Sporting Kansas City vs. Austin FC: Sunday Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction (May 9)

Sporting Kansas City vs. Austin FC: Sunday Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction (May 9) article feature image
Credit:

Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Alan Pulido and Johnny Russell.

  • With a win over Sporting Kansas City, Austin FC can become the first MLS expansion team to win three of its first four games since 2009.
  • SKC's offense has been lackluster thus far, but Alan Pulido getting healthier has to bode well for improvement.
  • Ian Quillen explains below why he's backing the home side to give Austin it's second loss of the year in Sunday's match.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Austin Odds

Sporting Kansas City Odds -108
Austin Odds +270
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-133 / -102)
Day | Time Sunday | 7:30 p.m. ET
TV FS1
Odds updated Saturday evening via DraftKings.

Austin manager Josh Wolff and center back Matt Besler return to the city where they spent the bulk of their playing careers in a visit to Kansas City on Sunday evening.

Wolff scored 43 of his 80 MLS goals in K.C. across seven seasons, the last season-plus of that under the tutelage of Peter Vermes, now MLS’ longest-tenured manager.

Besler had played his entire pro career under Vermes before he signed with expansion Austin FC  as a free agent this offseason.

The pupils find themselves in an unexpected position — two points ahead of their former mentor in the standings. Can they stay there?

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Sporting Kansas City

Striker Alan Pulido returned to Vermes’ starting XI and scored his first goal of the season in Week 3, but Sporting gave arguably their worst performance of the season in a 3-1 defeat at Real Salt Lake.

After Pulido opened the scoring, SKC allowed three unanswered goals to make it five points lost from winning positions in two matches.

That trend will probably even out a bit over time, and Sporting also overcame a deficit in their lone victory.

The bigger concern is a general lack of dynamism in the final third, with only 2.52 expected goals (xG) worth of offense created, according to American Soccer Analysis.

One culprit is Israeli international Gadi Kinda, whose goal involvement in 2021 has come from the penalty spot. In 18 appearances last season, he had six goals and two assists without taking a penalty.

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Austin

Wolff’s side might be the best early story in MLS after rattling off back-to-back away victories to outplay early expectations.

Designated Player signing Cecilio Dominguez struck for a second-half brace in a 3-1, comeback win over Colorado in Week 2. Diego Fagundez’s early goal held up in a 1-0 win in Minnesota in Week 3.

Austin has conceded only three goals, an exceptional record for an expansion side, but one flattered by the caliber of their opponents.

They caught LAFC in Week 1 without defending goals champion Diego Rossi and with 2019 goals champ Carlos Vela for only 21 minutes. The two teams they’ve beaten had scored only three goals between them in their first six matches.

And based on the xG created by both teams in their matches, Austin’s +1 goal difference is about two better than what you’d expect.


Betting Analysis & Pick

Projecting performances of a new club like Austin FC almost has to be a qualitative exercise. You might have data on players, but you have very little of it from their time together. In Austin’s case, you also have no previous data on manager Josh Wolff, a rookie head coach.

What you do have is the history of other MLS expansion sides facing their own version of Austin’s challenge. Of those, the last to win three of their first four games was the 2009 Seattle Sounders, who made considerably splashier signings than Austin to start life in MLS.

Kansas City’s offense is cause for concern, but this roster’s success last season — and the fact Pulido has been working back from injury — is reason to trust it a bit longer.

That begins with backing them to find their 2020 form against an Austin side playing its fourth straight on the road. At -108 odds — a 52% implied probability — it’s a more sensible play wagering than the debutantes keep earning road results forever.

Pick: Sporting Kansas City moneyline (-108)

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