Weekly Betting Guide: MLS Kicks Off This Week
As people continue to wear masks while everyone gets vaccinated as soon as they are able to and that will allow our “new normal” to start to merge with our “old normal” as we continue to approach the finish line and hopefully will be crossing it at some point this summer.
One of the places that the “new normal” is merging with the “old normal” the quickest right now is sports and that is a nice thing to see, especially for us sports bettors. With the Premier League, Bundesliga and other top global leagues entering their final couple months and MLS, as well as USL, getting ready to kick things off in the United States it is a great time for soccer fans and bettors alike.
That’s why starting this week I am going to put together a guide for the upcoming week through the next Monday about which games will be good to take a look at when placing bets and which games to just avoid and just watch as a fan of the game.
To get things started, let’s take a look at MLS Opening Week as games get started on Friday:
Friday April 16, 2021
San Jose Earthquakes @ Houston Dynamos (8 pm on ESPN+)
One thing I learned last year while watching MLS is that these two teams were the hardest to bet for, against and over/under total goals. The first game of the season is one that I would avoid and just watch to see what these teams look like at the start of the 2021 season. If you are feeling a little risky this week, the Dynamo are -125, Earthquakes are +270 and a Draw is +280.
Minnesota United @ Seattle Sounders (9:30 pm on FS1)
Betting the Minnesota United last year was very successful especially with the over/under for total goals and Seattle loves to score as well. Robin Lod and Emanuel Reynoso (Minnesota) and Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle) are a couple of the players to watch as they can all generate plenty of Grade A scoring chances for their respective teams. In this match, Seattle is -135 and Minnesota is +300. Although, my pick for this match is Over 2.5 Total Goals (-156).
Saturday April 17, 2021
Toronto FC @ Montreal Impact (2 pm on ESPN+)
Montreal was a sneaky good team during the pandemic shortened 2020 season and a team that looked like they could be dangerous in the coming years, but with Thierry Henry’s resignation prior to this season I think this was a step backward for the Impact. Toronto is one of those teams that you expect to start taking a downturn one of these years and start to rebuild, but they are usually right there in the thick of things throughout the regular season. With Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Alejandro Pozuelo leading the way I like Toronto FC to open up the season with a victory. In this match, Toronto is -110, Montreal is +240 and a Draw is +250. My pick for this match is Toronto -110.
Atlanta United @ Orlando City SC (3 pm on UniMas, TUDN & Twitter)
You try not to read much into last season because it was a bizarre one with it starting, stopping for a few months and then restarting the season with the MLS is Back Tournament, but one thing was clear Atlanta looked like they were starting to take a step back and Orlando looked to finally have the ship pointed in the right direction and it all starts at goaltender. Pedro Gallese for Orlando and Brad Guzan for Atlanta is where it all starts and I think that is all you need to know heading into the season. Guzan was always a sneaky good goaltender throughout his career, but it looks like his career may be coming to a close soon because he was letting in goals last year that he didn’t let in throughout his career. In this match, Orlando City is -105, Atlanta United is +250 and a Draw is +240. My pick for this match is Over 2.5 Total Goals (-120).
Austin FC @ Los Angeles FC (6 pm on FOX)
We have reached another I’m just going to sit this one out game and watch to see what each team looks like. On paper, LAFC should win this game in dominant fashion at home against an expansion team in Austin FC. If you are feeling a little risky this week you may want to take a look at taking the Draw (+320) just because we have seen strange things happen before. But, my official pick for this match is just sit this one out and watch the game as a fan of soccer.
New York City @ DC United (8 pm on ESPN+)
NYCFC has been one of the most inconsistent teams in MLS recently and DC United is kind of in a retooling mode. Again, I am taking the sit this one out and watching the game as a fan of soccer approach with this one to wait and see what each of these teams look like early in the season. In this match if you are feeling risky, DC United is +300, New York City is -125 and Draw is +260.
Colorado @ FC Dallas (8 pm on ESPN+)
FC Dallas and Colorado are two teams that are frustrating to bet for or against because they are just too inconsistent. My early feel about these teams this year is that they are both in a kind of retooling mode and pretty evenly matched. In this match, FC Dallas is +100, Colorado is +230 and a Draw is +250. My pick in this match is take the Draw at +250.
Kansas City @ New York Red Bulls (8 pm on ESPN+)
Another one of those games, take the game off and wait and see what they look like early on this season. If you are feeling risky, New York Red Bulls are +130, Kansas City is +175 and a Draw is +250.
New England @ Chicago Fire (8:30 pm on ESPN+)
New England was one of those sneaky teams in the 2020 pandemic season, but will it carry over to a full season, I’m not so sure about that. Chicago is one of those teams that is just kind of blah. So, I’m officially sitting out of this one until we get a better feel of what either of these teams are this season. If you are feeling risky, Chicago is +150, New England is +150 and a Draw is +230.
FC Cincinnati @ Nashville SC (8:30 pm on ESPN+)
FC Cincinnati has never seemed to find any consistency in the teams first couple years in MLS and Nashville had some success late last season. Nashville finished last season with a couple big victories to carry some confidence into this season and with a year under their belt in MLS, opening the 2021 season at home and a new contract for their head coach I really look forward to watching what Nashville looks like this season. In this match, Nashville SC is -140, FC Cincinnati is +350 and a Draw is +260. My pick for this match is Nashville SC at -140.
