Columbus vs. Philadelphia: Sunday Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (April 18)

Columbus vs. Philadelphia: Sunday Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (April 18) article feature image
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Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Columbus Crew standout Gyasi Zardes.

  • The Columbus Crew begins their defense of MLS Cup against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday.
  • Both sides have started the season well in the Concacaf Champions League and pack a punch offensively.
  • Ian Quillen breaks down where he sees betting value on Sunday in Columbus.

Columbus vs. Philadelphia Odds

Columbus Odds -120
Philadelphia Odds +295
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (-123 / -105)
Day | Time Sunday | 5:30 p.m. ET
TV FS1
Odds as of Saturday afternoon via DraftKings.

Columbus begins its MLS Cup title defense on Sunday when it welcomes defending Supporters’ Shield holders Philadelphia.

Both clubs have already won two matches in the Concacaf Champions League, which kicked off its first round this month. 

These sides will be meeting for a third time in Ohio in the last 12 months, with Columbus winning the previous two by a single goal. 

The Union overcame those defeats to post the best regular-season record in 2020 and capture the Shield. But Philly lost in the first round of the playoffs, opening the path for Columbus to capture its second MLS crown.

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Columbus

The Crew made easy work of Nicaragua’s Real Esteli in the Champions League, winning the first leg 4-0 and allowing manager Caleb Porter to manage minutes for his regulars in the return fixture last Thursday.

Last year’s leading scorer Gyasi Zardes had a brace in the opener and Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his first goal with his new club in the second leg. 

Aside from the additions of Wright-Phillips and Kevin Molino, Columbus’ core is relatively unchanged, a reason that is has emerged as the early betting favorites in the Eastern Conference.

The Crew were viewed less favorably analytically in 2020, posting an expected goal difference (xGD) of only +0.9 during the regular season, according to StatsBomb, a number they exceeded by nearly 15 goals.

Philadelphia

The Union have devoted themselves to establishing one of the most productive academies in MLS. But in doing so, they’ve eventually had to part with some of their best talent.

So it was this offseason, as Brenden Aaronson transferred to Red Bull Salzburg in Austria and Mark McKenzie moved on to Genk in Belgium.

Thus far, there has been no perceptible dip in performance, albeit against competition outside league play. And in raw numbers, the Union have turned over fewer roster spots than the Crew, albeit at higher leverage spots on the roster.

After a cagey first 135 minutes against Saprissa, manager Jim Curtin’s attack got rolling in the second half of a 4-0 home win in the second leg. Kacper Przybylko and Jamiro Monteiro have each scored twice in CCL play.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

This will be the third meeting between these sides in Columbus since September. The Crew won the previous two, 1-0 and 2-1.

Since the first, the total has gone over 2.5 goals in 13 of Philadelphia’s last 17 games, and 14 of Columbus’ last 20. And although they only combined for four goals in their two previous meetings, the aggregate total expected goals scored 6.2, according to StatsBomb.

Odds at -123 suggest a 55.16% probability of going over the total, according to The Action Network’s odds calculator. That sounds reasonable.

Both teams’ play in continental competition should help with offensive continuity challenges that can surface in early weeks.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-123)

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