Week 4 MLS is upon us! We had a great few weeks going up 7.51 units on 20 wagers this season. In week 3 I went 2-1 on my best bets. Let’s take a quick recap at last week’s picks and view our season progress for accountability.
As always, if you just want THIS WEEK’s value picks, skip to the dotted line below.
Game- Minnesota United hosts Austin FC
Pick- Austin FC and Draw (double chance) +110
Winnings- 1.1 units
As I said in last week’s article, Minnesota United needs its stars to step up to get results. Reynoso didn’t look right all game and went off in the 58th minute with a tight calf. Their defense- after giving up 6 in its first two games- did look better.
Minnesota starts the season 0-3 and Austin has to feel good after heading to Allianz Field and leaving with a win. An otherwise unspectacular game saw the game winner in the 17th minute by Diego Fagundez.
Game- NE Revolution host Atlanta United
Pick- New England -125
Winnings- .8 units
The only goal from the run of play was scored in the 19th minute by Brandon Bye off a Carles Gil assist. New England and Atlanta both scored penalties later in the game, giving us a 2-1 Revs win.
This game was fairly even for both sides- possession was slightly in favor of Atlanta but shots favored the Revs 14-11. Revolution did not play to their full potential and Atlanta seemed to be missing the “IT” factor without Barco and Josef Martinez in the starting 11 (due to CONCACAF rest).
This was an easily predictable game and we won our second of the week.
Game- Nashville SC hosts Inter Miami
Pick- Nashville +115
Losses- 1 unit
This one hurt. Nashville had the early possession lead and had the ball for almost 60% of the game. Of their 10 shots, only 3 landed on goal and we ended with a 0-0 tie.
Miami looked like they cooled off from their week 2 win, with only 5 shots and a meager 78.6% pass completion. They PROBABLY should have had a penalty in the 70th minute off of a Walker Zimmerman foul (I think there was coverage behind him, and the ref agreed).
In the sportsbook game, ties are losses, and we finished the week at 2-1 and went up .9 units.
Week 4 Value Picks
Game- Colorado Rapids host Minnesota United
Pick- Minnesota United +250
If you believe Adrian Heath is a good coach (I do) and you believe Minnesota is better than they’ve been (I also do) you should be looking at the sportsbook to swing heavily against Minnesota for the next few weeks (it has). At +250 you can make $25 on a $10 bet (cashing out at $35) and more than tripling your money. Let’s not be silly- this bet should be made each and every week until Minnesota walks away with a win.
Aside from gambling theory, I think Minnesota has a nice matchup here against a team they have played historically well against. Reynoso is back to training after exiting last game with a calf injury and Robin Lod could be back from a chest injury that had him sidelined against Austin. Minnesota is waiting for two transfer additions (adding Franco Fragapane and Adrien Hunou to help complete their attack) and will look to get a road result before reinforcements arrive.
Key to the Game-
I want to see what coach Robin Fraser does with the backline for Colorado ahead of this matchup. Earlier this season we saw Kellyn Acosta as a left back before moving up to attacking midfield against Vancouver last week. If Lod is back for Minnesota, this could cause problems for the opposing fullback, and want to see if he goes with experience or youth (in the form of Sam Vines) here.
As for Minnesota, their backline looked much improved last week against Austin, giving up only a single goal while allowing 6 in the previous two games. These two teams combined for just 3 goals SCORED through three weeks in 2021, so I think the better defense can prevail.
Game- Inter Miami host Atlanta United
Pick- Inter Miami -115
Atlanta and Miami are both 1-1-1 to start the season but Atlanta has played considerably more games with midweek CONCACAF matchups. I thought Atlanta would start a dummy lineup against Philadelphia in the second leg this week (after losing 0-3 in the first leg) but somehow went all out stating Josef Martinez and Marcelino Moreno. They should still be missing Ezequiel Barco who re-injured his hamstring while attempting an early return last week. Jugen Damm’s availability, as of writing this article, is also still in question.
Inter Miami will have its own share of problems, with Robbie Robinson only logging ten minutes before reaggravating an injury against Nashville AND the Higuain brothers waiting to clear covid protocol after leaving the team for their mother’s funeral. As of Wednesday morning I believe they may be available in some capacity.
Key to the Game-
The key to the game is which team has the better, fresher starting lineup. I think Pizarro is due for a huge game for Miami and their central midfield (Gregore and Matuidi) can handle whatever rag-tag attack Atlanta throws their way.
Atlanta can’t get out of their own way and Gabriel Heinze was in the news this week for all the wrong reasons. I like the home team in this one, and think Inter Miami at -115 is a great value play.
Game- Portland Timbers host Seattle Sounders
Pick- Sounders +130
Seattle is a visiting favorite one week after beating up on the LA Galaxy and watching Timbers get blown out by FC Dallas. These two teams know each other WELL and should both be at their best this weekend.
I know we mention him a lot, but Raul Ruidiaz is special- scoring 4 goals already in the 2021 season. Seattle has 5 players with one assist each- including Brad Smith who also has two goals this campaign. I can’t fight momentum here and really like the Seattle Sounders as an away team getting three points in a rivalry game.
Key to the Game-
Experience, familiarity, and chemistry will carry Seattle Sounders to win in week 4 at Portland. Brian Schmetzer is using his team to the best of their abilities, including employing a 3 man backline (or 5, depending on which phase of play they're in).
On the other hand, Giovanni Savarese seems to be struggling tactically after losing huge chunks of his starting lineup to injuries (as of right now, Portland has 6 players listed as “out” with Ebobisse and “questionable”). Last week after going down 3-0 just before halftime he made 4 (!!!) halftime substitutions to try and get SOMETHING going Portland’s way. That is not a recipe for success against a well-tuned Seattle machine.
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