Sunday April 18, 2021
LA Galaxy @ Inter Miami CF (3 pm on ABC)
Everything in this match tells you to take the LA Galaxy because it’s the Galaxy and Miami was just a team that was kind of there last season. But, this may surprise some people, but I’m leaning toward taking Miami in this game. Rodolfo Pizarro frustrates you if you’re a fan of the team that’s playing Miami, but that’s why I think he’s set up to have a successful season in MLS. The LA Galaxy haven’t been anything to write home about recently and Miami is opening the season at home. In this match, Inter Miami CF is -120, LA Galaxy is +280 and a Draw is +260. My pick for this match is Inter Miami CF at -120 and Over 1.5 Total Goals at -550.
Philadelphia @ Columbus (5:30 pm on FS1)
This is my lock of the week and to put it simply Columbus is the defending MLS Cup Champions, Philadelphia is in a kind of rebuilding mode and there is a lot of excitement surrounding the Crew on and off the field. In this match, Columbus is -120, Philadelphia is +280 and a Draw is +250. My pick for this match is Columbus at -120.
Portland Timbers @ Vancouver Whitecaps (10 pm on ESPN+)
You would think I would really like Portland in this one, but Vancouver has been a team in recent years that likes to play spoiler every now and then. This is why this is another take a step back and watch as a soccer fan match. I don’t have a feel for either of these teams yet. If you are feeling risky, Vancouver is +340, Portland is -150 and a Draw is +290.
Up next, I would normally take a look at the USL Championship games on this weekly post as well, but no USL games yet as the season opens up on Saturday April 24, 2021.
So, this week we move onto the upcoming Premier League games this week as the Premier League enters the final, little more than a month of the season.
Friday April 16, 2021
Tottenham @ Everton (3 pm)
Everton looked like they were going to be in contention for a Top 4 finish a few weeks ago, but have hit hard times recently and just need to find a win. Tottemham is two points ahead of Everton in the table which makes this a big match for both teams if they want to have any shot to get back into Top 4 contention. I think playing this match at Goodison Park will give Everton the edge in this one, but goals will be scored as well. In this match, Everton is +230, Tottenham is +120 and a Draw is +240. My pick in this match is Everton at +230 and Over 1.5 Goals at -340.
Saturday April 17, 2021
West Ham @ Newcastle (7:30 am)
This is another big match for both teams as West Ham looks to remain in the Top 4 and Newcastle looks to remain out of the bottom four and avoid relegation. West Ham is 3-1-1 in their last five and Newcastle is 1-1-3. West Ham has a +12 goal differential on the season and Newcastle has a -19 goal differential. West Ham has been a surprise team this season, but I’m starting to buy in to what they are doing which is why I’m making this my Premier League Lock of the Week. In this match, Newcastle is +280, West Ham is -105 and a Draw is +240. My pick is West Ham at -105.
Sheffield United @ Wolves (3:15 pm)
It looks like Sheffield United is on it’s way to being relegated as they sit at the bottom of the Premier League standings and the Wolves are hanging out in the middle not really at risk of being relegated, but not going to get back into the Top 4 race. In this match, Wolves are -170, Sheffield United is +500 and a Draw is +290. My pick in this match is Wolves at -170.
Sunday April 18, 2021
Fulham @ Arsenal (8:30 am)
Fulham is looking to get out of the relegation zone and Arsenal is just hanging out in the middle of the standings with the Wolves. These two teams are frustrating to bet for or against and why I’m going to take the sit this one out approach and just watch the game as a soccer fan. If you are feeling risky, Arsenal is -145, Fulham is +420 and a Draw is +270.
Burnley @ Manchester United (11 am)
Manchester United is sitting in 2nd place behind Manchester City and it looks like 2nd may be the best they can finish this year and Burnley is looking to avoid dropping into the relegation zone. This week is not going to be a good week for Burnley fans as dropping into relegation will inch a little closer. In this match, Manchester United is -320, Burnley is +900 and a Draw is +430. My pick is Manchester United at -320.
Monday April 19, 2021
Liverpool @ Leeds (3 pm)
Liverpool for the previous couple seasons seemed to be a virtual lock, but over the past couple months they have looked like any team can beat them. Leeds is hanging out in 10th place, a few spots behind Liverpool, and I can make a case that they can beat them or at least come out with a Draw especially playing at home. But, I have made a point to not bet for or against Liverpool the past couple months and that will continue as I’m not going to touch this game. If you are feeling risky, Leeds is +390, Liverpool is -160 and a Draw is +340.
For this week, I am going to stick to looking at MLS, USL and the Premier League, but I will from time to time look at matches from the Bundesliga, La Liga and other top soccer leagues from across the country. If there is a league that you want me to take a look at or a match that you have a question about you can tweet me @MattyIcePGH on T
I will always finish up this guide with my Parlay Pick of the Week:
Minnesota-Seattle (Over 2.5 Total Goals) + Toronto FC (-110) + Nashville SC (-140) + Columbus (-120) + West Ham (-105)
Here’s to a fun Summer and Fall of Soccer and Happy Betting!