Seattle Sounders vs. Atlanta United: Sunday Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Preview (May 23)

Seattle Sounders vs. Atlanta United: Sunday Major League Soccer Betting Odds, Picks & Preview (May 23) article feature image
Credit:

Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Raul Ruidiaz.

  • The Seattle Sounders look to continue their red-hot start to the MLS season against Atlanta United.
  • Atlanta presents the Sounders with a difficult challenge given its attacking prowess, although Seattle has already beaten some of the Western Conference's best this season.
  • Ian Quillen breaks down the betting value in the matchup and delivers his best bet for the game below.

Seattle vs. Atlanta Odds

Seattle Odds -154
Atlanta Odds +460
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-137 / +106)
Day | Time Sunday | 4:30 p.m. ET
TV FOX
Odds updated Saturday evening via DraftKings

The Seattle Sounders puts their unbeaten record on the line Sunday afternoon against a visiting Atlanta team that looks considerably different than when these sides last met.

Seven of United’s starting XI in a 2-1 loss to the Sounders in July 2019 are no longer with the club. The face in the coaching box is also a different one: first-year Atlanta manager Gabriel Heinze.

The Sounders and their new three-back system have taken 16 of 18 points while playing well-known Western Conference foes, including three matches against their 2020 MLS Cup Playoff opponents.

Will it be the challenge of the unfamiliar that finally sends them to their first defeat?

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The Sounders Remain an MLS Power

It’s still early days, but this much we know: If the Sounders keep this pace up, they’ll put together the greatest single season in MLS history.

Manager Brian Schmetzer’s men are on track for 91 points, 74 goals scored and 11 goals conceded. The first and last of those would obliterate previous MLS records.

More likely, though, Seattle will fall back at least somewhat toward the back, even if they remain in control of the Supporters’ Shield race.

According to American Soccer Analysis, the Sounders have outperformed their expected goals (xG) in chances created and allowed by seven goals, by far the largest such discrepancy in MLS.

In other words, the xG metric says the Sounders should have a goal difference around +4. In the real word, it’s +11.

While Raul Ruidiaz is an exceptional finisher, he’s not the main reason Seattle are outperforming their offensive xG. Instead, it’s super-sub Fredy Montero, midfielder Joao Paulo, fullback Brad Smith and center back Xavier Arreaga, who are among the top 30 in MLS in outscoring their xG total.

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Atlanta: [Editorial Language]

If we’re going to talk about the Sounders outperforming their xG, it’s only fair to mention the Five Stripes are doing the same, with a goal difference nearly three goals better than expectations.

Still there’s a palpable sense of room to grow under Heinze.

Playmaker Marcelino Moreno is Atlanta’s only player to have scored multiple goals, getting his second deep into stoppage time of a 1-0 home win over Montreal last weekend.

The club’s all-time scoring leader, Josef Martinez, has only made two starts as he continues searching for the form he had prior to an ACL injury sustained early in 2020.

Atlanta is yet to win on the road but has earned a pair of draws in three away fixtures so far. Heinze’s side has also held the majority of possession in all of its matches, including its lone defeat at New England.

Betting Analysis & Pick

I want to tell you +460 is too good a price for a team of Atlanta’s talent level, and it probably is.

But I’ve already picked against Seattle three times here and lost every time, so for now I’m staying away from directly picking against them.

However, I’ve seen enough of Schmetzer’s group to know one of their strengths is daring you to take the attacking initiative, dealing with the pressure and punishing you when you lose your shape.

Atlanta will be the most comfortable of any Sounders opponent yet in that dynamic.

So my play is betting the total over 2.5 goals at -137 odds, which is an implied 57.81% probability. Even if Atlanta doesn’t pull off a surprise, it seems more likely than most Seattle foes to score a goal in search of one.

Pick: Total over 2.5 goals (-137)

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