Friday MLS Odds, Picks, Prediction: Vancouver vs. Portland Betting Preview (Sept. 10)

Friday MLS Odds, Picks, Prediction: Vancouver vs. Portland Betting Preview (Sept. 10) article feature image
Credit:

Kevin Light/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Gauld.

  • Vancouver and Portland close out Friday's two-game MLS slate.
  • Both clubs have played improved soccer recently, as the Whitecaps and Timbers look to earn a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
  • Which club can keep its improved form longer? Read below for the full betting preview.

Vancouver vs. Portland Odds

Vancouver Odds +140
Portland Odds +190
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-135 / +110)
Day | Time Friday | 10 p.m. ET
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Something has to give when the Vancouver Whitecaps host the Portland Timbers on Friday night in a crucial Western Conference tilt.

The Whitecaps have won four in a row, despite the dismissal of head coach Marc Dos Santos midway through that stretch, to move within a point of the playoff line in the Western Conference

Meanwhile, Portland has won two in a row on the road to maintain their precarious grip on the sixth of seven West playoff spots.

This is the second of three meetings between the Cascadia Cup rivals this season. Vancouver won the first, 1-0, back on opening weekend, in what was a Whitecaps home game played in Utah because of pandemic travel restrictions.

Vancouver Have Hit Stride With Gauld

Vancouver’s resurgence has correlated with the summer signing of Scottish playmaker Ryan Gauld from SC Farense, which was recently relegated Portugal’s Primeira Liga.

Gauld has two goals and two assists in his first six MLS appearances. And Vancouver’s Vancouver’s four-match winning streak just happened to come in the four games when Gauld has played at least a half.

The Whitecaps  have also been boosted by their long-awaited return to BC Place in their last three games.

They rode their luck a bit in their 2021 debut at BC Place, a 2-1 win over LAFC that saw Carlos Vela off injured early for the visitors.

After Dos Santos’ dismissal following a midweek loss in the Canadian Championship, the ‘Caps were well deserving of their 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake in interim manager Vanni Sartini’s debut on Aug. 29.

They also shaded the play — though not as dramatically — in their win over Austin on Sept. 4.

Striker Lucas Cavallini could make his first Whitecaps appearance since Aug. 8 after a 12-minute cameo in Canada’s 3-0 qualifying win over El Salvador on Wednesday night.

That appearance marked a slightly ahead-of-schedule return from a right knee injury.

Centerback Ranko Veselinovic is questionable with a groin injury after missing last week’s victory over Austin FC.

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Have Portland Cured Road Woes?

With their recent two-match run, the Timbers have finally made a dent in their woeful away form. But in some ways neither of those victories was particularly surprising.

The Timbers were heavy underdogs in their 2-0 win at the Seattle Sounders, but they became the eighth away team to win that derby in the last 10 in the series.

In Houston, they merely took care of business in another 2-0 victory against a Dynamo club that is winless in its last 16. (It was Portland’s first-ever away MLS win in Houston, to be fair.)

Even with those clean sheets, Portland’s 24 goals conceded away are still the second-most in the Western Conference.

This will also be their first game since losing midfielder Eryk Williamson to a torn ACL.

Longest-tenured Timber Diego Valeri is questionable with a leg injury, as is midfielder Cristhian Paredes. The 35-year-old Valeri has primarily been used as a second-half offensive sub toward the back half of this season.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Both teams come into this match on a run of form contrary to their overall seasons.

Which recent improvement is more likely due to internal changes and not good fortune or variance? Probably Vancouver’s.

The Whitecaps have parted with a coach, welcomed a new playmaker in Gauld and finally returned to their home ground after more than a year of being forced to play in another country.

The Timbers, meanwhile, have gotten healthier despite the Williamson injury. But their two recent away wins came at a ground where they generally perform far better than others, and against a team in the worst form in the league.

I might be more inclined to bet the draw here, but these sides have not drawn often this season. So I’m taking Vancouver at home at +140 odds and an implied 41.7% probability.

Need more convincing? These teams are one point apart, and their expected goal (xG) differences are less than two goals apart. In other words, they’re basically even. And home teams are winning in MLS 47% of the time, well above the implied probability of this play.

Pick: Vancouver ML (+140)

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