San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers Betting Odds, Preview & Picks: Preview for Saturday Major League Soccer (May 15)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Portland’s Claudio Bravo and Diego Chara.
- The Earthquakes are favored to beat the Timbers when the two teams meet on Saturday night in Portland.
- Both teams are coming off losses to Seattle, but the Timbers are the more rested side.
- Ian Quillen breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
San Jose vs. Portland Odds
|San Jose Odds||+118|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-172 / +227)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 10 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||ESPN+|
|Odds updated Friday evening via DraftKings.|
San Jose looks to shake off a hard-luck loss when it welcomes Portland to PayPal Park on Saturday night.
The Earthquakes lost 1-0 at home to Seattle on Wednesday night and were held scoreless for the first time this season despite allowing their opponent only one shot on target.
The Timbers also lost to the Sounders their last time out, but have had six days to prepare for this trip to the Bay Area in search of a second win this season.
Having more rest is a big deal in MLS, where squads aren’t particularly deep. But Portland’s injury woes could cancel out that advantage.
Workload a Question for Earthquakes
The Quakes enter the fifth weekend of the MLS season in the unusual spot of having two leading scorers separated by 21 years in age.
The 17-year-old Cade Cowell scored both his goals and added all three of his assists in wins over Dallas and D.C. And 38-year-old Chris Wondolowski — the all-time leading MLS scorer now turned supersub — scored career goals 167 and 168 after the 80th minute in a 2-1 win over Salt Lake.
But with the quick turnaround, it’s worth asking if that dynamic traps manager Matías Almeyda a bit.
Typically, forward would be one of the first positions you rotate to manage workloads. But it’s unclear if Wondolowski is an option to start anymore. If he’s not, Andy Rios could also possibly spell Cowell. Or Almeyda could decide it’s worth pushing the 17-year-old while he still has young legs and joints.
The potential rigidity in Almeyda’s team goes beyond the No. 9 position. Nine players have made all five starts so far. Midfielders Eric Remedi and Jackson Yueill are two of the four players who have played all 450 minutes, and winger Cristian Espinoza has played 435.
Injury Uncertainty an Issue for Timbers
Just when the Timbers can see better health on the horizon, more injuries cloud the picture.
Defender Larrys Mabiala and Diego Chará each sustained hamstring strains last Sunday, and 2020 MLS is Back Tournament MVP Sebastián Blanco’s recovery from an ACL injury continues to take longer than first anticipated.
That has blunted some of the enthusiasm for Jeremy Ebobisse’s return from a thigh issue, after the American scored eight goals in 18 appearances in 2020.
But Giovanni Savarese will be thankful for the six days between games, tying the longest such interval for Portland between MLS fixtures this season.
When the Timbers previously had six days to prepare, it culminated in their only MLS win, a 2-1 home triumph over the Houston Dynamo in Week 2.
Betting Analysis & Pick
In most cases, if two teams of relatively equal quality are meeting when one is short-handed and the other is likely fatigued, betting the draw would be appealing. But knowing the peculiarities of the Quakes and Timbers, I’m betting on Portland to win for two reasons.
The first is San Jose’s habitual streakiness under Almeyda, which is probably linked to the combination of a frenetic, man-marking approach and a lack of squad depth for when things get busy.
In 2020, San Jose had two three-match winning streaks in all competitions, and also a nine-game stretch without a victory. In 2019, the Quakes had a four-game win streak, a six-match unbeaten run, and losing streaks of four and six matches.
The combination of the short turnaround and the energy San Jose expended trying to find an equalizer against Seattle points to this being another time when its form could go from good to bad quickly.
The second is that the Timbers’ sneakily have one of the deepest rosters in MLS. And the players who are healthy might actually be the most equipped to win the individual duels that are so important against San Jose.
Ebobisse, Marvin Loría, Eryk Williamson and Yimmi Chará are all on the pacier side. While elder statesman Diego Valeri isn’t winning many foot races these days, he can still play a heck of a ball onto the feet of teammates who do.
This is definitely more of a feel play. But the feel is pretty good. Take the Timbers at +205 odds — an implied probability of 33% — to pull off the road upset.
Pick: Portland ML (+205)