Sunday MLS Odds, Picks, Prediction for Philadelphia vs. Chicago: Back Union to Grab Win (August 1)
Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Andre Blake.
- Philadelphia hosts Chicago on Sunday in a Major League Soccer showdown.
- The Union, who will get boosts in the form of returning players from international duty, face opponents that get their manager back on the sideline.
- Ian Quillen breaks down the matchup below and delivers his best bet.
Philadelphia vs. Chicago Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-165 / +125)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 6 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||UniMás | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Saturday night via DraftKings.|
The Philadelphia Union look to rediscover their spring form when they host the Chicago Fire, who have yet to earn points on the road.
The Union won four out of five in May to climb from 10th all the way into second place in the Eastern Conference, but they have earned inconsistent results since and faded to fourth entering the weekend.
The Fire began the weekend 13th despite playing two-thirds of their schedule so far at Soldier Field. Chicago has lost on all five of their away trips after earning only five points (all from draws) in 11 road games in 2021.
Union Get Boosts From Internationals Returning
The Union may have lost some of the winning momentum of the spring, but they’ve still excelled at making important plays late.
Kacper Przybylko has done so more than anyone, and struck again when his 85th-minute goal rescued a point in a 1-1 draw at Inter Miami on Sunday.
While Philadelphia have only won two of their last eight, it has scored six goals after the 80th minute in that stretch, picking up six extra points with those goals in the process.
Striker Cory Burke and goalkeeper Andre Blake return from international duty after Jamaica was eliminated by the United States in the Concacaf Gold Cup last Sunday. Burke has scored in Philadelphia’s two previous meetings with Chicago this season, and has six goals in five total appearances against the Fire.
The Jamaican striker’s return comes just in time, with the MLS Disciplinary suspending fellow attacker Sergio Santos one match for kicking a ball in the direction of the crowd in Miami.
Fullback Alvas Powell — another Jamaican — is out with a hamstring injury picked up at the Gold Cup.
Returning Manager Should Give Fire Boost
Early this month, the Fire looked on the verge of a turnaround with consecutive home wins against Atlanta United and Orlando City.
Then manager Raphael Wicky had to leave the team for three matches because of a family health matter in Switzerland. The Fire picked up only one point in that stretch, and even then yielded a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw against D.C. United.
Wicky has returned this week and will be on the sideline Sunday.
But he can’t go onto the field and finish the Fire’s chances.
Chicago has underperformed its expected goals (xG) more than any team in MLS, with a goal difference that is more than 10 worse than xG would predict, according to American Soccer Analysis.
Striker Robert Beric has two goals and an xG total of 5.96, after he finished tied for second in the 2020 MLS Golden Boot Race.
Betting Analysis & Pick
It’s best to keep this one simple.
You could look at the Fire’s xG and believe they’re undervalued. But those xG are explained pretty simply by a forward who is out of form and a roster that doesn’t have enough supplementary scoring options.
You could look at Philadelphia’s recent form and believe they’re overvalued. But their two recent losses came to East title contenders Orlando and Nashville.
Philadelphia is still a good team that has won four of seven at home. Chicago is still a mediocre one that is even worse than that on the road.
You’d expect the Union to win this one most of the time.
The odds may have shortened to -157 and a 61.1% implied probability, but that remains good value given what I’ve discussed above. I’d like Philadelphia probably as short as -200.
Pick: Philadelphia ML (-157)