Orlando City vs. Atlanta United Odds, Picks, Prediction: Friday MLS Betting Preview (July 30)
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Nani #17 and Mauricio Pereyra #10.
- Orlando City hosts Atlanta United on Friday night, with both clubs coming off a loss.
- The visitors are now winless in 10 straight matches, while the hosts are fresh off a 5-0 thrashing.
- Ian Quillen breaks down the game below and explains why both teams are likely to score.
Orlando City vs. Atlanta Odds
|Orlando City Odds||-117|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-129 / -105)|
|Day | Time||Friday | 8 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Thursday night via DraftKings.|
As Orlando City hosts rivals Atlanta United on Friday night, both will be looking to rebound from somewhat jarring losses.
For Orlando, it’s the margin of a 5-0 defeat at New York City FC that will be the main surprise, since manager Oscar Pareja’s decided to more or less punt on the match by resting top scorer Nani and assist leader Mauricio Pereyra.
Atlanta will be more frustrated by not coming away with points in their 1-0 defeat to Columbus, having bossed most of the opening hour before going behind and eventually extending their winless run to 10 matches.
Atlanta dominated the first three years of this matchup before Orlando wrested control of it last year. They also played to a 0-0 draw on opening weekend of this season.
Orlando City Must Recover From Defensive Nightmare
Despite Orlando traveling with a light roster to The Bronx, it took 40 minutes for the hosts to break through.
That burst the dam. City not only scored four more after the break, they also achieved 4.9 expected goals (xG) in chances created, a rarity even in such blowouts.
There don’t appear to be any long-term injury issues for Nani or Peyera, nor for American attacker Chris Mueller, who also did not travel Sunday.
And fullback Ruan — as important to Orlando’s offense as its defense — appears ready to return to the starting XI after playing the second 45 against NYCFC. A lower-body injury had kept him out since May.
The picture is less clear on former Brazil international Alexandre Pato, who has been upgraded to questionable on the club’s injury report for a few matches but still hasn’t dressed since taking a knee injury in the season opener.
Even if available, it’s highly unlikely Pato would start in the No. 9 role even with Dike and Akindele at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Instead it could potentially be Mueller with Nani and Pereyra playing just behind.
Atlanta’s Attack Is Improving
Atlanta was seen off by a tactically superior Columbus side on Saturday via Jonathan Mensah’s 65th-minute header in interim manager Rob Valentino’s second match in charge.
The Crew absorbed pressure from a short-handed United side for most of the first hour, choosing their moments to counterattack with speed.
With more than a half-dozen players still out to injury or international duty, Atlanta faded late and Columbus took advantage.
That said, the eye test still reveals an improved attack since Valentino took over for Gabriel Heinze, with xG totals reflecting those games as two of the top three or four most dangerous attacking nights for Atlanta this season.
That’s especially impressive considering Valentino had virtually no training time after taking over during the second of three games in eight days.
One obvious difference is Valentino’s trust in club all-time scoring leader Josef Martinez, who played all 90 minutes Saturday in his first start since late May. Martinez clearly faded late, but pushing his fitness could pay dividends on Friday.
Midfielder Jake Mulraney is questionable with a lower-body injury after leaving in the 32nd minute of the Columbus defeat.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This Atlanta team still isn’t close to the dynamism of the 2018 MLS Cup-winning side, but their attacking improvement is real.
Offensively, Orlando has still been only shut out twice while averaging 1.75 goals in games when Nani plays. Defensively, they’re not the same team right now as they were when they kept four clean sheets in their first six.
If you’re asking me a winner, my lean is Orlando, but the absences of Dike and Akindele make me hesitant to play the three-way line.
I feel a little better about the idea of both relatively rested offenses snagging at least a goal here, with -141 odds and an implied 58.5% probability a fair price to pay. I wouldn’t go much lower than -150, though.
Pick: Both Teams To Score (-141)