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Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Colorado Rapids MLS Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction (Sunday, May 2)

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Colorado Rapids MLS Betting Odds, Picks & Prediction (Sunday, May 2) article feature image

Michael Janosz/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Lucas Cavallini.

  • Despite failing to qualify for the MLS playoffs last season, Vancouver has surprisingly yet to lose to open the new campaign.
  • Colorado hasn't been so lucky, drawing with Dallas and losing to Austin FC.
  • Even with their recent forms, the Rapids are still favored, and Ian Quillen doesn't agree.

Vancouver vs. Colorado Odds

Vancouver Odds+245
Colorado Odds-105
Over/Under2.5 (-160 / +118)
Day | TimeSunday | 10 p.m. ET
How To WatchESPN+
Odds updated Saturday evening via DraftKings.

Vancouver will attempt to continue one of the more unlikely unbeaten starts to the season when its “hosts” Colorado in Utah in the final game of Week 3 on Sunday night.

The Whitecaps and Rapids have exactly one postseason appearance between them over the last three seasons.

That came last year, when Colorado weathered a COVID-19 outbreak that forced five postponements before manager Robin Fraser guided his side to a fifth seed in the West based on points per game. Had total points been the criteria — as in most seasons — it would’ve been Vancouver sneaking into the eighth spot in the West.

Now that both clubs are anticipating a more normal 2021, this is one of those matches both teams may view as an important one for playoff positioning. If either one reaches the second season, it may be at the expense of the other.

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The Whitecaps have had a strange start. Both their home and road openers were played in empty stadiums, even while clubs elsewhere are welcoming back limited-capacity crowds, since both “hosts” were Canadian.

Both their opponents entered as favorites while balancing MLS and Concacaf Champions League play. And Vancouver probably deserved to win the game it drew, and draw the game it won.

In a 1-0 win over Portland, the ‘Caps generated only 0.3 expected goals (xG), according to StatsBomb. But they took the lead through Lucas Cavallini’s back-post header off a corner, then held on for dear life.

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.

In a 2-2 draw with Toronto in Week 2, they matched TFC with an xG at 1.6. But a large chunk of Toronto’s total came from a fluky deflection that gifted Jonathan Osorio a late equalizer.

On the injury front, attacker Tosaint Ricketts could be set for his season debut after missing out so far with a left hamstring strain.  Fullback Michael Baldisimo is questionable after spraining his ankle this week in training.

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After shading a season-opening scoreless draw at Dallas, the Rapids were fully deserving of becoming the first team to lose to Austin in the expansion side’s MLS history.

Former Rookie of the Year Andre Shinyashiki gave the Rapids the lead, but Austin wrestled control of the match after halftime, scoring three times and creating the vast majority of its 2.1 xG-worth of chances after the break.

Former Dallas attacker Michael Barrios is still in search of his first goal or assist for his new club, though the xG and xA (expected assist) metrics suggest he is due for one of each.

Defenders Lalas Abubakar and Sam Vines both have yet to make their season debuts for Colorado. They’re each officially questionable on the injury report (with unspecified ailment) for Sunday.

Betting Analysis & Pick

It’s certainly fair to question the circumstances of Vancouver’s first results. But the three-way-line suggests the Rapids are more proven, and I hardly understand that.

Okay, so Colorado finished four spots in front of Vancouver last year, and was 21 better in goal-difference. That performance has to be skewing the odds in Colorado’s favor more than anything uncovered so far this season.

Here’s the problem with that: The 2020 schedule was seriously unbalanced and unusual, even without Colorado’s month-long break in the middle of it. Half of Colorado’s eight wins came against teams that finished outside the expanded 18-team playoff field. Its last three arrived during a compact five-game stretch.

It’s hard to quantify momentum, but it seems it played a pretty obvious role there. Meanwhile, the Whitecaps were trying to manage the stress of a pandemic that still wasn’t well understood while living in a hotel in Oregon away from their family and friends.

Given that, it makes a lot more sense to judge these teams based on what they’ve shown in 2021, even if 2020 is a much larger sample. By this year’s form, the ‘Caps should be at even odds at worst, and more likely as slight favorites in their home away from home.

There’s almost definitely value betting them to win on the moneyline or on a win/draw double chance wager. The latter, at -113 odds and an implied probability around 53%, is my preference since given all we still don’t know.

Pick: Whitecaps or draw, double chance (-113)

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