CARD king Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) is returning to the MLS following a 100% winning start to his first three Stateside bookings bets this season.
Atlanta United v Chicago Fire | Saturday 20:00
LA Galaxy obliged for us last weekend when their captain Jelle Van Damme was sent off against Portland to make it three winners from three for our MLS card best bets after two weeks of the new season.
I’ve been scouring the fixture list again this week and I’m confident that this under researched market presents great opportunities again.
Atlanta United demolished fellow new boys Minnesota 6-1 last week in the Minneapolis snow. It was quite a game with some shocking challenges.
This will be Atalanta’s second home match at their Bobby Dodd Stadium. Their opening home outing against New York Red Bulls saw them post the fourth-largest attendance in world football with a sell out crowd of 55,297.
This week they face a much sterner test from unbeaten Chicago Fire. The Fire scored two early goals against Real Salt Lake and coasted to victory thereafter.
What is noticeable is that Chicago haven’t collected many cards with an average of 0.50 per-game. Atalanta, however, do with an average of 2.50 cards per-match.
Atlanta have a team full of journeyman South Americans who typically love a card. I expect that trend to continue this weekend, especially with Jose Rivero blowing the whistle.
Rivero averages 5.00 cards per-game so far in 2017. His 2016 average was 4.50 cards per-game so he is well above average.
Furthermore, his foul to card ratio of 6.4/1 in 2016 was one of the lowest of all MLS officials. This term, albeit in just one game, his ratio is a card every 4.6 fouls. Ruthless!
Atlanta will come back to earth with a bump in this fixture I feel and I’m backing them to collect Over 1.5 Cards at 87/100 with 888. This would have won in both of their opening matches.
DC United v Columbus Crew | Saturday 23:00
My second selection comes from the American capital as DC United host Columbus Crew.
DC were demolished in the Bronx last week by David Villa as New York City ran out 4-0 winners. DC collected all five cards issued by official Alan Kelly. Indeed the hosts have committed more fouls (41) than any other MLS team at this early stage of the season.
Overall United average 3.50 cards per-game in 2017 and Colombus average 2.50 cautions per-game. That suggests that six total cards might be expected here.
Both teams are winless so far and will desperate to secure three points at RFK stadium.
The MLS equivalent of ‘Senor Confetti’, Ted Unkel, makes his 2017 season debut and that bodes well in my eyes. Unkel averaged 5.10 cards-per-game in 2016 – that includes giving a red card in 50% of his matches.
In 2015 Unkel gave a card every 5.50 fouls so it is clear he won’t be shy in reaching for his cards. Like Rivero in the Atlanta v Chicago game, Unkel is right up there as a disciplinarian as he gives a card every 6.20 fouls typically – This is well below the 8.00 average.
I was very surprised to see 888 chalk up Over 3.5 Cards at 94/100 – that must be backed!
As usual you may prefer to do singles and once again I’ll be backing the double too, which pays 13/5 with 888.