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Match- FC Cincinnati host Orlando City
Pick- Orlando City +185
One of the first games this week sees Cincinnati hosting Orlando City and features a classic case of records not matching up with betting odds. Cincy is 6-2-7 while Orlando is moving up the table at 7-4-5, yet Cincinnati remains home favorites. There is nothing here to suggest a home advantage either; Orlando and Cincy are both BETTER on the road this season (with Cincy having a league-worst 1 point per game at home) and I expect that to continue into this weekend.
Of the areas in which Orlando has an advantage, I think Orlando should dominate on set pieces and aerial play. They have been better on free kicks and corners this season and I think, with their structured play and predictable formation, they have less question marks and should leave with a win.
Key to the Match-
Orlando seems to have caught lightning in a bottle in their new center-forward Ercan Kara. The 26 year old Austrian from Rapid Wein in the Bundesliga has 6 goals, 4 in his last 4 games, and has scored against some good defenses this season. Cincinnati, however, is not a good defense.
I love this matchup and expect Ercan Kara to take another step this weekend.
Match- CF Montreal host Charlotte FC
Pick- CF Montreal -120
Making this pick on FanDuel, I feel like I am in a time capsule. You can, still, bet on “Montreal Impact” to win this week, despite the rebrand that you would EXPECT a legitimate sportsbook to know about.
Getting to the game, Montreal is 7-2-6 this season and playing in fine form at home with 1.71 points per game. They come off a mid-week loss in the Canadian Championship game AND will be without their star Djordje Mihailovic, who suffered a setback, and will be seeing -120 odds. That is a price I am willing to pay against this Charlotte team that is 0-2-6 on the road.
Charlotte is a different team at home this season- they are 6-0-2 with a +6 goal differential. That differential falls to an astounding -9 on the road! Without a sea of blue in the stands this is an open-shut care for Montreal.
Key to the Match-
The key to this match is the players available for each side. While Montreal is missing their most creative player, Mihailovic, they will still have their second and third leading scorers, Quioto and Torres.
This is a different situation from Charlotte, who should be without Karol Swiderski (returning from international duty) who is responsible for 25% of Charlotte’s 16 goals this campaign, and will most likely be replaced by Danny Rios who has one goal in 854 minutes this season.
Match- Houston Dynamo host Chicago Fire
Pick- Houston Dynamo +110
This is one of the least exciting games on the slate for me, but also probably my safest bet of the week. The Chicago Fire are bad. Their 14 goals this season are lowest in Major League Soccer, and they have allowed 15 goals in 8 road games- leading to a -7 goal differential away from Soldier Field.
Houston Dynamo are a tough team to read this season, but they DO have some positives. Their two leading goal scorers- Sebastian Ferreira (6) and Darwin Quintero (5) are a great mix of youth and experience- in fact, they are 10 years apart. This team has also had some tough wins- breaking down Nashville 2-0 and Galaxy 3-0 just last month.
Houston does not have an amazing home advantage this season, but this weekend’s kickoff could have temperatures near 95 degrees at kickoff. In the heat, in Houston, and plus odds, this is a great safe pick this week.
Key to the Match-
It seems this season, with a few notable exceptions, the Western Conference standings are in order of goals scored, while the Eastern Conference standings are in the order of goals conceded.
Houston will win this game by scoring multiple times, predictably by taking long shots. Houston is 6th in the league with 18 yards per shot while also having a respectable 34.9% of shots on target. Chicago, on the other hand, is near the top of the league in average distance of shots against, at 17.5 yards.
Quintero will have a short fuse in this game, and I would bet that if he sees any open shot, he is going to take it. This also extends to forward Tyler Pasher, a bench difference maker, who could take a long chance at paydirt.
Match- Austin FC host FC Dallas
Pick- Austin FC +110
Keeping up with this week’s theme of following home/away forms, I have to take a serious look at Austin hosting Dallas in another leg of the Copa Tejas this weekend. Austin is 4-2-1 at home this season with 17 goals scored and only 5 goals against. Their home form is a huge reason why they are second in the league with 29 goals scored; 2.43 goals per game at home is tremendous.
FC Dallas also has a great offense and I expect this to be a high scoring game- they scored 13 total goals in their 3 meetings last season. FC Dallas took all three of those games, including their only game in Austin (a 5-3 win at the end of last August). This time, with a much improved team, I expect Austin to be the victor.
Key to the Match-
Earlier this week, with the help of our friends at WeAreAustinTV, we got a great nickname for the Austin FC attacking trident- the Britt Baker DMD trio (Diego, Maxi, Driussi). I expect them to give the FC Dallas backline a long afternoon.
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