i80 Sports Toll Booth- Matchday 23 MLS Sportsbook Picks
Match- Minnesota United host Portland Timbers
Pick- Minnesota -140
My first pick of the week comes as my only home favorite of Matchday 23. Minnesota seems to have completed this season's turn-around and are now sitting at 10-4-8 in 2022. They are 4-1-0 in their last five matches and have been great since the emergence of the Emanuel Reynoso- Luis Amarilla connection, which finally seems to have been repaired.
Portland have been disappointing this season and currently have a 2-5-4 away record, averaging just a point a game on the road. They have lost all 4 meetings at Minnesota in MLS play, and their prospects don't look good for game number 5.
Key to the Match-
When we look towards the best player who will be on the field, Emanuel Reynoso has had a sudden return to form. He has 3 braces in his last 5 matches, with 6 goals and 1 assist total during that time. It should be no surprise, then, that during that same 5 matches, Luis Amarilla has 2 goals and 2 assists. They just play well together.
Minnesota is still battling injuries, but this attack is as close as it has been to 100% in what feels like a few seasons. I am here to ride the wave, and think -130 is decent odds for a red-hot Minnesota United, especially at home.
Match- Charlotte FC host Columbus Crew
Pick- Crew +190
Every time I pick Charlotte to win they lose, so let’s reverse that trend this week. I like Crew in a +190 upset in Carolina this week.
Charlotte has been one of the hottest teams at home this season, with a 7-0-3 record. It is worth noting, however, that they have not faced a whole lot of good teams at home, especially when those teams are playing hot. That is EXACTLY how I see the Crew, and exactly why I am taking them this week.
The Columbus Crew, currently sitting in 6th place in the Eastern Conference, have perhaps played better than their record shows. They have a +5 goal differential and are now unbeaten in 9 total matches. Their last loss, in fact, came in a 2-0 defeat to LAFC on May 21st.
Charlotte is good at home, but this is the biggest test they might face this season. This is must-watch TV either way.
Key to the Match-
Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but the Crew’s current form coincides with the addition of Cucho Hernandez and his spectacular connection with Lucas Zelarayan at the center of the Columbus attack. However, let’s look at how their defense has played.
In their current 9 game unbeaten streak, the Crew have allowed only 7 goals total, with 4 clean sheets. Guys on this defense, such as Pedro Santos, have stepped up big time and helped the Crew keep their opponents to 22 goals over 21 matches.
This strong Crew defense pairs up well against a Charlotte squad, which has a meager 25 goals and 31 conceded in 2022. Charlotte can score in bunches, but when those goals dry up, they dry up quickly. If Charlotte don’t score first, they can be in BIG trouble. AT +190 I see the Crew as a solid pick in this week’s sportsbook.
Match- CF Montreal host NYCFC
Pick- NYCFC +140
This week NYCFC heads to Montreal and I am all over the visitor’s +140 odds. NYCFC has proven to be a top scoring team in MLS; their 41 goals are just 3rd in the league. They will be without Taty Castellanos, as he will be taking his ambitions abroad, but I expect NYCFC to show the same resilience they showed when Ronny Deila left unceremoniously midseason. After all, they still have attackers like Talles Magno and Maxi Morales who have demonstrated true star power while contributing to their team’s 12-5-4 record.
Montreal is a team that I have been happily surprised with this season, however their 6-4 home record proves to me that this game should avoid being considered a big home field advantage. The winner should be the better team, NYCFC.
Key to the Match-
Montreal has one big weakness this season- the defense. They are allowing more goals than any other team currently in playoff position AND 4th worst in the Eastern Conference. Amazingly, they have displayed such a poor defensive performance while also allowing only 200 shots- the fewest in MLS. This amazing feat has been possible by a league leading +11.9 goals-minus-expected goals and .16 goals per shot.
For the opposing team averaging 15.3 shots per game, NYCFC, we could, therefore, expect about 2.5 goals. That would be enough for NYCFC to leave the Great White North with a result.
Match- Sporting KC host Austin FC
Pick- Austin FC +165
Sporting KC will host Austin this weekend as they once again look to rise from the bottom of the Western Conference charts. They sit with a 5-5-13 record which must be disappointing for a team who thought they were legitimate contenders just a season ago. Sporting will also be on short rest after a loss in the Open Cup to Sacramento, one that I am not sure helps their psyche any.
Austin, though, is looking to prove that after last week’s loss to Red Bull they still have what it takes to stay among the top of the Western Conference standings. Their 45 goals is well documented as being league-leading, while their opponent has a league-worst 19 goals scored.
Key to the Match-
The key to this match is, quite frankly, finding the time to enter it in your sportsbook. While no pick is a slam-dunk, this is one we would feel silly for missing out on.
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