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2021 MLS Odds: LAFC Favored to Win MLS Cup

The new MLS schedule has been announced with the 2021 season expected to start on April 16. Will the Columbus Crew retain their title? Or will favored Los Angeles FC continue using its offensive superiority to stake a claim for the MLS Cup? We break down some of these answers for you with the latest MLS odds.

At Bovada, Los Angeles FC is the +375 betting favorite in 2021 MLS odds. Columbus Crew (+450), the Seattle Sounders (+450), Toronto FC (+550) and Philadelphia Union (+700) trail LAFC to make up the top five clubs in odds to win the MLS Cup.

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Who will win it during this extended season? Let’s take a look at the current odds. To learn more about wagering on MLS, check out our How to Bet on MLS article.

Who Will Win the 2021 MLS Cup?

Odds to win the 2021 MLS Cup
Los Angeles FC+375
Columbus Crew+450
Seattle Sounders+450
Toronto FC+550
Philadelphia Union+700
New York City FC+800
Orlando City+1100
New England Revolution+1400
Portland Timbers+1600
FC Dallas+1800
New York Red Bulls+2000
Sporting Kansas City+2000
Atlanta United+2200
Inter Miami+2200
Minnesota United+2500
Chicago Fire+2800
Los Angeles Galaxy+2800
Nashville SC+3300
Austin FC+5000
Colorado Rapids+5000
FC Cincinnati+5000
Montreal Impact+5000
Real Salt Lake+6600
Vancouver Whitecaps+6600
Houston Dynamo+8000
San Jose Earthquakes+10000
DC United+12500

Odds as of March 25 at Bovada

MLS Format For 2021 Season

All 27 MLS clubs will play 34 regular-season matches, 17 at home and 17 on the road. The top seven teams from each conference will qualify for the playoffs, scheduled to begin on November 19. The MLS Cup will be played on December 11.

The three Canadian teams – the Vancouver Whitecaps, CF Montreal and Toronto FC – will have to play all their games in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic, until their return is permitted.

The MLS also has three new stadiums for this season, including home bases for FC Cincinnati and the defending champion Columbus Crew.

Who are the Favorites to Win MLS 2021?

Without trying to make this overly simplistic, the three teams on top of the odds table are the undeniable favorites to win the MLS Cup.

Los Angeles FC (+375) will look to its offensive depth in order to cut through to the MLS Cup playoffs in November. They scored the most goals in a shortened 2020 season, netting 47 in 22 regular-season games for an average of over two goals per game. They took 358 shots in that campaign; only New York City FC came close to their shots attempted with 356 in one additional game.

Teams will score plenty against Los Angeles FC, but it will be a hard task to maintain defensive solidity against them too. LAFC’s implied probability to win is 21 percent.

Can Columbus Crew Clinch Another MLS Cup?

The Columbus Crew (+450) are the reigning champions after winning the MLS Cup in 2020 by beating the Seattle Sounders 3-0 in the final. Here’s an impressive stat: Columbus didn’t concede a goal in its final three games. That’s also an indicator of how they prefer to play their soccer: slow, methodical and concerted.

Gyasi Zardes is coming off a fantastic 2020 season in which he scored 12 goals. He preceded that campaign with a combined 32 goals in two seasons after his trade from LA Galaxy. The mood in the camp is fresh too as pointed out by winger Pedro Santos ahead of the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League.

“I will do everything to be the first MLS team to win this competition and make history with Columbus,” Santos told media on a virtual press conference. “We have that mentality.”

Can Seattle Sounders Return to the Top?

The Seattle Sounders (+450) will have mixed emotions after losing the MLS Cup last year, but they had a solid postseason run in the Western Conference. They will look to their offense to carry them through tricky games similar to last year. Seattle scored 44 goals at an average of two goals per game in the 2020 regular season.

The implied probability of winning for both Seattle and Columbus is at 18 percent.

Who Will Make the MLS Cup Playoffs?

Seven teams will make the MLS Cup playoffs from the Eastern Conference out of a total of 14 teams. There is nothing certain about betting, but it’s highly implausible that the Columbus Crew will not finish in the top three. Philadelphia Union (+700) and Toronto FC (+550) should also vie for the top three spots in the Eastern Conference. There is one more team in the East than in the West, which could tighten up the group toward the end of October.

There is only slightly more breathing room in the West because seven out of 13 teams will make the MLS Cup playoffs. The two Los Angeles teams will likely qualify along with Seattle. Don’t discount the Portland Timbers (+1600) and FC Dallas (+1800) as high-risk, high-reward picks to make the top seven.

Left-Field Picks for the MLS Cup

Remember Leicester City’s miraculous 2015-16 run in the English Premier League? It’s unlikely but possible in any sporting event. To win the MLS Cup is harder than making the playoffs because it requires a sustained run over a much longer period to move the needle, in terms of betting odds.

Two teams come to mind, if you’re looking for a punt pick. First is the Portland Timbers, who are currently at +1600. They scored 46 goals in the 2020 regular season at an average of two a game. Diego Valeri and Jeremy Ebobisse scored eight goals each, while Felipe Mora and Jaroslaw Niezgoda chipped in with seven goals apiece.

There is renewed depth and quality in that roster, which will at least force the better teams to play at their best. From there, it might come down to one late challenge or a deflected shot. That’s how bare the margins are likely to be toward the closing stages of the regular season.

The second team is Orlando City FC, now at +1100. They don’t move the ball as quickly in the middle third as some of the other teams in the MLS but that’s not a bad sign because they can be hard to break down defensively.

The odds and preferred favorites are likely to change as the season comes closer to its mid-April start, especially with injuries and the impact of the coronavirus in the U.S. We’ll be back here to update these pages in order to help you with your latest betting picks in a couple of weeks.