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 tough sportsbook week, with our experts at i80 Sports both having up and down weeks. For me, this includes going 1-1-2 for a -2 unit sportsbook week. Here is a recap of last week's picks, for acountability.
Now let's improve upon our season total with a great week of Major League Soccer!
Match- Houston Dynamo host Austin FC
Pick- Austin FC +190
This weekend we have another leg of the Copa Tejas, where Houston Dynamo host Austin FC in the latest installment in the fight for Texas. So far, in all 3 times these teams met, each home team has won the match. That leaves us with Austin and a 2-1 lifetime lead.
We head to Houston who is fresh off a 2-1 loss to their other Copa Tejas opponent, FC Dallas. Houston is 1-2-0 at home this year following up their poor 2021 performance on 1.41 points per game at home.
Austin will have to win away games if they hope to stay in playoff contention this season, and it will have to start with their geographic rivals in Houston this week.
Key to the Match-
Austin is just a FUN team to watch this season, and I had to be honest with myself whether or not I just wanted an excuse to watch them live again this week. Their 20 goals scored is most in MLS, as is their +13 goal differential.
The key to this match is the Austin offense, and if they can continue their 2.5 goal per game pace. This offense, after suffering the loss of Cecilio Dominguez due to Cecilio’s legal troubles, came back STRONGER and I can’t say enough good things about how Diego Fagundez stepped up at left wing last week.
Match- Orlando City host Charlotte FC
Pick- Orlando -160
Orlando is a heavy favorite this weekend for their home match against Charlotte FC. While Charlotte has looked good at times, even winning 3 matches so far this season, we need to take into account their horrible home/away splits. They are averaging 2.25 points per game at home, but have only managed .2 points per game in away matches. That gives them the largest home field advantage in Major League Soccer.
Orlando has been up and down in 2022. They feature a 4-2-3 record with wins against LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire, but losses to RBNY and FC Cincinnati. This is a team that has yet to gel on a consistent basis after a year with some roster high-impact changes, especially on the attacking side of the ball.
Key to the Match-
Both southeast teams in the Orlando vs Charlotte matchup have had lackluster seasons. They both appear to be low scoring and low conceding teams. The difference here is the distribution of the scoring. While Charlotte has 8 goals this season, 4 scored by Karol Swiderski, and they only Benjamin Bender with multiple assists.
Orlando, on the other hand, have two legitimate scoring options with Ercan Kara and Alexandre Pato, with midfielders like Junior Urso and Facundo Torres aiding in the fight. Orlando is a more complete team and should win this week’s home games.
Match- Chicago host RBNY
Pick- RBNY +170
New York Red Bulls seem to be a changed team in 2022, starting 4-2-2 with a +7 goal differential in 8 matches. That is good enough for second in the east, behind the Philadelphia Union. Even better, they have won every road game this season and in fact have scored 11 of their 13 goals in opponent’s stadiums.
Chicago has had a weak start with the exception of their defense. They have scored and conceded only 5 times each. Even the addition of Kacper Przybylko has done little to spark the Chicago offense that scored only 36 goals in 34 games last season, second to last in MLS.
Key to the Match-
I could see this game benign the type where Chicago holds much of the possession, but loses by a wide margin and never gets any real chances on goal. The high press of RBNY will play energy-drink ball and press Chicago in their half and create chances off of giveaways.
One thing to scope out, on the Chicago side, is goalender Gabriel Slonina. I want to see how sure on his feet he can be when RBNY is pressing high and making Chicago play from the back. IF he can do well under pressure and shows solid footwork, that could be a big check mark (in my own journal) towards future USMNT consideration.
Match- Nashville SC host Philadelphia Union
Pick- Nashville +110
Nashville was great at home last year, averaging 2 points per match in Nashville. This weekend, they will open their new GEODIS Park and end their 8 game away streak. At 3-2-3, Nashville has had an average-at-best start to their season, however their 9 goals against sets them off on the right path SHOULD they ever begin finding the back of the net.
We all expect Nashville to bring an electric atmosphere this week, and the “12th man”advantage will be in full swing. Last year they scored 29% more goals at home, and they will need to raise that number this year with their low goal per game average this season.
A few weeks ago I mentioned how New England would need to improve on the road to stay in contention for a Supporter’s Shield. In fact, their poor road performances were one of the reasons they did not win the East last season. For the record, I think they have improved already and added some great options all over the pitch, including Mikael Uhre who seems to be settling in.
Key to the Match-
Philadelphia Union have a loss and draw in their last two games, settling into a 5-2-1 record on the season. They are obviously the cream of the East and will look to expand their 3 points lead this weekend with an elusive away win. That is a tall task for a team that averaged only 1.06 points on opponent soil last year.
This match is a 50/50 chance for me all external factors aside. With complications like a stadium opening and the party this weekend in Nashville, paired with the magic Hany Mukhtar can provide at any moment, I give the edge to the home team.
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