MLS in Week 13 – Odds, Previews, and Picks
Well, no one ever said that MLS is predictable.
The Colorado Rapids finally won its first game of the season last week, and it was an away fixture against Zlatan’s LA Galaxy.
Colorado was the last winless team in the league and will now attempt to salvage something from a very disappointing campaign.
Elsewhere, LAFC picked up four points from two games to continue its dominance and take advantage of that crazy Galaxy result. Carlos Vela was the star of the show again as Bob Bradley’s team still look like the one to beat.
But the real headline this week was Chris Wondolowski breaking the all-time MLS goal-scoring record held by USMNT legend Landon Donovan. The San Jose Earthquakes striker scored all four as his team beat Chicago in front of his adoring home fans.
MLS Cup 2019 Outright Winners – Latest Odds
Before I get into the weekend’s games, here are the updated odds for MLS Cup 2019 winner, courtesy of MyBookie.ag.
LAFC’s price for lifting the MLS Cup has been slashed from +400 after two impressive displays against FC Dallas in the week.
MyBookie.ag obviously likes the way the California side is playing, and if the wins keep coming, there may not be too much value in backing Bob Bradley’s team soon.
Most other top teams saw their odds drift slightly, but Philadelphia’s draw against fellow title challengers Seattle kept the Union at the top of the Eastern Conference and gave more impetus to its own aspirations of glory.
Now here are my previews and picks for this weekend’s games in MLS.
LA Galaxy at Orlando City
The Galaxy may have lost its previous three games, but no one saw the loss to the Rapids coming. It was notable that Zlatan Ibrahimovic was unavailable due to suspension, and this defeat will do nothing to counter the argument that LA is overly reliant on its superstar striker.
Orlando followed up a narrow defeat to the Sounders with a comprehensive victory over Cincinnati in the week and will have regained some confidence ahead of the visit of LA. That win broke a four-game winless streak and was the first time this season that Orlando has won by more than one goal.
This is a matchup between two sides out of form at the moment, and although Orlando did win against Cincinnati, that was only to be expected given the expansion side’s current woes. A draw here is probably the best value wager to make.
Montreal Impact at LAFC
The good news is that Ignacio Piatti is back. The bad news is that Montreal is facing the current Supporters’ Shield leaders — at its own stadium. A goalless draw at home to the hapless Revs is not the greatest way to prepare for a trip to California, and the Impact will have its hands full going for the win here.
The MLS fixture computer came to the fore again last week as LAFC faced Dallas twice in the space of four days. Four points from the two games is a good return, but LAFC did have to rely on a Carlos Vela penalty ten minutes from time to get the draw on Sunday, and that was after playing against 10 men for much of the game.
Even with some very tempting odds — even for the draw — it would seem unlikely that LAFC will be beaten at home by Montreal.
Atlanta United at Real Salt Lake
Atlanta is slowly getting into gear this season, and a win in Vancouver was a good result last week before the defeat to the Red Bulls. The price for a Five Stripes MLS Cup repeat has shortened again, so the bookmakers obviously believe that the reigning champions have a chance to go far once again.
RSL followed up its win in Colorado with another three points against Toronto, and coach Mike Petke will feel that his side could do well if it can keep up a level of consistency that has previously eluded the team so far this season. This could be a good game if the hosts keep their concentration.
Atlanta’s defeat to New York followed five successive victories, and it looks like Frank De Boer’s side may be turning up at last. An away win would see Atlanta keep up its recent good form.
Portland Timbers at Philadelphia Union
After three straight wins, Portland has now lost to Vancouver and grabbed a creditable draw against Houston. But there is better news for the Timbers. This is the last game of the epic road trip as Providence Park will be back in action from next week, and new signing Brian Fernandez seems like the real deal.
Philadelphia has surprised a few people this season, and the draw against Seattle kicked off a three-match home streak for the Union that could cement its place at the top of the East. The U face another Cascadian side this weekend and will be confident of the three points that could see it stretch away from the chasing pack.
Timbers fans will be looking forward to watching their team at home soon, but this game in Philly may not be an enjoyable experience. This should finish as a home win.
Columbus Crew at Colorado Rapids
With the season that the Crew is having, a trip to Colorado would seem like a chance to get some more points on the board — and then the Rapids went and beat the Galaxy. The defeat in Minnesota last week was its seventh in eight games, and something needs to change quickly for Caleb Porter and his team.
Can Colorado follow up that incredible win over the Galaxy with another three-point haul? Columbus would seem an ideal team to face as it is having major problems of its own. But the Rapids should not get too carried away; it has taken over two months to pick up a first win and keep a clean sheet.
