Hey and thanks for joining us for another great week of MLS action. This week will be getting back to some normalcy after an international break. As always, I will post last week’s bets (from week 7 MLS) below. If you wish to skip to this week’s picks, jump to the dotted line below.
Week 8 Toll Booth Bets
Game- FC Cincinnati host the Colorado Rapids
Pick- Rapids +110
This game is a tale of two teams in very different positions as we head back into MLS action. Cincinnati has given up a league-leading 15 goals in 2021 while finding the net only 6 times of their own (second lowest in the league). They face a hot Colorado side that has scored ten times in their last four matches.
Both Cincinnati and Colorado are in the bottom third of the league in possession with Colorado at 48% and Cincinnati at 46.5%.
Key to the Game-
Controlling the left side of Colorado’s attack.
We have seen some great play from Michael Barrios up the left side of the Colorado attack and we also know Sam Vines makes good overlapping runs. Cincinnati, however, is stronger on the opposite side of the field with Matarrita playing much better this season than Joe Gyau.
If Colorado can get possession and play up the left side of the field, they could find another game with 2+ goals this weekend.
Game- Toronto FC host Orlando City
Pick- Orlando +170
In late May Orlando beat Toronto FC 1-0 at home, and I think they will win by an even broader margin this week.
Questions are adding up for Chris Armas’s side just as quickly as their injuries; at the writing of this article 3 players are listed as questionable with 4 players listed as out. This includes Yeferson Soteldo (who has looked good since transfering in earlier this season) and Jozy Altidore (whom many think has played his last game for Toronto).
Key to the Game-
We have a matchup here between two young exciting forwards in Toronto’s Ayo Akinola facing off against Orlando City’s Tesho Akindele.
Tesho has started off the 2021 season with 2 goals and 2 assists, while no Toronto player has two goals.
This is not the first time a Chris Armas side has left us with the question “who is going to score?” and it probably won’t be the last. Until that question is answered- I will be betting against Toronto, home OR away.
Game- LA Galaxy host Seattle Sounders
Pick- LA Galaxy +190
This is going to be an electric game- one of the best of the week which features a heated west coast rivalry. These teams both have top scorers (Chicharito with 7 and Ruidiaz with 6), elite defensive midfielders (dos Santos and Joao Paulo), and young star defenders (Araujo and Nouhou Tolo).
Sounders are undefeated going 5-3-0 through their first 8 games. The Seattle Sounders have hardly faced adversity this season- giving up only 3 goals and trailing only one time- to LAFC. Coach Schmetzer has been running a three-man backline to better use the Sounders depth- while working around some injuries. This tactic change has worked splendidly so far.
Key to the Game-
We head back into the MLS season after an international break- one that also served as a break in Seattle’s hot streak. We will also get a first-hand look at Raul Ruidiaz who was just snubbed from Peru’s Copa America roster.
Anytime you are getting 2-1 on a home team you have to take that bet into consideration. In this case, after some time off, I think both teams have a chance and would love to see Galaxy get the home result.
Game- Atlanta United hosts Philadelphia Union
Pick- Atlanta United +125
Remember a few weeks ago when I said Atlanta was working to put pieces together? And when they did they would be one of the most dangerous teams in the east? Here they get put to the test against a rival that is second atop the Eastern Conference table.
Despite Philadelphia Union being second in the east and 6 spots above Atlanta, both teams have only 9 goals on the season. I would argue that Atlanta has faced tougher opponents thus far- playing Sounders and Nashville in their two draws before the break.
What is a bit concerning for Philadelphia besides their lack of scoring is their lack of scoring against weak opponents. They scored only once against Miami (13 goals conceded), only once against RBNY (10 goals conceded), and only once against DC United (10 goals conceded).
Key to the Game-
Atlanta will need their supporting cast to step up- including a striker who can find the net. Erik Lopez is expected to start for Josef Martinez who is away on international duty.
Both teams have had more scoring difficulty than we would expect- but Atlanta seems to be righting the ship. If their high press tactics and young Argentine attackers (Barco, Ibarra, Moreno) can get after the ball and score I like their chances.
As a side note- if Atlanta goes up by a goal or 2 by halftime- this is a PERFECT match for the cash-out option. Atlanta gave up two LATE goals to Nashville before break. Keep your eye on this bet!
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