San Jose vs. LAFC Odds, Picks, Prediction: Expect Low-Scoring MLS Matchup (Sept. 25)

San Jose vs. LAFC Odds, Picks, Prediction: Expect Low-Scoring MLS Matchup (Sept. 25) article feature image
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Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: San Jose Earthquakes veteran Chris Wondolowski.

  • San Jose takes on Los Angeles Football Club in Saturday's Major League Soccer action.
  • The Earthquakes are trying to secure a playoff berth, while the visitors have won three games in a row.
  • Ian Quillen breaks down the match below and explains why he expects a low-scoring showdown.

San Jose vs. LAFC Odds

San Jose Odds +190
LAFC Odds +135
Draw +280
Over/Under 3.5 (+135 / -165)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 p.m. ET
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Two of Major League Soccer’s most in-form attackers meet Saturday when Los Angeles Football Club visits San Jose in Western Conference action.

Javier Eduardo “Chofis” Lopez is coming off an astounding five goals in his last two games for San Jose in the best stretch of his maiden MLS campaign.

And LAFC summer signing Cristian Arango is finding his new club nearly as hospitable, scoring goals in five consecutive matches and six in total.

The Earthquakes earned a 2-1 win in the previous meeting between these sides on Aug. 8 in San Jose, plus they’ll meet a third time on Oct. 16 in Los Angeles.

Determined San Jose Making Late Playoff Push

The heroics of Chofis have come at an absolutely crucial time for the Quakes, who begin the weekend four points back of the final conference playoff berth.

San Jose appeared to fix its striker conundrum by acquiring Jeremy Ebobisse from Portland at the trade deadline. However, after scoring his first goal in the Earthquakes’ 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy, he suffered a head injury early in a 1-0 home loss to Colorado and has been sidelined since then.

Chofis tried to single-handedly rescue San Jose with a sensational hat trick in a 4-3 loss at Real Salt Lake two games ago. And his heroic play was more successful in last weekend’s 4-3 win at Austin FC. He tied that game from the penalty spot before scoring the winner five minutes later.

This isn’t sustainable as a playmaking midfielder, though. One of San Jose’s other attackers will need to step up their production to keep the postseason chase afloat. All-time MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski hasn’t found the net since scoring twice as a substitute in a 2-1 win at RSL back in early May.

With Matias Almeyda reluctant to use prodigious teen Cade Cowell in the center-forward role, Benjamin Kikanovic earned his second start at the position in the win in Austin.

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LAFC Finding Groove During Winning Streak

Arango has done his part to jumpstart LAFC’s puzzling season with a goal in all but one of his six MLS starts after signing from Colombian side Millionarios. And it’s certainly possible last weekend’s 2-1 loss at Portland was only a short-term hiccup.

After all, manager Bob Bradley’s side had won three consecutive matches heading to Cascadia, softening the blow of 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela’s quad injury. And they start the weekend just a place out of the playoff positions.

However, the combination of 2021 track record and LAFC’s persistently sizable injury list remove room for benefit of the doubt. Remember, after their previous three-match winning run, LAFC went winless in eight games to fall beneath the playoff line.

Vela remains out Saturday, which marks the ninth game he’ll miss this season after he was absent for 17 of 24 matches during the 2020 campaign.

Midfielder Eduard Atuesta has been upgraded to questionable after missing last weekend’s loss in Portland. Uruguayan wide man Brian Rodriguez is also a question with a hamstring issue.

Betting Analysis & Picks

I have faded LAFC and their costly price often, including in last week’s loss in Portland. And I continue to believe their enormous underperformance relative to their expected goals difference of +21.2 owes to a flawed roster structure.

However, I also can’t back the Earthquakes given their six home losses and problems at center forward. So, if you made me bet the three-way line, I’m probably playing LAFC in this spot.

There’s more value here playing a low total, though, even with Chofis and Arango playing at a high level. Like many MLS games, it’s a matter of disparity between home and away form.

In 24 matches between San Jose’s home games and LAFC’s away contests, the total has gone under 2.5 goals on 11 occasions and under 3.5 goals some 19 times. This counts the teams’ previous meeting in San Jose twice.

That makes either the +145 odds on the former (40.8% implied probability) or the -165 odds on the latter (62.3% implied probability) pretty solid value.

I’ll stay a little more conservative just in case those top attackers stay hot.

Pick: Total Under 3.5 Goals (-165)

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