Toronto FC vs. Orlando City Odds, Picks, Prediction: Saturday MLS Betting Preview (July 17)

Toronto FC vs. Orlando City Odds, Picks, Prediction: Saturday MLS Betting Preview (July 17) article feature image

Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Toronto FC players celebrate a goal against New England.

  • Toronto plays in its home stadium for the first time in 16 months as it hosts Orlando City on Saturday.
  • There have been five combined goals scored in four of Toronto's last five matches.
  • Ian Quillen explains below why he expects something similar may happen again today.

Toronto FC vs. Orlando City Odds

Toronto FC Odds+140
Orlando City Odds+170
Over/Under2.5 (-180 / +145)
Day | TimeSaturday | 7:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchESPN+
Odds updated Friday night via DraftKings.

Toronto FC will play its first home game on Canadian soil since March of 2020 on Saturday when it welcomes Orlando City SC to BMO Field.

Major League Soccer secured approval from government authorities allowing both Toronto and Montreal to host their first home games this weekend since the start of the pandemic. Toronto FC had played its previous home matches this year at Orlando City's Exploria Stadium.

Orlando City previously earned a 3-2 win over Toronto F  in what was officially an "away" game on June 16 at its own venue.

However, that might feel like long ago for Orlando City, which has lost two in a row after surrendering an early lead in a 3-1 defeat at Chicago on July 7.

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Toronto FC Makes Return to Canadian Home

The Reds began life after the firing of manager Chris Armas with a surprising 3-2 victory at the Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution in their last match.

However, in some ways, it was an offensive performance that had been coming. Toronto FC had already scored two goals twice during a six-match losing run that eventually cost Armas his job.

And against New England, the Reds had 2020 MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo, 2021 acquisition Yeferson Soteldo and first-choice striker Ayo Akinola on the field at the same time for the first time this season.

Akinola has since departed to join the Canada national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Toronto has also lost fullbacks Richie Laryea to Canada's squad and Kemar Lawrence to the Jamaican side.

However, striker Jozy Altidore — once the top option ahead of Akinola — has rejoined full-team activities. He was training on his own for nearly two months following a dispute with Armas in late May.

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Orlando City Has Rested Stars

The Lions fell victim to a suddenly resurgent Fire side their last time out, but it's fair to note they were extremely shorthanded for most of the contest.

Manager Oscar Pareja chose to rest leading scorer Nani and midfield playmaker Mauricio Pereyra for the first 75 minutes of the encounter.

Coming into the midweek contest, the 34-year-old Nani had made four previous starts and 31-year-old Pereyra had started three of the last four contests. By the time the duo saw the field, Orlando City's lead had turned to a deficit.

Striker Daryl Dike (United States) is still on Gold Cup duty, but former Brazil national team striker Alexandre Pato has been upgraded to questionable for the first time since suffering a knee injury in his MLS debut back in April.

Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has also returned from international duty with Peru at the 2021 Copa America tournament.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Entering this weekend, the average goals per MLS game has risen by 0.13 to 2.64 since late May. The play of these two sides has been a big driver.

Toronto FC's 29 goals conceded, plus its 3.75 goals scored and conceded per game, are both MLS highs at the moment. More recently, there have been five combined goals scored in four of the Reds' last five matches.

The club remains non-athletic and older at the centerback and holding midfield positions, and now have to deal with the absences of Laryea and Lawrence in the starting lineup.

Orlando City began the season as one of league's best defensive teams before slipping considerably, conceding twice in four of their last six matches. In each case, the expected goals allowed were also in the neighborhood of 2.0 as well.

By now you know where I'm going, but I see more value betting the total at 3.5 goals rather than 2.5 number with +135 odds that connote a 42.6% implied probability.

That's because I see two probable scenarios here:

  1. Toronto FC rides the momentum of its return home to an early goal, then forces Orlando City to play a wide-open encounter.
  2. The Reds fail to score early, but dominate play and, in turn, leads to a tightly contested game where the Lions pick their spots to mount a counterattack.

In the former case, there's at least four goals. In the latter, likely no more than two goals.

Pick: Total Over 3.5 Goals (+135)

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