MLS Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Toronto FC vs. Nashville (Tuesday, Nov. 24)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Toronto FC star Alejandro Pozuelo.
- Toronto FC and Nashville square off Tuesday in the first round of the Major League Soccer playoffs.
- The Reds are hoping to have a full roster available after dealing with injuries late in the season.
- Jeremy Pond takes an in-depth look at this game and explains why he likes Toronto FC to move in a low-scoring affair.
Toronto FC vs. Nashville Odds
|Toronto FC Odds||+118 [BET NOW]|
|Nashville Odds||+245 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+220 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+104/-139) [BET NOW]|
|Time||6 p.m. ET|
|TV||Fox Sports 1|
Franchises that have never met square off Tuesday when Toronto FC hosts Nashville in the first round of the Major League Soccer playoffs.
This match pits the Reds, who have reached the MLS Cup in three of the past four seasons, against an expansion side coming off an impressive 3-0 win over Inter Miami in an Eastern Conference play-in game.
For Toronto FC, the No. 2 seed in the competition, this is a chance to chase the glory it experienced in the 2017 campaign when it won the title.
On the other side, this is an opportunity for Nashville to take down a league giant and start a potential Cinderella postseason run.
With that all said, let’s take a peak at what could be in store.
What a rollercoaster ride it was for the Reds during the final month of the regular season. Toronto FC was on cruise control, sitting comfortably atop the conference standings and on its way to the coveted Supporters’ Shield.
Then, an array of injuries hit the club. Gone for various periods of time were striker Jozy Altidore; midfielders Jonathan Osorio and Pablo Piatti; and, defenders Justin Morrow and Richie Laryea.
Those losses sent the TFC into a downward spiral, resulting in three losses in their final four regular-season fixtures. Gone was first in the conference and Supporters’ Shield, with both rightfully claimed by Philadelphia.
With the possibility of being at or close to full strength, Toronto FC must regain the swagger that helped it dominant the league for the majority of the season. Bottom line, health will be the biggest key to the Reds’ success.
Despite its recent woes, Toronto FC concluded the regular season with the conference’s best overall statistical data. The Reds finished with a whopping 35.9 expected goals for and 25.2 expected goals against, yielding a +10.7 xGDiff and +0.46 xGDiff/90 minutes.
Toronto FC was tops in all advanced metrics in the 14-team conference.
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.
One of the league’s fresh faces could not have asked for a better start to its first venture in the MLS postseason.
Nashville picked up goals from three different players, including this absolute golazo from Randall Leal, that gave it the early lead:
Unfortunately, that excitement following the win over Inter Miami was tempered when the club after an injury to one of its top players. Midfielder Anibal Godoy, who might be Nashville’s most important player, left Friday’s game with a hamstring injury that could sideline him for this contest.
If Godoy can’t go, that could cause major problems for a team struggled to find goals during its campaign. Nashville finished 12th out of 14 teams in goals scored, collecting just 24 in the 23 regular-season games.
Statistically, Nashville’s numbers are what you’d expect. The club finished with a subpar 24.0 xG, but stellar 25.5 xGA, which generated a -1.5 xGDiff and -0.06 xGDiff/90 minutes.
Nashville’s solid xGA, which was was tied for second-best in the conference with Philadelphia, was generated via a strong defense that’s led by captain Walker Zimmerman, who was recently named MLS defender of the year.
Betting Analysis & Picks
Obviously, the questions surrounding the fitness and health of many Toronto FC players should have bettors cautious if they’re looking to back the conference juggernaut in this spot.
However, if there is anyone that overcome the kind of hurdles set in front of it, it’s these Reds. This is the deepest outfit in the league, which will help manager Greg Vanney fill the gaps against Nashville.
Toronto FC can’t get away with missing a few of its top players. Nashville simply cannot.
That said, I am backing Toronto FC on a Draw No Bet wager. I will also play the total to stay under the number in a low-scoring affair.
Picks: Toronto FC Draw No Bet (-180) | Under 2.5 Goals (-139)
Philadelphia ML (-113) over New England: The Union, who were the class of the league during the regular season, should have no issues getting off on the right foot in its postseason opener.
Expect captain Alejandro Bedoya and his teammates to control things from the outset against a New England side that earned a dramatic 2-1 win against Montreal in its play-in match.