The beautifully named MLS is back tournament will kick off tonight with games running everyday until the champion is crowned on August 12. I am, personally, beyond ecstatic to see the NWSL and MLS get this time to themselves to be the only North American team sports playing. I hope this can be a turning point for soccer to win some folks over. Especially if you’ve followed me for LoL, give it a shot. The two sports are similar in their emphasis on team play, methodical approaches, and chess-like nature. Plus, no commercials!
With my soccer proselytizing done, let’s get into what I’m betting going into the weekend.
Orlando City vs. Inter Miami
- Moneylines: ORL (+185), Tie (+250), MIA (+135)
- Spread: ORL +0.5 (-167), MIA -0.5 (+138)
- Total: Over 2.5, 3 (+104) , Under 2.5, 3 (-125)
Orlando was a reliable under team to start the season with the 2nd lowest expected combined goals in the league. Miami, on the other hand, got off to a blistering start offensively and a blistered start defensively. I expect Orlando’s style of play to reign supreme here. Group stages are often slow and cagey at the beginning with neither team wanting to make the first mistake of the tournament. Both teams will need a result from this game to feel good about their chances of getting out of the group as the clear number 2 and 3 teams here. I would expect Orlando to sit back and absorb pressure into their newly signed center back pairing and goalkeeper. Unfortunately, I don’t expect this kickoff match to be the best advertisement for MLS, but that shouldn’t keep anyone from making money off it.
The Bets: Under 2.5, 3(-125) 1u, Draw (+250) 0.5u
NYCFC vs. Philadelphia Union
- Moneylines: NYCFC (+108), Tie (+270), PHI (+215)
- Spread: NYCFC -0, -0.5 (-121), PHI 0, +0.5 (+100)
- Total: Over 3 (-112), Under 3 (-108)
This line is about who NYCFC with Domenec Torrent used to be, not who they are now. With Torrent as manager last season, they were a legitimately great possession team. They played beautifully and were the second highest scoring team in the league behind LAFC. Then came this season with a new manager. In their first two games, they were the worst defensive side in the league. Philadelphia, on the other hand, can absorb pressure and press with the best of them in MLS and is essentially built for beating possession sides like NYCFC in one-offs. If NYCFC look as lost as they did to start 2020, they could be going out in the group stages.
The Bets: PHI +0, +0.5 (+100) 2u, PHI ML (+215) 1u
Montreal Impact vs. New England Revolution
- Moneylines: MTL (+260), Tie (+270), NE Revolution (-107)
- Spread: MTL +0, +0.5 (+118), NER -0, -0.5 (-141)
- Total: Over 2.5, 3 (-118), Under 2.5, 3 (-103)
Another group stage under spot! The most thrilling bet in soccer. Montreal has given up a near-elite 22.54 expected goals in their last 15 matches. They are a tough, solid defensive team facing an average attack in the Revolution. With the conditions of a group stage, this match screams 0-0 and I wouldn’t hate a stab at the exact score there. I’m going to play it safe with the under.
The bets: Under 2.5, 3 (-103) 1u
NYRB vs. Atlanta United
- Moneylines: ATL (-107), Tie (+270), NYRB (+260)
- Spread: ATL -0, -0.5 (-141), NYRB +0, +0.5 (+118)
- Total: Over 2.5, 3 (-104), Under 2.5, 3 (-117)
Who is Atlanta United without Josef Martinez? We’re about to find out. My best guess is they are significantly worse. He is the kind of goalscorer that can lift an offense entirely by themselves. He averages more expected goals per shot than any player in MLS history. That is irreplaceable. NYRB is a legitimate team who probably should not be +260 against Atlanta under normal circumstances, but without Josef? No way. They are the 4th best xGD team since the midway point of last MLS season with +6.09. A number, that is only 1 goal behind Atlanta with Josef. I love the Red Bulls here.
The bets: NYRB +0.5 (-115) 2u, NYRB ML (+260) 1u
Columbus Crew vs. FC Cincinnati
- Moneylines: COL (-110), CIN (+300), Tie (+245)
- Spread: COL -0.5 (-109), CIN +0.5 (-110)
- Total: Over 2.5, 3 (+120), Under 2.5, 3 (-148)
The Crew are better than they showed to end last season. Injuries took the team apart and we never got to see them play the famed Porterball. This tournament is the thing of Caleb Porter’s dreams. Heat to pressure teams under, one offs to grind out results in, and he has Nagbe back at his side to run their famous break. I think the Crew are well-positioned for a deep run in this tournament. That has to start with a win over a bad FC Cincinnati team.
The bets: Columbus ML (-110) 1u
Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids
- Moneylines: RSL (+128), Tie (+250), COL (+195)
- Spread: RSL -0.5 (+130), COL +0.5 (-157)
- Total: Over 2.5, 3 (+108), Under 2.5, 3 (-132)
Are the 2-0 Colorado Rapids for real? Did they finally find their playmaker in Younes Namli? If the answers to both of those are yes, this line is going to look terrible. Colorado were on a nice run of form to finish 2019 and seem to have improved in key areas over the offseason. RSL is a tough defensive team, but have a lot of aging players that could struggle in the Orlando sun. They also lack a consistent goal scoring threat. This game looks exactly like the kind of game that will be won on a singular set piece goal. You have to give the Rapids with Jack Price the edge there.