Wednesday MLS Betting Odds, Picks, Prediction: Philadelphia vs. New York City FC Preview (August 18)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Jim Curtin.
- Philadelphia hosts New York City FC on Wednesday in Major League Soccer action.
- The Union are hoping for better fortune on the pitch after suffering a road loss to Club America in last week's CONCACAF Champions League game.
- Ian Quillen breaks down the match below and explains why he likes the host to earn a crucial conference victory.
Philadelphia vs. NYCFC Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-139 / +104)|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 7:30 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
|Odds updated Tuesday evening via DraftKings.|
The Philadelphia Union look to bounce back from a rough trip to Mexico City when they host New York City FC on Wednesday night.
The Union lost the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal 2-0 to Club America at the Estadio Azteca last Thursday, severely denting their continental prospects.
If the defending Supporters’ Shield winners want to win a domestic trophy again, beating NYCFC would be a good place to start.
The second-place Cityzens enter with a three-point edge over the fifth-place Union. And the top-four finishers in the Eastern Conference earn the right to host their first playoff game.
New York defeated Philadelphia 2-0 in their previous meeting, a match that changed drastically after Philly’s Jose Andres Martinez was sent off in the 16th minute.
Union Enter Matchup Well-Rested
The Union were idle over the weekend, which means their last league appearance was a 2-1 loss at New England 10 days ago.
Manager Jim Curtin played a young lineup that day while resting many of his regulars for the trip to Mexico.
Paxton Aaronson, the 17-year-old brother of U.S. national team midfielder Brenden Aaronson, scored his first MLS goal in the 31st minute, but New England were ultimately worthy winners, and led 2.7-1.3 in expected goals (xG) created.
With the return leg against Club America not until September, there’s no reason Curtin would field such an inexperienced roster on Wednesday.
The Union are fully healthy, meaning he’ll have his full squad to consider when planning for Wednesday and then the quick turnaround on Saturday at home against Montreal.
Philadelphia’s +6 goal differential is 3.5 better than xG predicts. But that actually hasn’t made a major difference in the standings. Philadelphia is fifth in the East in xG differential.
NYCFC Finding Groove at Right Time
After fits and starts early that didn’t square with NYCFC’s stellar analytical numbers, manager Ronny Deila finally has his squad rolling.
Valentino Castellanos scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season before halftime of a comfortable 2-0 victory over Inter Miami on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena, extending City’s unbeaten run to six matches.
Scheduling conflicts have forced NYCFC to play half of their “home” games in New Jersey instead of Yankee Stadium, but between the venues they’ve won six in a row in either stadium.
They also drew Pumas UNAM last midweek at Yankee Stadium in the League Cup quarterfinals before falling on penalties.
Even with their good recent form, Deila’s squad hasn’t been as dynamic on the road. They haven’t won away since a 2-1 win at LAFC on May 29th, and their only other previous road victory was that triumph against 10-man Philly.
City leads the lead in xG differential at +17.0, but 12.7 of that came from just five matches: Four home wins and that previous victory against 10-man Philly.
Their 1.4 xG difference on the road is only fourth best in MLS.
Betting Analysis & Pick
In a league where home field means a lot, the line here is as even as it is in part because of NYCFC’s exceptional xG numbers.
But those numbers are less exceptional away from home and that’s including that previous meeting in Philadelphia where City enjoyed a man advantage for the final 74 minutes.
Take that unusual circumstance out and NYCFC’s xG difference on the road is -1.0, while the Union’s xG difference at home is +5.6. Both figures would be good for fifth in the East.
Home teams have won 47% of MLS games this season entering the midweek slate. So if you thought these teams were evenly matched, you’d expect the Union to win 47% of the time. That theoretically would make them a good value north of +113 odds, though I’m not quite that bullish.
Even so, since the Union are also on a full week’s rest playing an NYCFC side that isn’t, they’re easily worth backing at +150 and a 40% implied probability.
Pick: Philadelphia ML (+150)