MLS Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction: Seattle vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (Sunday, May 2)
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images. Pictured: Chicharito Hernandez celebrates.
- "Chicharito" Hernandez has certainly opened the 2021 MLS season in much better form than the last, scoring five goals in two games.
- The Galaxy haven't yet played an opponent of the level of Seattle, so Sunday may render a different story for the Mexican national's early success.
- See why Ian Quillen is targeting the total, rather than a heavily favored Sounders squad.
Seattle vs. L.A. Galaxy Odds
|L.A. Galaxy Odds||+420|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+120 / -155)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 9 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Saturday evening via DraftKings.|
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will try to continue his blistering early-season form when he leads the LA Galaxy into Seattle on Sunday night.
After a trying and disappointing Year 1 in MLS, Chicharito has exploded for five goals through two games of his sophomore campaign to take the early lead in the MLS Golden Boot race.
But the defending Western Conference champion Sounders represent a major step up in class for the Galaxy, who won their opening two matches against Eastern Conference sides that barely reached last year’s expanded playoffs.
A result in Seattle would do much more to suggest first-year coach Greg Vanney’s side is for real than anything we’ve seen so far.
The Sounders have earned four points from their opening two matches, an impressive feat considering both results came without former league MVP Nicolas Lodeiro and against foes seeking playoff revenge.
Last week, Brad Smith scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw against a considerably weakened LAFC squad missing Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela, the last two MLS Golden Boot winners.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Lodeiro (quad strain), striker Fredy Montero (quad strain) and Jimmy Medranda (hamstring strain) are expected to be available off the bench Sunday.
But Josh Atencio will get a third consecutive start in Lodeiro’s creative role for now, in part because of his own performances and in part because the Sounders haven’t noticeably dipped as a unit in Lodeiro’s absence.
According to American Soccer Analysis, they’re fourth in MLS — and the best in the West — in terms of expected goal difference (xGD), the number of expected goals (xG) they’ve created against the number their opponents have created.
Chicharito scored his five goals in the course of one staggering 90-minute span, beginning in the final half-hour of a Week 1 win over Miami and concluding in the first hour of a Week 2 victory against the New York Red Bulls.
That incredible flourish from Mexico’s all-time leading international scorer has papered over other clear inadequacies, most notably a back four that can struggle taking care of the ball and limiting opponents when they don’t have it.
Miami created 2.7 xG against LA in Week 1, and while the Red Bulls weren’t as threatening in Week 2 they should’ve been, since none of the Galaxy’s defenders completed more than 75% of their passes.
Seattle aren’t likely to press as relentlessly as the Red Bulls, they have more proven attacking chops throughout the squad than either of LA’s first two opponents and won’t let the Galaxy defense off the hook as easily.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Galaxy may have entered Week 3 atop the Western Conference table and even at the top of some media Power Rankings. That might lead bettors to be surprised that they’re such a steep underdog here and tempted to take them.
But the eye test should tell you that, at least so far, this Galaxy squad isn’t at the Sounders’ level yet. An in-form Chicharito is dangerous, and Victor Vazquez and Jonathan dos Santos are quality players in the middle, but LA still struggled to control long stretches of both their matches.
FiveThirtyEight projects Seattle’s chance of victory at around 64% and that feels right to me. So it might be worth checking back closer to kickoff to see if a public rush on the Galaxy has driven Seattle’s price down. Right now they’re at -160 odds, an implied probability of 61.7%. So it’s not a terrible play now.
I’m more confident in the total going over 3.5 goals at +120 odds, an implied probability of 45%. These teams have gone over that count in four of their last six meetings. Their lowest combined xG was 2.9 in those games. And an in-form Chicharito only adds to offensive potential, even if it doesn’t convince me the Galaxy as currently constructed are ready to do battle with the big boys just yet.
Pick: Total over 3.5 goals (+120)