The romantic bettor would take Colorado to keep this “streak” going, but I fancy Columbus to shatter Rapids’ dreams and get things back to normal.
Houston Dynamo at Minnesota United
Houston has made a very good start to the season but has enjoyed playing the majority of its games at home so far. That changes here as the away games start to become more common. The Dynamo has posted some good scores, though, so will be confident of three points from this long journey north.
Minnesota has still not lost at home this season, even if its performances have been inconsistent, to say the least. A passionate Allianz Field crowd can make quite a difference, and the Loons will want another three points before visiting Atlanta in midweek.
It is difficult to call this one. Houston is the better team, but Minnesota raises its game at home. The draw is the best value wager here.
New York Red Bulls at FC Cincinnati
New York seems to have turned around its early-season form and is now looking to climb the Eastern Conference to take up its usual position. The Red Bulls could even afford to go down to ten men and still beat Atlanta last week, and four wins in five suggests another three points could be collected in Ohio.
The new coach bounce didn’t last too long as Cincinnati went down spectacularly to Orlando last week. The expansion side actually took the lead in Florida but ended up on the wrong end of a 5-1 thrashing. Home advantage may help here, but things are not looking good.
New York is playing with purpose again, and three more points on the road here should be very achievable.
FC Dallas at Vancouver Whitecaps
One point from a possible six is not a good week for Dallas — until you realize that both those games were against LAFC. A draw from a game in which the team played with one man down is almost something to be proud of, so all is not lost for Lucho Gonzalez and his team.
After a disorienting start to the season thanks to the player overhaul in the close season, Vancouver has started to find some traction. The draw against SKC followed a defeat to Atlanta last week, but there is some hope in Whitecaps country that this team might be able to put together a good run of results.
Dallas will shrug off the two results against LAFC and get back to its fine form, but getting anything in BC Place is a tough ask. This could end in a draw.
New York City FC at Chicago Fire
New York enjoyed its week off seeing some of its conference rivals drop points and will be raring to go this weekend as it makes the trip to Chicago where it will feel that three points is very achievable. NYCFC is well placed in the East and looks good for the playoffs.
After back-to-back victories — without conceding a goal — the Fire was brought back down to earth by Chris Wondolowski and his record-breaking goal haul last week. Chicago will now need to perform in front of its ever-dwindling crowd to make a push for post-season play.
I’m not always convinced a week off does a team any good, but NYCFC should still be able to pick up some points against the Fire.
DC United at New England Revolution
DC may have only picked up one point from its two games last week, but there should not be any anxiety in the group as the team is looking good for playoff action — and has an extra special weapon in Wayne Rooney. A win will keep the pressure on Philly at the top of the East.
New England picked up a very good draw in Montreal but has still not looked anywhere near moving above the playoff line, and much hope has been placed in new head coach Bruce Arena to change that around. I’m not convinced he can do it, though, and foresee further disappointment for the Revs.
This looks like a very attractive price for a DC win given the problems New England has faced for a while now.
Seattle Sounders at Sporting Kansas City
Four more points for Seattle this week — including a very good goalless draw against the Eastern Conference leaders, Philadelphia. The Sounders continue to look impressive and have still only lost the one game this season against table-topping LAFC.
SKC was one of my outside tips for glory this season, but it has really gone downhill recently, picking up just two wins all season and none since the end of March. Only the woeful Rapids are below them in the Western Conference, and this run of form needs to be broken soon.
This is another game where the bookmaker seems to have forgotten how poor the home side is. Seattle at +272 to win is a great price.
San Jose Earthquakes at Toronto FC
San Jose has definitely played better than last season, and it was great to see Wondo break the goal-scoring record in such explosive fashion last week. Sitting just below the playoff line is probably better than what was expected of the Quakes, so this season is not going too badly for Matias Almeyda and his team.
After a good start to the season, Toronto has faltered recently, and the 3-0 defeat in Salt Lake made it four games without a win for the Canadian team. The visit of San Jose could be ideal then, as Toronto looks to climb the Eastern Conference.
Can Wondo get four more this week? Not likely, unfortunately — Toronto should pick up all three points in front of its own fans.
There were definitely some shocks last weekend in MLS, and the unpredictable nature of the league makes successful betting that little bit harder. But there are some teams that can usually be trusted to come through, and at this stage of the season, the best are starting to show themselves.
It’s still fairly tight in both conferences, though, so every point counts for all teams involved at the moment.
Let me know what you think of my predictions and picks. Enjoy the games, and remember to stick to the safe and trusted online betting sites for your wagers.