BACK from travelling the globe, Major League Soccer expert Will Dyer (@W2Dyer) delivers his verdict on the best bets from across the pond this weekend.
So after a bit of a sabbatical from the betting scene I’m back, rejuvenated, and wholly ready for another season of Major League Soccer!
I’ve been following as closely as possible the last few weeks and as many an experienced bettor will tell you, it’s often best to play the watching game for the first few weeks of a domestic league season anyway, especially in a league as topsy-turvy as MLS.
I made a stab at the predicted tables and so far some predictions look to be going well, others not so much.
MLS brings through a lot of home-grown talent and so there will always be teams that have a good season out of nowhere. Others will bring in big signings that fail to make an impact on the division; just take a look at NYCFC last year.
New England Revolution vs New York Red Bulls | Saturday 00.05 | Sky Sports 1
Two teams off to an early struggle.
I expected NYRB to be a fair bit worse than last season after losing Matt Miazga. Initially Red Bulls looked to be in huge trouble losing Damien Perrinelle too but he re-signed in January. The latter was present in 17 of NYRB’s 18 regular season wins; still the break-up of his centre-back pairing with Miazga is a big loss.
NYRB have conceded eight goals in their first three games and already look unlikely to replicate last season’s Eastern Conference title.
Red Bulls have faced some stern opposition in their first three with prolific strikeforces; Will Bruin at Houston Dynamo and Sebastian Giovinco at Toronto, but that’s no more than they will have to deal with when travelling to Foxborough to face Juan Agudelo and Charlie Davies.
It’s hard to see the New Jersey side keeping a clean sheet on the road. The same sentiments can be said of the Revs though. They have struggled at the back too; Andrew Farrell still doesn’t look like a centre-half and Chris Tierney is far too attack-minded.
The Revs have had a man sent off in each of their last two games though and if they keep their cool in this oft hot-headed match then I expect them to fair pretty well.
With NYRB’s attack returning to form last time out, it’s hard to see a home clean sheet for New England against a Red Bulls side that had scored in 13 consecutive away games before the play-offs last season.
A little look at the head-to-head points towards goals – 11 of the last 12 competitive meetings between these two have seen both teams score and nine of those games would have given us a win in the Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 goals market, which is available at 20/21 with Bet365 – that’s my bet.
FC Dallas v Columbus Crew | Sunday 02.05
A pretty straightforward pick for me here.
Crew were always going to struggle to replicate last season should Kei Kamara not match his wondrous exploits. That looks like the way it’s going to go for the Black and Yellow this season.
Kamara and Federico Higuain are both off the mark but those two goals are all the Crew have managed against the likes of the Chicago Fire and Philadelphia – nothing to shout about.
Dallas went close last year but this season looks even more likely.
Their 5-0 loss in Houston is almost inexplicable; the Dynamo scored with every shot on target yet actually had less than FCD.
Outside of that game the Texans have won all their other three games ‘to nil’ with a 2-0 win over the Impact the stand-out result.
Already Maximiliano Urutti, Muaro Diaz, Fabian Castillo and Michael Barrios have contributed with seven goals between them.
Those four Latin Americans are a match for anybody in this league and between them I expect them to be too strong for Crew who were poor on their travels at this stage last season and have not won in nine matches if you include the Desert Diamond Cup in pre-season.
Dallas are 17/20 (William Hill) to claim maximum points.
Seattle Sounders vs Montreal Impact | Sunday 03.05
Whilst it’s rare that anyone travels to CenturyLink Field and has an easy time of it, I can see just that for Montreal this Saturday night.
Impact were terrific towards the back-end of last season. A lot of that was to do with the hold-up play and strength of Didier Drogba.
Drogba returned to action for the second-half at the Toyota Stadium last week and with Dominic Oduro looking to play less of a cameo role and Ignacio Piatti already in fine fettle, I smell an away win at a strangely big price (16/5 Boylesports).
Seattle are bucking the trend at the minute for the Western Conference. Whilst four teams in the East are winless, there’s just one in the West; the Sounders.
Seattle have actually lost every game thus far and it’s just one clean sheet in their last 11 home games in the Pacific North West.
You get the feeling the Impact are in a very good place mentally under Mauro Biello and I expect them to make the play-offs with some to spare. The same thing cannot be said about the Sounders who look to be in a downward spiral without Obafemi Martins.
New England Revolution vs New York Red Bulls – Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 goals (20/21 Bet365)
FC Dallas vs Columbus Crew – FC Dallas to win (17/20 William Hill)
Seattle Sounders vs Montreal Impact – Montreal Impact to win (16/5 Boylesports)
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