CARD KING Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) has made hay with his Stateside bookings bets this season. He's back for more MLS goodness this weekend.
Last week we had our pants pulled down. Both tips had two or more cards shown in the first-half yet inexplicably none were shown after the interval.
That means our overall record is six winners out of 10 MLS selections in 2017. There are several opportunities this weekend across the pond and I fully expect to return to the winners’ enclosure.
Vancouver Whitecaps v Seattle Sounders | Saturday 03:00
First up is a game I wasn't expecting to tip because I anticipated a line of 3.5 cards. However, 888 are offering 4.5 cards on Vancouver v Seattle and I'm not really sure why.
The Whitecaps average 1.60 cards per-game in 2017 and Seattle precisely 1.00 so that suggests 2.60 might be reasonably expected.
The head-to-head recent record tells us to expect 3.5 total cards. Throw in that MLS most lenient official referee Kevin Stott (2.33 cards average) is in charge and the 888 line is a mystery.
Stott is a referee who I will tip at some stage in the season for ‘no cards' in a match at juicy odds. I'm not confident to do that in this particular fixture but I am happy to recommend Under 4.5 cards at 94/100 with 888. All the stats say it's too high.
William Hill have under 45 points a 3/10 shot and I'm inclined to agree.
Orlando City v LA Galaxy | Saturday 19:30 | Sky Sports 5
Saturday night then offers us two live games and I'm attacking them both. Florida is the first port of call as Orlando City welcome LA Galaxy…
I've documented a few times already this season that LA have plenty of donkeys in their ranks – our old friend Jelle Van Damme (ex Wolves) being the best example. Centre midfielders Jermaine Jones and Joao Pedro are also cards waiting to happen.
LA actually only average 2.00 cards per-game but due to mainly home fixtures that is a myth. Orlando average 2.30 cards in 2017 and the head-to-head average is 4.00 cards per-game.
Chris Penso is a favourable referee appointment in my view. He averages 4.75 cards per-game this season. He also averages a combined 5.48 cards when officiating these two clubs over his career.
This has the potential to be combustible in the Florida sun and I'm very happy to back 4-6 cards at 21/20 with William Hill.
Chicago Fire v New England Revolution | Saturday 22:00 | Sky Sports 5
Straight after this match attention turns to the Windy City as Chicago Fire host New England Revolution.
What we have here is two poor teams for cards against perhaps the best referee for discipline. Which way will it go?
Chicago average 1.4 cards per-game and New England 1.00 per-game. That suggests just 2.40 total match cards. However, the head-to-head average of 4.83 is far more encouraging, as is the fact that there have been three reds in the last two encounters.
Ted Unkel gets the whistle for this one and he doesn't usually mess about. He won for us in his only other 2017 appearance when issuing five cards when Columbus hosted Portland a few weeks ago.
Unkel averaged 5.10 cards per-game in 2016 and averages 4.13 per-game when covering these two teams in his career.
I'm backing Over 3.5 Cards at 49/50 with 888.
Vancouver Whitecaps v Seattle Sounders – Under 4.5 Cards (94/100 888)
Orlando City v LA Galaxy – 4-6 Cards (21/20 William Hill)
Chicago Fire v New England Revolution – Over 3.5 Cards (49/50 888)