MLS Predictions and Best Bets for Saturday, September 18, 2021
The Texas Derby headlines Saturday’s Major League Soccer schedule, with Houston hosting arch-rival Dallas at BBVA Stadium.
In total, we have eight MLS games to bet on this Saturday, September 18, including the Crew’s trip to New England and Atlanta’s battle with DC United.
Here is Saturday’s MLS fixture list in full.
- Atlanta United vs. DC United
- New England Revolution vs. Columbus Crew
- FC Cincinnati vs. New York City
- Toronto FC vs. Nashville SC
- Austin FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
- Minnesota United vs. LA Galaxy
- Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders
- Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas
The Sounders travel to Salt Lake City, looking to reclaim the top spot in the Western Conference. Over in the East, second-place Nashville visits last-place Toronto.
Without further ado, let’s get stuck into my MLS predictions for Saturday, September 18. Stay tuned for my MLS betting picks, too, as I share the best Major League Soccer bets for this weekend’s action.
Atlanta United and DC United to Draw
Josef Martinez bagged a brace as Atlanta United secured an easy 4-0 victory over FC Cincinnati on Wednesday. The Five Stripes have now won six of their last seven matches, scoring 14 goals in the process.
In Ola Kamara, the Black-and-Red have a goal machine of their own. The Norwegian striker netted a hat-trick in DC’s 3-0 rout of Chicago in midweek, meaning he has scored 15 goals in his previous 16 outings!
There really is very little to separate these two sides at the moment. Fifth-place DC sits just one point ahead of seventh-place Atlanta in the Eastern Conference, so I can see this clash ending in a draw.
New England Revolution to Beat Columbus Crew
Thanks to last weekend’s 2-1 win over New York City, New England still boasts a mammoth 14-point lead at the top of the East. Carles Gil notched another assist in the victory, taking his tally for the season to 16.
Despite securing a 2-1 win over the Red Bulls on Tuesday, Columbus is still in a terrible position. I mean, there is no hiding from the fact that Caleb Porter’s have men lost eight of their previous ten matches.
Considering the contrasting fortunes of New England and the Crew, a comfortable home win is on the cards here.
New York City to Beat FC Cincinnati
New York City produced a 3-3 thriller with FC Dallas on Wednesday, with Maxi Moralez, Jesus Medina, and Talles Magno all getting on the scoresheet. They enjoyed 60% possession while racking up 15 shots, so they can count themselves pretty unfortunate to have missed out on the win.
I can’t see them missing out on all three points this weekend, though. After all, Cincinnati has been nothing short of dismal all year.
Jaap Stam’s men have managed to win just one of their last 14 games and have lost four of their previous five. Having conceded four goals against Atlanta in midweek, they are destined to struggle against free-scoring NYCFC.
The Boys in Blue are the second-highest scorers in the East, while Cincy has the second-worst defensive record in the conference. Need I say more?
Nashville SC to Beat Toronto FC
Second-place Nashville sits a whopping 26 points ahead of last-place Toronto in the East, underlining the gulf in quality between the two sides.
While Nashville heads into Week 26 on a run of one loss in 15 matches, the Reds have failed to win any of their previous nine encounters and are currently enduring a six-game losing streak.
Having conceded just 21 goals in 23 matches this year, Nashville boasts the best defensive record in the East. The Canadians, on the other hand, have conceded a colossal 50 goals in 24 games – giving them the worst defensive record in the entire league.
It goes without saying that this should be a straightforward win for the team from Tennessee.
Austin FC and San Jose Earthquakes to Draw
Every once in a while, Austin picks up a positive result. Not very often, I might add, but it hasn’t been all doom and gloom for the first-year club in its inaugural Major League Soccer campaign.
Sure, Los Verdes still find themselves four points adrift at the bottom of the Western Conference. But after beating Houston and Portland last month, they will fancy their chances of getting something from Saturday’s meeting with San Jose.
I’m not saying that Austin will beat San Jose, but I can see hosts snatching a point.
Minnesota United and LA Galaxy to Draw
Across the past ten games, Minnesota United and LA Galaxy have both taken just 13 points from a possible 30. They both have an identical record, too, recording three wins, four draw, and three losses in that time.
The Loons have only won one of their last six outings and head into Week 26 on the back of two straight defeats. On the flip side, the Galaxy travels to Minnesota on a five-match winless streak – including three straight draws.
This matchup has got draw written all over it. Both teams have struggled for form in recent weeks, meaning both coaches will be desperate to avoid defeat on Saturday.
Seattle Sounders to Beat Real Salt Lake
Bosting a game in hand over Real Salt Lake, second-place Seattle leads sixth-place RSL by 12 points in the West. That is hardly surprising, though, as the Sounders have only lost four games all year, while RSL has suffered nine defeats.
After being overtaken by Kamara on the Golden Boot leaderboard, Raul Ruidiaz will be eager to find the net this weekend. The Seattle striker now sits two goals behind Kamara, having scored 14 goals in 22 MLS appearances.
That is bad news for Pablo Mastroeni’s men, who conceded three goals last time out. They may have beaten San Jose 4-3, but they have now conceded 14 goals across their past five encounters.
Worse still, the Claret & Cobalt have lost five of their previous nine games. The Sounders are likely to inflict a sixth defeat in ten matches on RSL.
FC Dallas to Beat Houston Dynamo
Let’s face it – Dallas and Houston are both enduring difficult seasons. The two rivals have played a combined total of 50 MLS games this year – and they only have ten wins between them.
That said, tenth-place Dallas sits four points clear of twelfth-place Houston in the standings, scoring eight goals more. The Toros can also take confidence from their impressive recent record in the Texas Derby.
|FC DALLAS VS. HOUSTON DYNAMO – HEAD-TO-HEAD (LAST 20 MEETINGS)|
|FC Dallas Wins||Draws||Houston Dynamo Wins|
As you can see, the Dynamo has only managed to win three of the previous 20 Texas showdowns – handing eight victories to Dallas. With that in mind, I’m backing Dallas to clinch the bragging rights again this weekend.
Best MLS Bets for Saturday, September 18
Now that my MLS predictions for Saturday are out the way, it’s time for the fun part! Having scoured the best Major League Soccer betting sites, I have found three top MLS picks for Saturday’s games.
Let’s check them out.
Toronto FC vs. Nashville SC
With Toronto playing on home soil this weekend, the price for the Nashville win is extremely attritive here. Sure, the Reds have the home-field advantage. But the Boys in Gold should come away with all three points.
Gary Smith’s men have only lost two of their 23 matches this year and find themselves 26 points ahead of TFC as a result. By contrast, the Reds have lost 15 of their 24 games – conceding more goals than any other team along the way.
- Pick: Nashville SC to Win (2.38)
Minnesota United vs. LA Galaxy
16 of the Galaxy’s 24 MLS matches have produced over 2.5 goals this season (66%). Vanney’s men may be the second-highest scorers in the West, but they also have the third-worst defensive record in the division.
Minnesota has also been involved in a number of high-scoring games recently, beating Houston 2-1 before losing 4-0 to Sporting KC on Wednesday. With that in mind, I expect the teams to dish up at least three goals at Allianz Field.
- Pick: Over 2.5 Goals (1.90)
Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas
At 2.00, Houston is the bookies’ favorite to win the Texas Derby. But when you consider the Dynamo’s wretched record in this fixture, all the signs point towards a Dallas win this weekend.
In my eyes, backing Dallas makes perfect sense here. The Toros have only lost three of their last 20 meetings with Houston and currently sit four points ahead of their arch-rival in the standings.
- Pick: FC Dallas to Win (3.30)