectively, but both have undergone recent coaching changes.

For the hosts, Patrick Vieira led the team for a little over two seasons before moving on to Nice (France’s Ligue 1) in early June. He was replaced by Domenec Torrent, who has one win and one loss in his brief tenure so far. NYC FC has fared much better at home this season (7-0-1) than on the road (2-4-3).

As for the NY Red Bulls, they recently parted ways with head coach Jesse Marsch after 3.5 seasons so he could pursue other opportunities, most likely with parent club RB Leipzig in Germany. He was replaced by Chris Armas, who has been an assistant on staff since 2015 and has extensive experience playing in the league. He obviously inherits a good situation with the club losing just once in their past 10 matches, and he also benefits from knowing the team already. Sunday’s match will be his first at the helm, though.

NYC FC are receiving the majority of tickets (71%), but they’ve moved from +109 to +121 since opening at Pinnacle. NY Red Bulls have seen their odds get better, from +240 to +212, while the draw remains around the opener of +283.

Oddsmakers and bettors clearly don’t think a draw is in the cards for this all-New York battle. The draw has accounted for just 11% of bets, and it has the longest moneyline odds at +284. With a high total of 3.0 goals and juice on the over, there should be a winner between the teams. It appears that some sharper money is taking the Red Bulls to get another victory over NYC FC.

 

The NY Red Bulls have owned NYC FC in recent meetings, beating them 4-0 in league play on May 5, and crushing them again, 4-0, in the U.S. Open Cup just a month ago.

Since most of the value has already been sucked out of the Red Bulls moneyline, I’m looking at the over/under for the best bet to make. NYC FC’s small home field caters to goals, and they’ve averaged 2.5 goals there this season. The Red Bulls are one of the best road teams in the league and don’t have trouble scoring (14 goals in eight road matches). Seeing that this is a short trip to a local venue, they should be able to keep that pace up.

Each club is in the top five in the league in xG (expected goals) and xGF/g (expected goals scored per game), so the scoring is no fluke. With two newer coaches leading the way, team organization and defense may suffer, so I expect to see goals fly in.

Value Bet: Over 3 goals (-125)

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