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Betting on Major League Soccer

MLS is North America’s version of the English Premier League, minus the relegation and promotion structure. Top-tier teams from the United States and Canada compete for the MLS Cup, the pinnacle achievement for North American soccer clubs. Here, you’ll find everything related to MLS betting -- from soccer matchup odds to regular updates on the MLS standings, Odds Shark's updates are bound to give you an edge on your picks.

Learn How to Bet on the MLS

Before you start betting on the MLS, you’ll need to get a basic understanding of the league itself and how it operates. Headquartered in New York, the MLS officially started play in 1996. We’ve put together some basic information so you understand how the game is played and what to look out for when making your bets.

FYI, in Europe, they call soccer football. Here at Odds Shark, we refer to the sport as soccer to differentiate it from the NFL or college football. However, at some sportsbooks, they'll use football for MLS-related odds and betting lines.

MLS Soccer Terms & Rules
  • Match: You’ll see match or matchup at betting sites to refer to games. Each game consists of two 45-minute halves with a 15-minute break between them.
  • Club: This is another word for team. Some squads have FC in their name like Toronto FC. This stands for football club. Some names have SC in them for soccer club, like Orlando SC. You’ll also see MLS names with Real or United in them. This is a nod to powerful international brands like Real Madrid or Manchester United. There are 24 clubs, split evenly between the Eastern and Western Conferences.
  • Rosters: Each team is permitted to house up to 28 players on its roster with all eligible for selection to the 18-player game-day squad during the regular season and playoffs.
  • Pitch: The field the matches are played on. Some clubs share a space with other sporting leagues like MLB and NFL. For instance, New York City FC plays at Yankee Stadium, the home of the … Yankees. Chicago Fire SC plays at Soldier Field, the same place as the Bears.
  • Rules: MLS adheres to the rules and standards set by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
  • Draw: This means tie. Unlike other sports, soccer games can end in a draw.
  • Nil: If a club doesn’t get any goals, their score will be recorded as zero (0).
  • Game Play: From March to October, teams from the Western and Eastern Conferences play 34 games. Currently there are 24 teams, with each playing two home and away games against teams in its own conference and one against each team from the opposing conference. There is an all-star game midway through the regular season. The team with the highest point total at the end of the season is awarded the Supporters’ Shield and gets home-field advantage through the duration of the playoffs.
  • Postseason: MLS uses a knockout tournament with 14 teams participating in the MLS Cup Playoffs. In addition, five teams (four from the U.S. and one from Canada) play in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Champions League against other clubs from CONCACAF.

How to Read MLS Odds

When you check out a soccer betting site, you’ll see odds listed like this:

  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC -125
  • Seattle Sounders FC +230

The team with the minus sign (-) beside their odds is the favorite. The other squad with the plus sign (+) is the underdog. This is universal across all sportsbooks. The odds here as displayed in American style. You can also choose to see odds as Fractional (1/5) or Decimal (1.20). Bettors in the U.K. are more inclined to use Decimal odds, whereas North Americans will generally use American odds.

Betting on Soccer

Now that you can read betting odds, let’s look at the types of bets you can make on soccer.

Moneyline: Picking a Club to Win

This is a very common bet that requires you to simply pick a winner straight up. If you were to make a moneyline wager on Philadelphia Union (-200) vs Atlanta United FC (+280), you would select the squad you think is going to win the matchup.

If you were to put $50 on Atlanta, you’d get a payout of $190 – you get your $50 back along with your winnings of $140. That same $50 on Philly gets you $75 – your original money is returned with your winnings of $25. Bets on 'dogs are riskier, which is why they pay more. Because there is less risk associated with the fave, you won’t make as much.

Our Odds Calculator will show you how much you’d win based on the odds and amount bet.

Point Spread: Covering the Line

Another soccer betting option is the point spread. For this bet, oddsmakers give the underdog an advantage before the game begins. Conversely, the favorite is put at a disadvantage. Unlike the NFL or NBA where spreads are high, soccer spreads are typically small.

  • Montreal Impact -1.5
  • New England Revolution +1.5

In this scenario, Montreal would need to win by two or more goals to cover the spread. For NE to cover, they would have to win the game outright or lose by no more than one goal.

Totals: Combined Number of Goals

Often referred to as OVER/UNDER betting, this is a wager in which you’d need to determine if the total number of goals scored by both clubs is more or less than the oddsmaker’s set number. Generally, the average total in soccer is 2.0 goals.

If you think the pooled score for both teams is going to be more than 2, you would take the OVER. If think it’ll be less than 2, you would take the UNDER.

Futures: Projecting Championship Wins

As with any other sport, a futures bet for soccer is a wager you can make on an event that will take place months in advance. You could bet on a team’s chances of winning the MLS Cup in April before the season starts. When oddsmakers set the odds, they look at past-season performance and off-season moves. It’s important to keep in mind that the odds will change as the season progresses, games unfurl, trades happen and players succumb to injuries.

Props: Player and Club Milestones

Prop bets are wagers based on the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain milestones that may not correlate to the outcome of a particular game. You could bet on how many yellow cards a team will get, which squad will score first, or how many goals a club will score in the second half of the matchup.

Asian Handicapping: Advanced Betting

The Asian Handicap is a bet where the oddsmaker creates a sort of spread with a little extra padding for bettors. Instead of 0.5, you would see 0.25, 0.75 and 1.0. This reduces your risk on any bet since you could still win if the game ends in a draw.

Where to Bet on Soccer Matches

We’ve created a list of the best soccer betting sites -- these sites are secure, safe and trustworthy. Each gives bettors action on everything from individual player props to live odds. Choose an online sportsbook that we recommend and you’re ready to go. See below for our full list of expert picks and predictions for each league around the world!

Champions League Hub

English Premier League Hub

Italian Serie A Hub

La Liga Hub

Euro 2020 Hub

Copa America Hub

Free Bundesliga Computer Picks

Free Italian Serie A Computer Picks

Free English Premier League Computer Picks

Free La Liga Computer Picks

Free Champions League Computer Picks

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