Last week was one of our most profitable weeks in a long time- winning 3.3 units on only 4 bets! A lot of our cash came with Seattle's statement away win over SKC. Here is graphic summarizing last week's picks before getting into this week's action.
Match- Austin FC hosts Real Salt Lake
Pick- Austin FC +125
Real Salt Lake, currently 5th in the west and 11-6-10 on the season, has conceded 42 goals this season. That is just ONE goal less than last place Austin FC with 43. The big difference between teams at the middle and bottom of the west is NOT defensive play, but rather goals scored.
Before this week’s 3-0 loss to Colorado, Austin scored 5 goals in their previous two games. In their last 5 games, they found the back of the net twice (or more) in three of those games. This offense is heating up at the right time to avoid wooden spoon embarrassment.
In just the past few weeks, RSL has conceded 6 to Portland, 3 to the Quakes, 3 to LAFC, and 4 to Vancouver. This get-right defense is just what the doctor ordered for Austin who will look to get their 5th home win of the season.
Key to the Match-
Austin needs to take the lead early and avoid taking their foot off the gas to get a win here- and their supporters are going to help out there. I am looking at Sebastian Driussi and Cecilio Dominguez to live up to their hype in front of the home crowd.
Match- Montreal host Atlanta United
Pick- Atlanta United +195
Wow, Joseph Martinez.
Four goals in his last three games INCLUDING his 100th for Atlanta brings the King of Atlanta up to 100 career goals. During his current hot stretch he has scored in 7 of his last 9 matches and solidified his return as a top MLS goal scorer.
Montreal, on the other hand, has been spotty all season. They have looked decent of late but have no star goal scorers (sorry Quioto) that are playing at the top of their game. I take my hat off to Montreal who has shown fight and gotten some scrappy wins, but I can’t take them over an Atlanta team that is coming to great form and asserting their dominance at just the right time for a MLS Playoff run.
Key to the Game-
Of their many advantages on the pitch, Atlanta is better at creating space with long balls, using individual skill to find openings, and using set pieces to create havoc. Montreal is also bad at defending leads, while Atlanta seems to PREFER late game dramatics and winning in stunning late fashion.
Getting Atlanta at +195 feels dishonest, so I love the idea of getting in before Vegas realizes their mistake.
Match- Orlando City hosts DC United
Pick- Orlando City +105
DC United was my dark-horse from our intro series this preseason, and they moved all the way up to 3rd place in the east with a 12-4-11 record and 40 points scored. Most of those wins come at home, where they have 10 wins and only 2 losses on the season. That makes them one of the worst teams on the road, with a 2-4-8 record.
Orlando, on the other hand, has been in poor form through their last 5. This will be one of the only matches in that span without players on red card suspension, although they WILL have Schlegel on yellow card suspension.
Orlando is better than they have played and will fight hard for a home win to keep them in the East’s final playoff spot.
Key to the Match-
DC United likes playing wide, while Orlando thrives through the middle. Whoever can control the game can push the other team to play their style of ball, and that should be Orlando.
Orlando has Daryl Dike back who will be the beneficiary of long forward passes and through balls. Orlando has the skill players to find an opening in this DC defense and exploit a soft road underdog.
Match- Toronto FC host Chicago Fire
Pick- Toronto FC +100
We will be talking at some length about the Chicago Fire during out weekly i80 Sports MLS episode later this week- but here is what you need to know: Chicago will miss the playoffs for the 10th time in 12 years, they fired coach Raphael Wicky, and are dead last in the league on the road- with a 1-1-10 record.
Not sold yet? Let us now talk about Toronto FC. Toronto is on a mini hot streak of their own- beating Nashville and Cincy and tying Colorado IN Colorado earlier this month. In that span players like Shaffelburg have changed formation- playing in center mid and even as a winger. We even saw 5’3” Yeferson Soteldo take his time up top as Toronto seems to be mixing it up each match.
Key to the Match-
Once again, in these late “wooden spoon avoidance” games you have to take the fans into account. Toronto will play at home for the next 2 matches (a 3 game home stand) and 5 of their last 7 this season.
As for the players on the field- Chicago is second to last with -9.8 goals per expected goals. This game should be sloppy, and I trust a player like Dom Dwyer to make better use of a chance (picked off pass, missed clearance, odd man rush, etc.) than anyone that Chicago is rostering in 2021.
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