Updated: Mar 9
Welcome back to i80 Sports- your Coast to Coast Sports Betting Source.
Last weekend we had a nice rally to recover from some week 1 losses. Overall, I picked 3 of 4 match results, tying for 4-4 on the season. That brings me to just just under even on the young MLS season.
This week we are looking to improve on our record and jump into the green for 2023. Remember you can catch our show LIVE every Wednesday night at 8:30 PM ET on YouTube as the whole team go through news and notes from the past week and discuss this week's top picks.
Match- Charlotte FC hosts Atlanta United
Pick- Atlanta United +195
Two geographic rivals face off this week as Charlotte FC hosts Atlanta United. In their two matches in rivalry history thus far, each home team has a win, which means I am going against the trend here. Atlanta has put together a good portfolio this season with a 2-1 win over San Jose and a 1-1 draw against the overpowered Toronto FC.
Charlotte, on the other hand, has fallen twice- to New England and St. Louis, the latter of which saw Charlotte look a mess on defense. Last week we saw center back Bill Tuiloma scoring an awkward own goal and a horrible miscommunication amongst the Charlotte backline which led to another St. Louis goal from an errant back pass that should never have happened.
Key to the Match-
Atlanta has not had a goal from a forward yet this year, but they can win this game with skill through the wings and Thiago Almada. They will be tested throughout the game, but I think Atlanta has enough to break down Charlotte and find a way to the net.
Atlanta will look to attack the clumsy backline of Charlotte and capitalize with ball skill, accurate final third passing, and possibly a solid attacking set piece or two. Atlanta has the advantage in each scenario.
Charlotte better lock down their mistakes or they will be in for a long season.
Match- Vancouver Whitecaps host FC Dallas
Pick- FC Dallas +195
In their recent history, Vancouver has OWNED Dallas, especially when Dallas is the road team, but I have to go against history and take FC Dallas this week with a road win at +195 odds.
After a decisive home win against the LA Galaxy, Dallas is looking to lock a road win here against a Vancouver side which has a midweek CCL game. I believe Vancouver is currently lacking the depth to get a proper squad rotation, and Dallas will have an advantage.
Key to the Match-
Vancouver has lost both matches this season by a 2-1 margin; these matches include a home loss to Real Salt Lake and a road loss to San Jose. It is hard to think of anything they have done right.
If this match was at a neutral location I could see FC Dallas easily being the biggest favorite of the week. This is a rare time early this season that I am buying into the home/away bump the sportsbook is offering, and taking the team that is flat out BETTER at +195.
Match- Nashville SC host CF Montreal
Pick- Nashville SC -111
Montreal have never beaten Nashville, and head into Nashville this week in an interesting Eastern Conference matchup. Montreal is in poor form, losing their first two games and are yet to put a ball in the net.
Nashville, on the other hand, sit at 1-1-0 and are returning home after a 0-0 draw with Red Bull. While they would have liked to leave with a win, drawing Red Bull has proven a tough task and coach Gary Smith was happy to leave Harrison with a draw.
Speaking of that RBNY match, Hany Mukhtar looked great in his second half appearance, proving he is nearly match-fit. I expect him to play a big part in this match, which should be just enough to push Nashville past Montreal for the win.
Key to the Match-
Nashville is going to step up and attack Montreal all match long, and I could see this turning into a game of bully-ball. Nashville has a size advantage with an incredibly physical backline of Shaq Moore, Walker Zimmerman, and Jack Maher.
While I see advantage all over the pitch, I think two things will favor Nashville the most. First, they are attacking aerial balls this season and will definitely have the upper hand in the air. Second, Hany Mukhtar is going to be too much for Montreal to contain.
The odds are -111, which is close enough to even money for me to take COMFORTABLY here.
Match- Portland Timbers host St. Louis City
Pick- Portland Timbers +102
St. Louis City has their furthest travel in MLS to date, as the misplaced Western Conference newbies head to Portland to face off against the Timbers this weekend. While St. Louis has been undeniably hot, I think their good luck ends this week. After all, City was gifted two goals in two games, both in a manner I haven’t seen since my rec days.
Portland lost their last match, albeit against a MLS Cup favorite in LAFC, but had positive takeaways. Evender, for example, showed his ability to score in the match and got on the scorecard. Portland also showed their ability to hang with the cream of the league, something they lacked in a tumultuous 2022.
Key to the Match-
St. Louis City will face their hardest test thus far, and with all the theatrics calming down (this is neither their first game or their home opener), I need to default back to my head over my heart. While St. Louis City has a nice squad, one I believe will be successful in their inaugural season, Portland has more talent, cohesion, and should get a solid home win this week.
Goalscorer Elias Manoel +390
Manoel has started both of RBNY’s matches this season up top alongside Tom Barlow. While those results have been a bust, he looked good with Corey Burke, AND I think the Red Bulls are dedicated to making him an everyday starter.
Barlow’s starting job is falling through his hands with every passing day that newcomers Vanzeir and Burke spend in Harrison. This should be the week that Manoel gets a REAL attacking partner, and I expect them to score early and often this week against Minnesota.
Goalscorer- Mikael Uhre +125
These odds for a goal aren’t great, but Philadelphia’s chance to beat up on the Chicago Fire are fantastic. This feels like a 3-0 4-1 victory, and any of the three top goal scorers in Philly are in play.
Uhre and Carranza are both at +125 while Gazdag sits at +120, so this is purely a numbers game for me.
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