i80 Sports Toll Booth- Matchday 26 MLS Sportsbook Picks
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Match- LA Galaxy host Seattle Sounders
Pick- LA Galaxy -115
LA Galaxy is home this week, desperate for a win, and are facing a disappointing Seattle Sounders squad. Both teams have had up and down seasons so far, and I have to look at Galaxy as a playoff contender and Seattle as a team on the outside looking in.
Seattle, in particular, are in poor form- losing 4 straight away games to Nashville, Chicago, LAFC, and Atlanta. In that span they are being outscored 6 to 2. In comparison, LA have won two straight home games by a 7-2 margin.
Key to the Match-
The specific advantage I see here is Galaxy’s ability to send through balls forward, while Seattle is weak against that type of attack. Galaxy has ball distributors who can find space in areas where Seattle has been poor this season.
Galaxy has 5 players with 3 assists and 4 players with 2 assists. This compares sharply with Seattle who have Lodeiro and the Roldan brothers to push the ball forward into the attack, and a weaker cast of contributors behind them.
Match- DC United host Philadelphia Union
Pick- Philadelphia +115
Last place DC United played the first place Philadelphia Union in a familiar battle between Eastern Conference opponents. Philadelphia is going to think back on their 7-0 victory on July 8th and I expect them to pull no punches in a rivalry they have had the upper hand in recently.
Despite their quality and standings disparity, AND the fact that Philly has won 10 of their last 12 meetings with DC United, this game opened at +115 with more than even money on Philly. This looks like a slam dunk for a pick of the week.
Key to the Match-
Philadelphia has 44 goals this season to DC’s 28, 116 shots on goals to DC’s 77, and a +25 goal differential to DC’s -21. Don’t think too hard.
Match- Chicago Fire host NYCFC
Pick- Chicago Fire +130
This should be my most controversial pick this week, and for good reason. Looking at standings alone, NYCFC is 12-6-7 with a +16 goal differential, while Chicago is 8-6-11 with a -6 goal differential. However, there are two teams trending in different directions.
Once coach Ronny Delia left NYCFC, the team went on an immediate slump. They are 4-4-5 since Delia’s departure and have a -2 goal differential. They have given up 3 goals in each of their last 3 games in their current losing streak, and are on the road against a Chicago Fire team which, surprisingly, is down but not out.
Chicago, in stark contrast, is 4-1-1 in their last 5 games with a +3 goal differential. Kacper Przybylko has shown signs of life against Charlotte and role players like Shaqiri and Mueller have stepped up this month, too.
Key to the Match-
In a neutral location I would still take NYCFC, but in Chicago I give the edge to the Fire, and at +130 this is solid, if not generous, odds. I expect Chicago to come out and take lots of shots, try and exploit the NYCFC offside trap, and have the ability to come out strong early in the match.
Match- CF Montreal host New England Revolution
Pick- New England Revolution + Draw +100
CF Montreal are a surprise this season with their 13-4-8 record, but also finding their spot in the standings (currently second place) while having only a +2 goal differential. They have allowed 41 goals, which is way above average amongst playoff teams.
Montreal have no clear home field advantage. In fact, they have averaged 1.67 points per game at home and 1.77 points per game away. Montreal is a clear favorite here, but something just does not add up for me about this team. They are a “fake” good team, and I will always take their opponent + Draw for even money.
The visiting New England squad has looked like a disappointment this season, too, albeit one that is now traveling quickly up the Eastern Conference standings. The Revolution is 4-7-2 in their last 13 matches, and those points have helped them improve their season total to 34 points, good enough for 6th place.
Key to the Match-
New England has won six straight against Montreal (according to MLS.com) and have a good chance in this one, even if Gustavo Bou is still missing with a knock.
The matchup I want to see is the Montreal 3-man backline against the Revolution, who use fullbacks like DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye to shuttle the ball and send in crosses. I would love to see the Revolution gain their advantage down the wings and in the air.
Both teams in this matchup have struggled on defense and struggled to hold a lead. Both teams to score is at -154 odds, and I like that as a way to solidify this sportsbook pick.
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