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Betting Guide for the 2022 USL Championship Season

| March 8, 2022 7:48 am PDT
USL Championship logo. soccer background, soccer club badges

Naturally, many North American soccer fans will be stoked about the recent return of MLS. But let’s not forget that the 2022 USL Championship season gets underway on Saturday, March 12.

The second tier of US soccer has become hugely popular in recent years, so much so that all the top soccer betting sites enable us to bet real money on the league. If that is something you are interested in, then this USL Championship betting guide is for you.

The 2022 USL Championship odds are out. That means it’s time to assess the USL Championship teams, pick out the favorites and sleepers, and scope out the best possible betting value ahead of the new campaign.

I will also be sharing my USL Championship prediction for the 2022 title in this post. Before we get to that, though, we need to evaluate the odds for who will win the USL Championship in 2022.

Odds for the 2022 USL Championship Winner

The Tampa Bay Rowdies (6.00) are the bookmakers’ favorites to lift the trophy this year. The Rowdies collected more regular-season points than any other team in 2021 before losing the final to Orange County (9.00).

The bookies believe that Phoenix Rising (6.50) and Louisville City (7.50) are stronger than Orange County this time around. Phoenix dominated the Western Conference last season, while Louisville finished second in the East.

San Antonio (9.00) rounds out the top five. El Paso Locomotive (10.00), Birmingham Legion (13.00), Pittsburgh Riverhounds (13.00), Colorado Springs Switchbacks (15.00), and Miami FC (15.00) complete the top ten.

With a total of 27 USL Championship teams ready to compete this year, there is no shortage of betting options. Detroit City (34.00) and Monterey Bay (67.00) are set to debut in 2022. Could one of the newcomers upset the USL Championship odds?

It makes sense to look back at the previous campaign to help us make a successful 2022 USL Championship prediction.

2021 USL Championship Table – What Happened Last Season?

Last year, Phoenix finished atop the Western Conference, ending the regular season three points ahead of El Paso. Although El Paso registered fewer losses than anyone else in the West, the Rising claimed more victories.

Funnily enough, Orange County finished a whopping 15 points behind Phoenix. However, the Californians went on to clinch the trophy, beating Colorado Springs, Oakland Roots, and San Antonio en route to the final.

2021 USL CHAMPIONSHIP WESTERN CONFERENCE (TOP 8)
Team Wins Draws Losses Points
Phoenix Rising 20 7 5 67
El Paso Locomotive 18 10 4 64
Orange County 15 7 10 52
San Antonio 14 10 8 52
Colorado Springs Switchbacks 13 11 8 50
San Diego Loyal 14 6 12 48
Rio Grande Valley 13 8 11 47
New Mexico United 12 10 10 46

Over in the East, it was all about Tampa Bay in 2021. The Rowdies finished ten points clear of second-place Louisville, racking up 23 wins in 32 regular-season games.

Birmingham, Charlotte, and Pittsburgh pushed Louisville close for the runner-up spot. Meanwhile, Miami, Memphis, and Tulsa qualified for the playoffs but failed to make it past the conference quarterfinals.

2021 USL CHAMPIONSHIP EASTERN CONFERENCE (TOP 8)
Team Wins Draws Losses Points
Tampa Bay Rowdies 23 2 7 71
Louisville City 18 7 7 61
Birmingham Legion 18 6 8 60
Charlotte Independence 18 5 9 59
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 17 7 8 58
Miami FC 16 6 10 54
Memphis 901 14 8 10 50
FC Tulsa 14 5 13 47

Although the Rowdies dominated the regular season, they suffered a shock 3-1 loss to Orange County in the final. Tampa Bay was the heavy favorite to win last year’s showpiece, but Richard Chaplow’s side had other ideas.

Thanks to a Ronaldo Damus brace and a strike from Mikko Kuningas, Orange County raced into a three-goal lead before half-time. Leo Fernandes pulled a goal back for the Rowdies after the break, but he could not spark a comeback.

Top USL Championship Teams to Back in 2022

If the 2022 USL Championship odds are anything to go by, there are three apparent frontrunners in the race for this year’s title – Tampa Bay, Phoenix, and Louisville.

Let’s take a closer look at the USL Championship betting favorites for 2022.

Tampa Bay Rowdies (6.00)

Few would argue that Tampa Bay was not the best team in USL Championship soccer last year. Neill Collins’ boys finished miles clear of their rivals in the Eastern Conference before reaching their second consecutive final.

Granted, their season ultimately ended in disappointment. But that means they will be even more motivated to claim the title this time around.

Not only did the Rowdies rack up more regular-season points than anyone else in 2021, but they also finished the campaign with the best defensive record in the league. On top of that, they secured three wins more than Phoenix.

