We see the beginnings of a substantial upper echelon and lower echelon split happening in the MLS that should materialize fully by the end of May. In this week’s roundup of MLS best bets, we examine three teams that are likely to be in the upper echelon when that split happens.
Along with the MLS best bets below, see our MLS computer picks page for even more MLS matchday predictions.
MLS Cup Best Bets Pick 1:
Win/Draw/Win & Total Goals 2.5: New York City & OVER (-125)
The Game: New York City FC vs San Jose Earthquakes, May 1
New York City FC has never lost to the San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS and has four wins from the five times they’ve played the Earthquakes. As defending champions, they were expected to be a lot closer to the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings than the 16th place that they currently find themselves in.
That thought seems to have infiltrated the team over the last few weeks, when they have been the most barnstorming, explosive side in the league. Their goals scored tally in the league stands at 16 from eight games at the moment – and 11 of them have come in the last two matches.
It was Real Salt Lake, one of the better defenses in the league at the time, who first copped the New York City FC juggernaut with a humiliating 6-0 loss two weeks ago. Following that, NYCFC hosted Toronto FC, who took a 2-0 lead within 27 minutes. The pushback was tremendous from the home side, and they ended up scoring five goals.
However, they also conceded two more and had a man sent off during a chaotic end to the game. This is the reason we think there will be more than 2.5 goals in this fixture – they are, at the moment, capable of pyrotechnics at both ends of the pitch.
MLS Cup Best Bets Pick #2
Draw No Bet: Philadelphia Union (+125)
The Game: Nashville SC vs Philadelphia Union, May 1
There are several rewarding bets available in this game, where we think the bookmakers might be slightly overrating Nashville’s abilities. According to the books at Betway, the home team is a massive favorite to win this game, with the Union given a +225 rating on the moneyline as opposed to Nashville’s +130 rating.
Based on the table alone, the Union are a much better squad at the moment – they sit in third place, having conceded only five goals in eight games, which is tied for the lowest across both conferences. Nashville is in 12th place with a 3-3-2 win-loss-draw record this season, making them one of the more inconsistent teams in the league.
Overall, these teams have met twice and won once each. And the Union aren’t in great form lately, having dropped points in both of their last two games. We don’t think that is a factor big enough for their moneyline odds to be as long as they are right now. At worst, this fixture could end all square for them.
MLS Cup Best Bets Pick #3
Win/Draw/Win & Total Goals 2.5: Los Angeles FC & OVER (+110)
The Game: Los Angeles FC vs Minnesota United, May 1
On the face of it, Minnesota United is a bit of a bogey team for Los Angeles FC. Since LAFC beat them the first time the teams ever met, they haven’t been able to get a single win from the next five meetings.
Their last three meetings have all been draws. Given this background, and the fact that LAFC could be missing at least four players through injury for this fixture, Minnesota could feel like there is potential to pick up points here.
But, more in the present, LAFC has been nearly perfect this season so far and already holds a small lead at the top of the points table. They have 19 from eight games and have lost only one game all season, in the derby against LA Galaxy.
They’ve scored 15 goals in their last five games, haven’t lost in their last eight competitive fixtures at home – the last loss came in September last year – and are not an easy team to get a point against. We think the pattern of draws between these teams will finally break this weekend, in a potentially high-scoring fixture.
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