Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes – MLS, April 16, 2021
Following a four-month lay-off, Major League Soccer returns this week, with Houston hosting San Jose at BBVA Stadium on Friday, April 16.
The Dynamo finished rock bottom of the Western Conference last season, while the Quakes snuck into the MLS Cup Playoffs at the eleventh hour. Still, neither side will class 2020 as a success.
Of course, it is always difficult to foresee exactly what will happen on the opening day of a new MLS campaign. But in this Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes betting preview, I try my very best – looking at the odds before sharing my prediction and pick.
Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes Odds
The Dynamo (1.86) may be the bookmakers’ rank outsider to win the 2021 MLS Cup, but the online sportsbooks are clearly favoring the home side to make a decent start to the new season.
As you can see, San Jose (3.80) isn’t expected to get off to the best of starts. But let’s not forget that Matis Almeyda’s team finished four places higher than Houston last term.
Could the draw (3.75) be the way to go here? Let’s take a closer look at the teams.
Can Houston Begin With a Win?
It’s fair to say that Houston didn’t get much right last season. The players obviously struggled to adjust to Tab Ramos’ vision for the club, resulting in some pretty terrible performances – and results.
In fact, the Texans only managed to win four of their 23 regular-season matches last year – ending the campaign with low points per game average of 0.91. When you consider that first-place Sporting Kansas City finished on 1.86 PPG, it is clear that Houston has plenty of improvement to do in 2021.
Ramos’ men scored more goals than four teams in the West last season. On top of that, they even conceded fewer goals than three of their rivals.
Due to the unusual nature of the 2020 season, the Dynamo didn’t actually face San Jose last year. However, the Quakes won the previous meeting between the teams 2-0.
Having suffered a 3-0 loss to Texas foe FC Dallas in a pre-season friendly last weekend, Houston is already under pressure this year.
Will San Jose Upset the Odds?
On the flip side, the Quakes have picked up a couple of eye-catching wins en route to Friday’s season opener. Granted, they have only faced USL opponents this year. But big victories over Sacramento Republic (6-1) and Oakland Roots (3-2) can only be a good thing.
San Jose finished with the worst defensive record in the West last term, shipping a whopping 51 goals. Despite ending up with an unhealthy difference of –16, they still managed to make the playoffs.
Finishing the previous campaign with a record of W8-L9-T6, there is no denying that San Jose’s 2020 season was wildly inconsistent. That said, Almeyda’s men will be confident of challenging for a top-seven finish this year.
I expect Judson to anchor the midfield, allowing Jackson Yueill to operate more freely. Oh, and let’s not forget that Chris Wondolowski – the all-time leading scorer in MLS – is back for another season.
When you throw 17-year-old striker Cade Cowell into the mix, the signs look promising for San Jose.
Dynamo vs. Earthquakes Prediction Betting Pick
San Jose Earthquakes to Win3.80
We all want to kick off the new MLS season with a tasty win, don’t we?
In my eyes, the odds for the home victory offer very little value here. So, purely for the potential profit, I’m backing San Jose at the hugely attractive price of 3.80.
Houston was downright dreadful last year, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. This matchup provides San Jose with the perfect opportunity to start 2021 with a win.