Predictions and Best Bets for MLS Games on Sunday, October 3rd

| October 1, 2021 12:40 pm PDT

El Tráfico headlines a seven-game Major League Soccer schedule this Sunday, October 3.

The two Los Angeles teams go head-to-head at Dignity Health Sports Park, but not before New York City and Nashville meet for a vital top-four clash in the Eastern Conference.

We also have the small matter of the Crew’s trip to Philly to get our teeth into, along with Portland and Inter Miami’s cross-conference matchup.

Here is Sunday’s MLS schedule in full.

  • New York City vs. Nashville SC
  • Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire
  • Philadelphia Union vs. Columbus Crew
  • Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo
  • Portland Timbers vs. Inter Miami
  • LA Galaxy vs. Los Angeles FC
  • Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids

Not only do I give my predictions for Sunday’s MLS games below, but I also share my best MLS bets for October 3.

Let’s get the ball rolling with my New York City vs. Nashville SC prediction and work our way through the rest.

New York City and Nashville SC to Draw

Nashville picked up ANOTHER draw on Wednesday. Gary Smith’s men were held 2-2 by Orlando City, meaning they have now drawn 13 of their 27 MLS games this year (48%).

Sure, the team from Tennessee remains second in the East – six points clear of third-place DC United. But if the Boys in Gold don’t start turning draws into wins soon, they won’t go very far in the playoffs.

New York City heads into Week 29 on the back of two straight defeats, losing last weekend’s Hudson River Derby before falling to Chicago on Wednesday. Consequently, there is a seven-point gap between NYCFC and Nashville.

When you look at the bigger picture, the Bronx Blues have only managed to win one of their past seven matches. If they are not careful, they could end up slipping out of the top seven altogether.

Having taken everything into account, the draw feels like the most probable for this matchup.

Toronto FC to Beat Chicago Fire

Toronto FC’s resurgence continued with a 3-2 victory over FC Cincinnati in midweek. The Reds now find themselves above last-place Cincy in the East, having secured two wins and a draw from their previous three MLS outings.

Due to a terrible start to the season, the Canadians are not in contention for a playoff berth this year. Still, they will be eager to extend their unbeaten streak and finish the campaign on a high.

Chicago actually sealed a rare victory over NYCFC last time out, although that was their first win in six matches. The Fire have lost six of their last nine outings and sit just five points ahead of TFC.

According to certain sources, Chicago head coach Raphael Wicky is on the verge of leaving the Illinois club. That is hardly a surprise, though, as he has led the Fire to just seven wins in 28 games this year.

With Toronto heading in the right direction again – and Chicago going through a testing period both on and off the pitch – I expect TFC to claim all three points on Sunday.

Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew to Draw

The 2020 MLS Cup champions head into Week 29 as Campeones Cup winners following a momentous 2-0 triumph over Liga MX side Cruz Azul.

Columbus was gifted an early lead inside four minutes when Brayan Angulo netted his own goal. Despite finishing the game with only 25% possession, the Crew came away as champions, with Jonathan Mensah scoring the second.

That victory means Caleb Porter’s men have won three of their last four games in all competitions. Considering where they were a few weeks back, the Crew must be given huge credit for their recent upturn.

Still, let’s not forget that fifth-place Philadelphia sits five points ahead of ninth-place Columbus in the East. The Union is also enjoying a positive run at the moment, having taken seven points from their past three matches.

Although Columbus will be on a high after Wednesday’s triumph, I can see Philly picking up a point at PPL Park.

Sporting Kansas City to Beat Houston Dynamo

It’s second against the second bottom in the Western Conference on Sunday, with high-flying Sporting Kansas City sitting a mammoth 22 points clear of lowly Houston.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I’m backing Sporting KC to register a comfortable victory on home soil.

The Wizards picked up their third win in four games last time out, downing FC Dallas 3-1. Daniel Salloi bagged a brace on Wednesday, taking his tally to 15 goals in 25 MLS outings in 2021.

Houston, meanwhile, recorded a goalless draw with Vancouver in midweek. The Texans have only managed to win two of their previous 21 matches and have also picked up fewer victories than any other team in the West.

A straightforward home win is on the cards here.

Portland Timbers to Beat Inter Miami

This matchup brings together two sides in contrasting form.

