Los Angeles FC vs. New York City FC Odds, Preview & Predictions For Saturday

Los Angeles FC vs. New York City FC Odds, Preview & Predictions For Saturday article feature image
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Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Diego Rossi.

  • LAFC and NYCFC meet in California on Saturday with the home side looking for back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
  • NYCFC haven't won in their last three times out and have been unlucky in front of the net.
  • MLS betting analyst Ian Quillen explains why both teams are unlikely to produce a high-scoring product.

LAFC vs. NYCFC Odds

LAFC Odds -128
NYCFC Odds +325
Draw +275
Over/Under 3.5 (+131 / -172)
Day | Time Saturday | 5 p.m. ET
How To Watch UniMás | fubo TV
Odds updated Friday evening via DraftKings

Both Los Angeles FC and New York City FC look for momentum-building wins when they meet on Saturday in Southern California.

The hosts could secure consecutive victories for the first time in 2021 after taking care of the Colorado Rapids last weekend.

Meanwhile, NYCFC needs to snap a three-match winless stretch after succumbing to two, late free-kick goals in a home loss to Columbus.

Each team was among oddsmakers’ early MLS Cup favorites. Will they start earning results like it?

Can Vela Recapture His Prime for LAFC?

Carlos Vela finally made his return to LAFC’s starting XI in last week’s 2-1 victory over Colorado, contributing his first assist of the season on the back half of Diego Rossi’s brace.

That Vela has only played 100 minutes total is reason enough to believe the team we’ve seen so far won’t be the one we see for most of the season.

But at age 32, the question is if the 2019 MLS MVP is still capable of producing anything close to his age-30 campaign, which was the single most productive offensive season in league history.

It may not be necessary. Rossi scored 14 goals in 19 appearances to win the 2020 MLS Golden Boot while injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic limited Vela to only seven appearances.

If Rossi can replicate that kind of production over a 34-game schedule, a campaign like Vela’s debut 2018 MLS season — with 14 goals and nine assists — would be enough to lift LAFC back near the top of the West.

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NYCFC Have Been a Bit Unlucky

It’s easy to remember the Cityzens are missing their own striker in Brazilian Heber, who has yet to return from an ACL injury suffered in 2020.

Unlike Vela, Heber was a relatively unknown commodity when he came from the Croatian first division to lead NYCFC with 15 goals in 2019.

But a recent run of games where the results have been poorer than the chances created will serve as a reminder.

City have scored three goals fewer than the expected goals (xG) of their chances created would suggest, according to American Soccer Analysis. In their last three games — two losses and a draw — they’ve created 4.9 xG and allowed 1.6, according to MLSsoccer.com, while scoring three goals and conceding four.

New signing Talles Magno will eventually be expected to give a boost to the end product, but the left-sided player appears to be available only for a late cameo in LA.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Perhaps because of LAFC’s early results without Vela, you could get a price as low as +120 odds on the early line.

The odds have shifted in the hosts’ direction since to -128, which represents a change of 11% in implied probability, from 45% to 56%. With NYCFC due for a bit of a positive correction, that’s enough to scare me away from a ML wager now.

Instead, I like the total under 3.5 goals at -172 odds and a 63% implied probability. Goals per game are down considerably across the league, with a few possible explanations. Lines haven’t entirely adjusted yet.

Take these two clubs: They’ve played 13 games combined, which have finished above the 3.5 goal total only once. According to StatsBomb, each has only played one match where the teams’ combined xG exceeded 3.0.

Pick: Total Under 3.5 Goals (-172)

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