Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Odds, Picks & Preview For Saturday’s MLS Matchup
Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Galaxy star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
- The LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes meet for the California Clasico on Saturday with each club in playoff position.
- The Galaxy will be down a key defender, but Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez is in the lead for the Golden Boot.
- Ian Quillen explains below why that may create the perfect storm for a lot of scoring action between the teams.
LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Odds
|LA Galaxy Odds||+104|
|San Jose Odds||+250|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+123 / -167)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 7 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||UniMás | fubo TV|
|Odds updated Friday evening via DraftKings|
The LA Galaxy host San Jose Saturday in what is one of the most anticipated California Clasico meetings in recent years.
These sides often produce wild and entertaining affairs, but it’s been a while since California’s original MLS teams met while both occupied playoff places.
This time, the Galaxy sit third in the Western Conference despite a loss in Portland last weekend.
San Jose are just above the playoff line in seventh despite following a three-match winning streak with a three-match losing run.
Galaxy Defense Will Miss Derrick Williams
The Galaxy were shut out for a second time this season, 3-0 in Portland a week ago in a match that changed drastically after defender Derrick Williams was sent off shortly before halftime.
There was no debating the punishment after Williams’ devastating and late challenge on Andy Polo, and the center back will be suspended Saturday.
But when the game was 11-on-11, you could’ve credibly argued LA was the better team, even if the Timbers shaded the expected goals (xG) from the chances they created.
But the second half might have reflected the absence of Williams in particular, as much as the Timbers’ numerical edge.
The Galaxy have conceded three goals in 268 minutes with Williams on the field. Without him, they’ve allowed eight goals in 272 minutes, including five in 225 minutes at even strength.
Elsewhere on the roster, midfielders Samuel Grandsir and Victor Vazquez are both questionable for Saturday. Grandsir had to leave after 39 minutes against Portland. Vazquez has missed three games.
San Jose: Improved, But Still Streaky
The Quakes were easily the streakiest team in MLS in their first two seasons under Matias Almeyda, and this year appears no different on that front after following a three-match win streak with three losses.
But there’s a major difference beneath the surface. The Quakes posted fewer xG than their opponents in all nine of their league defeats in 2020. A year later, they’ve actually won the xG battle in two of those losses (and tied in a third), according to StatsBomb.
In other words, San Jose is creating chances more consistently and allowing opportunities more rarely than in 2020, even if the results look the same.
Their failure to secure a couple more points might be cause to consider adding a piece or two up front, however.
While 17-year-old Cade Cowell and 38-year-old Chris Wondolowski aren’t the most conventional striking depth chart, the biggest culprit in terms of missed chances has been wide man Cristian Espinoza. He has one goal despite chances worth 2.64 xG, according American Soccer Analysis (ASA).
Betting Analysis & Pick
The xG metrics suggest San Jose is the better and more consistent team, which probably makes them a pretty good play at +250 odds, an implied probability of 28.6%.
But I can’t bring myself to bet against Galaxy striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and the run he’s on right now.
Mexico’s all-time leading international scorer remains in the lead for the 2021 MLS Golden Boot with seven goals. He’s also exceeding his xG by 2.76 per ASA numbers. In the long term that suggests an eventual regression, but in the short term it depicts a forward who is feeling it.
So where does that leave me? Looking at the total over 3.5 goals at +123 odds, or an implied 44.8% probability.
The case: Four of the last eight meetings between these teams have gone over that total. Chicharito has yet to be held scoreless in consecutive matches. The Galaxy struggle to defend when Williams is out. The Quakes lead MLS in xG for and are sixth in XG against, while LA is fifth in XG against, per ASA.
Yes, scoring is down overall in MLS. But that probably just means a slightly better price here.
Pick: Total Over 3.5 Goals (+123)