The Timbers have won six of their last seven games and have only lost one of their previous nine. On the flip side, the Herons have lost each of their past three matches – throwing away all their hard work over the past couple of months.

To make matters worse for Inter Miami, they are conceding goals at an alarming rate. Phil Neville’s side lost 4-0 to RBNY before going down 5-1 to Nashville, making Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Atlanta somewhat tolerable.

By contrast, Portland has been scoring goals for fun lately. Giovanni Savarese’s men have bagged at least two goals in six of their past seven outings and annihilated Real Salt Lake 6-1 last weekend.

A few weeks back, I would have said Inter Miami could beat Portland. But as it stands, the Timbers should win this one with ease.

LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC to Draw

When these two rivals met at the end of last month, they produced a six-goal thriller. Both Dejan Joveljic and Brian Rodriguez bagged a brace, only for the game to end 3-3.

Funnily enough, both teams head into the latest edition of El Tráfico on a three-game losing streak. The Los Angeles clubs are in a bit of a mess at the moment, making it difficult to predict the outcome of this clash.

Although the Galaxy have failed to win any of their previous eight matches, they still find themselves sixth in the West – five points ahead of ninth-place LAFC.

The Black & Gold, on the other hand, have picked up three wins since the Galaxy’s last victory. But that ultimately counts for nothing on Sunday.

Given the unpredictable nature of this fierce rivalry, I’m going with the draw for my LA Galaxy vs. LAFC prediction. Both sides are in poor form right now, meaning they will both be happy to avoid defeat.

Seattle Sounders to Beat Colorado Rapids

There are just three points between first-place Seattle and third-place Colorado in the West, with Sporting KC sandwiched in the middle.

The Rapids extended their unbeaten streak to 12 games with a 3-0 victory over Austin FC on Wednesday. It is worth pointing out, however, that they had drawn four consecutive matches before that.

The Sounders also secured an impressive victory in midweek, beating San Jose 3-1. Unsurprisingly, Raul Ruidiaz netted a double – taking his tally to 16 goals in 25 MLS outings this season.

Brian Schmetzer’s men have now won six of their last eight league games and sit in pole position in the Western Conference.

Not only have the Sounders scored more goals than Colorado, but they have also conceded less. Although I expect Sunday’s clash to be a closely fought contest between two top teams, I’m confident that Seattle will come out on top.

Top MLS Picks for Sunday, October 3

Let’s wrap things up with my best MLS bets for Sunday, October 3.

If you’re betting on Major League Soccer this weekend, I strongly recommend using only the top MLS sportsbooks online.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo

The Wizards have won three of their previous four games and sit second in the Western Conference – two points shy of first-place Seattle. At the opposite end of the standings, Houston is second from bottom – 22 points behind SKC.

Peter Vermes’ men are the West’s top scorers, having netted 47 goals in 27 games this year (1.74 goals per game). For that reason, I’m backing them to beat the Dynamo by at least two goals on Sunday.

The SKC win is at 1.44, but you can boost the odds to 2.40 by adding the –1 handicap.

  • Pick: Sporting Kansas City to Win (-1) – 2.40

Portland Timbers vs. Inter Miami

Just like my previous pick, I’m backing the Timbers to beat Inter Miami by at least two goals. Backing Portland to win at 1.57 isn’t the worst idea in the world, but the handicap price of 2.63 is far more appealing.

Not only are the Timbers the second-highest scorers in the West, but they have also won six of their previous seven outings. That is not good news for Inter Miami.

The Herons, on the other hand, have lost each of their last three matches. They are likely to extend that run to four matches this weekend.

  • Pick: Portland Timbers to Win (-1) – 2.63

LA Galaxy vs. Los Angeles FC

At 2.40, the Galaxy is the bookies’ slight favorite to win El Tráfico. LAFC is priced at 2.60 to claim all three points, while the draw is at 3.70.

Let’s face it – anything could happen when the two rivals meet at Dignity Health Sports Park. With that in mind, I suggest you steer clear of picking a winner – or backing the draw – for this matchup.

Instead, the over 3.5 goals market looks very attractive. These two sides drew 3-3 a month ago and have dished up countless high-scoring thrillers in the past, so I expect at least four goals this time around.

  • Pick: Over 3.5 Goals – 2.20
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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