Orlando City vs. Atlanta United – MLS, April 17, 2021
Let’s face it – the gulf between Orlando and Atlanta was vast in 2020.
The Lions (1.78 PPG) finished fourth in the East and reached the Conference Semifinals. On the flip side, the Five Stripes (0.96 PPG) ended up twelfth in the Eastern Conference and fourth from bottom in the overall standings.
Orlando will be hoping to build on last year’s success, while the new MLS season brings fresh optimism for Atlanta.
If you’re betting on Orlando City vs. Atlanta United on Saturday, April 17, keep reading!
Orlando City vs. Atlanta United Odds
Given what happened last season, it is no real surprise that Orlando City (2.00) is the favorite with the best online sports betting sites to beat Atlanta United (3.40) on Saturday.
However, the high price for the win home win suggests that Oscar Pareja’s men won’t have it all their way when the Five Stripes come to town.
Previewing the Match
It’s safe to say that 2020 was a breakout year for Orlando. Following back-to-back eleventh-place finishes in the East, the Lions roared to fourth last season before going all the way to the last eight in the playoffs.
Pareja’s men defeated New York City after one of the craziest penalty shootouts in soccer history, although New England eventually ended their campaign in the Conference Semifinals.
Chris Mueller was the star of the show last season, bagging ten goals and six assists, while Nani also shone, contributing nine goals and five assists. Daryl Dike is currently on loan at English side Barnsley, but Orlando has acquired a high-profile replacement.
That’s right, Alexandre Pato – who netted 63 goals in 150 appearances for Italian giant AC Milan – will lead the line for the Lions this season.
No team lost fewer games than Orlando in the East last term. Eight draws ultimately prevented the club from challenging the top dogs in the division, but Pareja’s side looks set to compete for a top-six finish again this year.
The Five Stripes faced Orlando on four occasions last season. As it turned out, they only managed to claim two points from a possible 12, with the Lions securing two high-scoring victories along the way.
Atlanta suffered a 3-1 loss to Orlando in Georgia before going down 4-1 to the Lions back in Florida. However, scorelines of that kind were nothing out of the ordinary for the 2018 MLS Cup champions last year.
The Five Stripes endured a wretched 2020 campaign, winning just six of their 23 matches. But there is one major difference this year – Josef Martinez is back!
The 2018 Golden Boot winner missed all of last season due to a serious knee injury, and Atlanta clearly missed him. Martinez has bagged 90 goals and 12 assists in 104 appearances for ATL UTD, so it isn’t easy to overstate the importance of his return.
Following last year’s shortcomings, new head coach Gabriel Heinze certainly has hit work cut out. Still, Atlanta should bounce back in 2021.
Orlando City vs. Atlanta United Betting Pick
While the Lions were extremely tough to break down last season, I expect the Five Stripes to improve drastically this year. That’s why the draw is my Orlando City vs. Atlanta United pick.
On paper, there is very little to separate these two sides. Both teams will be eager to avoid defeat on the opening day of the new campaign, so I can see this one ending level.