Sebastian Guenzatti was the star of the show for Tampa Bay last year, bagging 21 goals and six assists across 32 regular-season games. The prolific Uruguayan has netted 54 goals in 114 games since joining the club in 2017.

With stars such as Steevan Dos Santos and Leo Fernandes supporting Guenzatti, it’s probably fair to say that Tampa Bay boasts the deadliest forward line in the USL League Championship.

Phoenix Rising (6.50)

While the Rowdies dominated the East in 2021, the Rising took control of the West. They lost just five of their 32 regular-season matches, picking up 20 wins and seven draws along the way.

Rick Shantz’s men were also the top scorers by a considerable margin last year. Notching a colossal 68 goals, they outscored their nearest challenger in the West by seven goals – as well as netting 13 more than Tampa Bay.

Phoenix has been one of the most consistent USL Championship teams over the past few seasons. Like the list below, the club heads into the 2022 campaign on the back of four straight top-three finishes in the Western Conference.

PHOENIX RISINGS – LAST 4 SEASONS

  • 2018: 3rd in the West, 5th overall
  • 2019: 1st in the West, 1st overall
  • 2020: 2nd in the West, 2nd overall
  • 2021: 1st in the West, 2nd overall

The Arizonans have not finished outside the top two in the Western Conference or the overall standings in the previous three years. That is why they find themselves at the top end of the bookies’ 2022 USL Championship odds list.

Louisville City (7.50)

Like Phoenix, Louisville is renowned for being one of the most consistent USL Championship teams. But can the Boys in Purple regain the crown this year?

After winning the title in 2017 and 2018, the Kentuckians were runners-up in 2019. They went on to win the Eastern Conference in 2020 before finishing the second last season. See, I told you they were consistent!

Thanks mainly to the exploits of Cameron Lancaster, LouCity outscored every other team in the East last year. Lancaster contributed 20 of Louisville’s 61 regular-season goals, taking his tally to 71 in 138 USL Championship games.

The Boys in Purple beat Miami and Charlotte on their way to the 2021 Eastern Conference Final, only to fall to the Rowdies. They will be eager to return to the top in 2022.

2022 USL Championship Sleepers to Track

This USL Championship betting preview would not be complete without an in-depth look at this year’s sleepers. All the teams in this section will fancy their chances of upsetting the 2022 USL Championship odds.

Orange County (9.00)

It wouldn’t exactly be accurate to class Orange County as a sleeper, given that Richard Chaplow’s boys won the whole thing last season. But the fact of the matter is, nobody expected them to secure the silverware.

After finishing 15 points behind Phoenix in the Western Conference, Orange County was priced at 19.00 to win the title ahead of the playoffs. To put things into perspective, Tampa Bay was favored at 4.50.

However, the Californians mocked the USL Championship odds and beat the Rowdies in the final. For that reason, you cannot ignore Orange County when it comes to making your 2022 USL Championship prediction.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks (15.00)

The Switchbacks are a team on the up. After finishing rock bottom of the Western Conference in 2019, they rose to thirteenth in 2020 before propelling themselves into fifth place last year.

Hadji Barry dominated the Golden Boot race throughout the previous campaign, ending the regular season with an outrageous 30 goals to his name. As a result, only Phoenix scored more goals than Colorado Springs in 2021.

Last season, the USL Championship schedule was not kind to the Switchbacks, as they were drawn against eventual champion Orange County in the first round of the playoffs. Still, they have set the foundations for another successful campaign.

Oakland Roots (51.00)

In all honesty, I’m surprised that Oakland is priced up at 51.00. I mean, Juan Guerra’s men made it to the conference semifinals in their debut USL Championship season.

Although the Roots scraped into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth, they beat El Paso – the #2 team in the West – in the conference quarterfinals. It is also worth remembering that they lost to Orange County on penalties in the semifinals.

The Roots know what it takes to go deep into the season with an entire campaign – and a playoff run – in the bank. Don’t be surprised if they continue to upset the USL Championship odds in 2022.

USL Championship Prediction for 2022

The pre-season USL Championship odds present excellent value. The three favorites – Tampa Bay, Phoenix, and Louisville – are all priced at 6.00 or higher, giving bettors plenty to think about.

There is no shortage of notable outsiders, too. The sleepers I profiled in the previous section are all capable of challenging for the title and a host of other teams.

So, who is my USL Championship predicted winner?

Priced at 6.00 and 6.50, Tampa Bay and Phoenix are the safe bets. The Rowdies have reached the last two finals, while the Rising has featured in two of the previous four.

In my eyes, though, Louisville’s price of 7.50 offers far better value. The 2017 and 2018 champions won the Eastern Conference in 2020 before finishing the second to last season. They know precisely what it takes to mount a serious title charge.

That is my 2022 USL Championship prediction. For more tips on picking a title winner, check out our expert guide to soccer betting.

Guide to Soccer Betting
Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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