Welcome back to another edition of i80 Sports Toll booth- the best place on the web for Major League Soccer Sportsbook Picks!
Last week was a great one for my article's picks! We went 2-2 wnning 2.6 units! Here is a rundown of last week's picks, for accountability. Let's get after another great sportsbook week.
Match- Columbus Crew host LAFC
Pick- LAFC +200
Leading off our slate of Saturday games are the Columbus Crew hosting LAFC at Lower.com Field. While both teams have had recent MLS success, this season the Crew are 3-4-4 and host the 7-2-3 LAFC.
LAFC should be hungrier, coming off of losses to Austin and Colorado and NEEDING a good weekend to stay level with Austin FC atop the Western Conference leaderboards. This was evident to me in LAFC having a solid rotation during their mid-week game. Their starts should be fresh as they look to take home a +200 away win.
Key to the Game-
When LAFC is +200, bet LAFC. That simple rule applies as long as LAFC has the star power of Vela, Arango, Cifuentes, etc.
Being more specific, I think LAFC can attack Crew on the wings and, while both teams are great at set pieces, LAFC can actually defend them, which is not a particular strength of the Columbus Crew. I also think LAFC will have the advantage in getting shots on target; this season they lead the league with 66 shots on target AND lead the league allowing only 32 shots on target in return.
Columbus Crew have struggled, especially from the striker position, at getting their chances to land. They would need overwhelming change in order to change that against the top Western Conference team this weekend.
Match- Nashville SC host Atlanta United
Pick- Nashville +100
This rivalry game comes, to me, down to who has the home field advantage. Nashville SC is 2-1-0 in their new stadium this season, while Atlanta is 1-4 in their last 5 road games. Both teams have struggled with consistency this season, and Nashville will look to get a streak together with a few upcoming home-stands. They started 2022 with 8 straight away games, and now the home field advantage will come into play during the summer months.
While I would have taken Nashville ANYWAY, this point is driven home by their 22 game home unbeaten streak. I don’t think this is the week that is broken, and at even money Nashville is a fine addition to this week’s sportsbook picks.
Key to the Match-
Nashville is unbeaten in their last 4 matches against Atlanta, improving their lifetime record to 3-2-2 since their entrance in MLS. For a team with as much talent as Atlanta has (and their talent is considerable and undeniable), until they find some consistency in MLS this season, I will take their home opponent when the odds allow.
Match- Austin FC host Orlando City
Pick- Austin FC +105
The true scope of Austin FC’s success has surprised me all season. This has proven no fluke, as they are 7-2-3 through the first third of the season with a +13 goal differential. Their 2.17 hope points has led their way to the top of the Western Conference, while their 1.67 points per game away is 6th in the league.
Orlando City has a solid 6-2-4 record while sporting a -1 goal differential, disappointing for a team that spent almost $13 million revamping their offense this offseason. Their actual play should reflect a closer to .500 record.
Key to the Match-
Austin FC leads the league in goals with 24 and goals per shot at .16. This offense, with help from Sebastian Driussi, has been prolific and has managed to put away more of their chances than any team in the league. They are 4-1-1 at home this season and should be a serious sportsbook consideration anytime you are getting good odds.
Match- Portland Timbers host Philadelphia Union
Pick- Philadelphia Union +170
Portland Timbers host one of the most disappointing records in MLS; the 2021 MLS Cup qualifying side is just 3-6-3 this season. Their off-field issues have been exclusively documented (including by our MLS team at i80 Sports) and their defense, allowing 21 goals in 13 games, has been equally problematic.
The Philadelphia Union, on the other hand, are exactly where I expected. They are 5-6-1, sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, and are getting +170 on the late Sunday match. Although they started a chunk of their regulars during their midweek matchup, I think they can have juice in Portland and leave with 3 points.
Key to the Match-
Portland will be without 8 players, roughly 3 starters, with injury; these players include Niezgoda and Felipe Mora, who combined for 14 goals and 5 assists in 2021. It is hard to build yourself out of a funk without a steady lineup, and they will turn to Nathan Fogaca to lead their attack. In fairness, he was fantastic with 2 goals last week, but in that 7-2 SKC rout, who WASN’T scoring?
Philadelphia has had a rough few weeks drawing their last 5 MLS matches, but I expect big things moving forward. At +170 the price is right on the Union in Portland this weekend.
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