OUR Stateside student Will Dyer (@w2Dyer) shares his best bets from this weekend’s MLS.
Toronto FC v Philadelphia Union | Saturday 22:00 | Sky Sports 3
There’s a hurricane heading for the East Coast this weekend so that’s worth bearing in mind for goals based bets. With just three gameweeks to go there are many ‘must win’ fixtures this weekend but it’s always hard to work out what that desperation will mean for results.
A quick look at the Eastern Conference tells you that the underdogs are pushing hard with the middle third of the table in much better form than the top four. I mentioned that last week and what did I do? Went and opposed 7/1 shots Orlando City who won 5-2 at the Red Bull Arena; an astonishing score-line.
The curtains may as well have closed on Philly’s season when Sporting Kansas City lifted the US Open Cup at PPL Park in midweek. They are not mathematically out of the play-offs yet but they may as well be with Montreal eight points ahead and just three games to go, it would take a miracle.
Toronto have both scored and conceded the most goals in MLS this season. 52 in either end after 30 games gives them a goal per game ratio of a whopping 3.47. 7 of their nine wins at BMO Field this season have seen their opponents get on the scoresheet and that’s how I’m going to play this game.
Five of those nine wins have also been 2-1 or 3-1 but I can see Sebastian Giovinco tearing an unmotivated Philadelphia to pieces so I’m not confident on a score-line. This selection has already won once this season when The U took the trip north of the border back in July and Toronto ran out 2-1 winners.
As much as I think Philadelphia could get a hiding I do also think they’ll find the back of the net. They’ve no reason too play defensive tactics and they have scored in 13 of their 15 away games this season so finding the net against the worst defence in the Eastern Conference shouldn’t be beyond them.
A win all but assures Toronto of a play-off berth and the higher they finish the better their chances with home advantage to weaker sides so I fancy them to be right on their game here. The home win and both teams to score is a little on the short side but that’s justifiable; it’s very likely to cop.
Chicago Fire v New England Revolution | Sunday 01:30
The Chicago Fire players’ minds must already be on holiday; they’ve lost five on the bounce and eight of their last 11 in all competitions. New England’s recent form is the exact opposite; it’s seven wins in their last 10 MLS games for the Revs.
So it’s understandable that the visitors are favourites on the road. They failed to win this fixture in July drawing 2-2 but the team is playing much better football now. They’re dominating possession and forcing teams into playing defensive and scrappy styles. Philadelphia got away with that at the Gillette last weekend but they were very lucky
Chicago are rock bottom by seven points and were out of a chance of the play-offs weeks ago. It’s been a tough few years for the club. 18 defeats in 31 games makes for a sad season and with the Revs seemingly in a 3-way shoot out for the Eastern Conference title and looking for the best seeding possible for the play-offs I’ll side with the favourites.
San Jose Earthquakes v Vancouver Whitecaps | Sunday 03:30
San Jose are one of those teams that have a must win label hanging over their heads this weekend. I think this will be a tight game and there are a few stats that point very strongly towards one bet for me.
The Earthquakes have scored exactly one goal in all of their last six MLS home games and also did so when hosting Vancouver back in April winning that game 1-0 despite the Whitecaps being in sensational early season form at the time.
Vancouver have conceded 15 goals in 15 away games so are obviously conceding one goal on average per road trip. They have the best away record in Major League Soccer and I can quite easily see them frustrating San Jose as they have plenty to play for themselves with regards to play-off seeding.
1-0, 1-1, 1-2 and 1-3 all look very possible score-lines with the first two being particularly likely; five of those six most recent games at the Avaya Stadium were either 1-0 or 1-1 at the final whistle and all of the Whitecaps last four visits to Northern California have seen Under 2.5 goals in the game.
In fact 12 of San Jose’s 15 home league games this season have seen fewer than three goals and that looks another nice bet at 19/20 with Bet365. I’ll chance my arm with some bigger odds though. It’s 7/4 for San Jose to score exactly one goal this weekend and I think that the magnitude of the game and the stats all point to that landing.
Colorado Rapids v Real Salt Lake | Monday 00:00
Short but sweet here. I’ve not been able to catch either of these teams playing for a few weeks now but it looks like I haven’t missed much. Real still could technically make the post-season but they won’t and Rapids are out of it. I’m pretty sure I predicted them finishing bottom and they look like proving me right.
There are some strong stats for BTTS here. 12 of Colorado’s last 13 home MLS games have seen both teams score which is pretty remarkable even in a league as high scoring as this. Salt Lake have lost 10 of their 15 away games this season but they did score here back in July and will be confident of doing so again with Joao Plata, Luis Silva, Javier Morales and Sebastian Jaime all at their disposal.
For some reason the bookies aren’t as convinced about Rapids’ home games following the trend but this bet keeps going in at a handsome 3/4 with BetVictor. Compared to the 1/2 quotes on most other games I find it quite weird. These two may as well play an exhibition game and that usually spells goals.
Seattle Sounders v LA Galaxy | Monday 02:30
This should be a cracker on Sunday night. Seattle are now unbeaten in six games in all competitions and have won their last five in a row at CenturyLink; scoring two or more in each game.
Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey’s partnership is the main reason for this upturn in form. The two missed a couple of months in the middle of the season and Seattle’s results at that time reiterated how important they are to the team.
Sounders have won six of the last eight times that they’ve hosted Los Angeles and I believe they’ll out gun them here. Home support is crucial to both teams and LA have shown that over the years when their away form has been poor. This season is no different with LA topping the home table but rock bottom in the away.
It’s one of football’s great phenomena that a team can be so good at getting results at home but equally as poor on their travels. LA have lost their last two away MLS games to nil including a particularly weak 3-0 defeat in Salt Lake City two weeks ago. Odds against on the home win is a big value bet.
Toronto FC v Philadelphia Union – Toronto to win and both teams to score (2/1 Bet365)
Chicago Fire v New England Revolution – New England Revolution to win (7/5 Skybet)
San Jose Earthquakes v Vancouver Whitecpas – San Jose Earthquakes to score exactly one goal (7/4 Betfair)
Colorado Rapids v Real Salt Lake – Both Teams To Score (3/4 BetVictor)
Seattle Sounders v LA Galaxy – Seattle Sounders to win (6/5 Bet365)
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