Hello again and thanks for joining me here at i80 Sports for our weekly i80 Sports “Toll Booth” Picks. We have a full slate of mid-week games, and you will have to subscribe on twitter (@i80_Sports) to get my Wednesday and Thursday picks. Due to publishing deadlines and for accountability’s sake, these weekly articles will be dedicated specifically to weekend games.
As always, skip to the dotted line below for this week’s picks. First, I will briefly recap last week’s bets below.
Week 4 treated me especially well, going up 4.75 units to be +12.26 on the season. Three of those wins, however, came on bets not included in the article. Let's recap:
Game- Colorado Rapids host Minnesota United
Pick- Minnesota United +250
Result- Rapids 3-2 win
This game was especially heartbreaking because Minnesota went up 2-0 early. I am going to take this chance to preach on behalf of the FanDuel Sportsbook "cash out" option, which would have allowed you to collect approximately 80% of your winnings if you sold your bet at halftime. Playing at altitude at Sporting Good's Park seemed too much for Minnesota in the second half when possession flipped In Colorado's favor.
Danny Wilson was easily the player of the game, contributing the game- winning goal, completing almost 90% of his passes, and winning 8 of his 10 duels.
Game- Inter Miami host Atlanta United
Pick- Inter Miami -115
Result- 1-1 Draw
Rarely do I consider counting a loss as a win, but this one should have been an Inter Miami result.
Miami face early trouble with Matuidi going down and getting subbed in the 14th minute after a midfield collision with Sosa. By that time they were already down 1-0 after a Josef Martinez turn-and-shoot goal.
At the end of the game Miami was denied a penalty on what should have been an inside-the-box handball, denied a second penalty when Guzan took out Victor Ulloa diving for a rebound, and the referee missed the chance at a make-up call when LGP went down (softly) in the box off of a cross. Miami should have won, and we should have been up a unit here.
Game- Portland Timbers host Seattle Sounders
Pick- Sounders +130
Result- Sounders 2-1 Win
This was a game that never seemed quite as close as the 2-1 scoreline would show. Timbers led in just about every category except the one that matters- balls in the net. Ruidiaz scored (of course) his 5th of the season on a penalty kick and Fredy Montero added a late goal off the bench to secure the win.
This game had some drama with Frei saving a Timbers penalty and then getting bailed out by the post on a re-take (he jumped off the line early). Those 2 penalties left Timbers with zero goals, and Seattle promptly ran downfield and got a penalty of their own. They converted, and they win their rivalry-week matchup 2-1.
MLS Week 5 Toll-Booth Bets
This week brings us 7 mid-week games, and 14 teams that play twice in five or less days.
Only twice (NYCFC hosting Toronto and Atlanta hosting Montreal) do we see a HOME team on rest face an away team coming off a midweek game. Those teams (NYCFC -190 and Atlanta -155) are good bets with bad payouts. Parlay them if you chose, or lay heavy money for meager returns. Both should be solid advantage games.
Let's look at a few weekend games where we can find some better value.
Game- LA Galaxy hosts Austin FC
Pick- LA Galaxy to win (+115)
This game has one team who scores big and concedes big (Galaxy with 8 goals scored and 8 against) and another with the opposite problem (Austin with 5 goals both for and against).
Zan Kolmanic has looked good in Ben Sweat’s absence, but the missing players will be adding up for Austin. While Alex Ring will be out on a red card suspension, Schoenfeld and Segura are also listed as “out.” Jared Stroud has looked great in the meantime (that assist last week!) but that magic is soon to run out.
This game finds Galaxy in better health and better form, thus finding an easy week 5 result.
Key to the Game-
Once again, this comes down to the stars.
When Austin comes into town this weekend they will face a red-hot Chicharito who has scored 6 goals and an assist through 4 games this season. More importantly, in games where he has a point, the Galaxy are 3-0 (their lone loss coming against a stingy Seattle team).
Game- Philadelphia Union host RBNY
Pick- RBNY to win (+280)
The Philadelphia Union Is in the middle of a rough patch- playing New England Revolution mid-week (to a draw) and Red Bull NY this weekend. I know RBNY does not have a history of leaving Philly with results, but after a long week is there any system you would LESS like to see than the Red Bull high press?
Philadelphia will also be without Jose Martinez Torres (El Brujo) who is out on suspension and will likely have some combination of Martinez/Flach at defensive midfield. If Red Bull can have possession in their opponent's end of the pitch good things can happen (another Caden Clark banger, anyone?).
Key to the Game-
This game will be won or lost in the attack. Klimala (the Devil) is set to make his RBNY debut and Fabio has been a huge help with 2 assists in each of his last 2 games (although he has not found the back of the net himself).
I think Philadelphia is a better team but they are experiencing some early season woes with their current 1-2-2 record. Their narrow formation matches up poorly with a NY defense you would want to exploit on the wings. At +280 this is a solid bet for this weekend.
Game- Colorado Rapids host Houston Dynamo
Pick- Colorado Rapids to win (-120)
We all saw what Colorado did to Minnesota in the second half at altitude last week, right? This could be a very similar scenario, but this time Houston had a mid-week game before traveling to Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Both teams here can exploit their opponent- Houston's attack down the wings could exploit Colorado, and Rapid's quick recovery and chance creation could all be too much for Houston to handle.
Key to the Game-
How does the spine of the Dynamo hold up traveling on short rest? We have Tim Parker (28), Boniek Garcia (36), and Maynor Figueroa (38) as the center backs for Dynamo, all of an age where you wouldn't want them at short rest going 90 minutes Colorado. Can midfielders like Matias Vera and Joe Corona help them enough to keep a dynamic Rapids offense out of the box?
My guess is going to be a resounding "no." I could see another scenario here where Houston have some life and get an early goal. By the time the whistle blows Colorado should be on top. Lock it in.
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