Major League Soccer Playoff Betting Picks
The chase for the elusive MLS Cup begins on Wednesday and Thursday with four do-or-die knockout games. We preview each game and offer our betting advice — not only for the opening matchups, but the rest of the MLS playoffs, too. Don’t make a wager until you read this postseason betting guide!
Let’s start high level here with a look at the entire MLS playoff betting picture. Here’s who Bovada is pegging to win the MLS Cup title:
- Atlanta United (+300)
- New York Red Bulls (+300)
- Los Angeles FC (+1000)
- New York City FC (+1000)
- Sporting Kansas City (+1000)
Before we offer our best-value pick for the championship, lets start with Wednesday and Thursday’s single-elimination games. A win here earns a spot in the conference semifinals against the one and two seeds with first-round byes.
Philadelphia Union (+310) at New York City FC (-130)
Here’s a head-scratcher, NYCFC has the third-best odds to win the whole thing, but are barely favorites in their playoff opener. Even more stunning, FC just beat Union on Sunday 3-1 in the Bronx to set up this match. So what gives with the measly -130 line?
We have no clue, but New York should cruise to victory. Its three designated players — Jesus Medina (Paraguay), Maxi Moralez (Argentina), and David Villa (Spain) — have speed and big-game experience that can’t be matched by Philadelphia.
Take advantage of that small line and go big on NYCFC.
Pick: NYFC (-130)
Columbus Crew (+220) at DC United (+110)
If there’s one first-round game that’s a toss-up, it’s this one. Both teams have plus-money odds and played to a 0-0 draw in their only regular season meeting in September.
Betting a regulation draw (+220) is appealing, but we’re giving United the edge due to the “Rooney effect.” Since Wayne Rooney’s debut in July, he’s breathed new life into this team. That same energy will catapult them to victory at home.
Pick: DC United (+110)
Real Salt Lake (+430) at LAFC (-200)
It’s almost a miracle Salt Lake even secured the sixth and final playoff spot out West. They were trashed 3-0 by Portland then needed Houston to overcome a two-goal deficit over the LA Galaxy (which they did) to lock up the spot. Nice fairy tale, but the clock will strike midnight on Thursday. Los Angeles is simply the better team — and it’s not even close.
Pick: LAFC (-200)
See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:
Portland Timbers (+335) at FC Dallas (-145)
One game has to go into extra time, right? If so, odds are it’s this one. Both teams played to a draw in a pair of regular season meetings. The two are also coming off Decision Day defeats, so momentum isn’t high on either side. Penalty kicks might end up deciding this one.
Pick: Draw (+275)
MLS Cup Winner
We can’t help but sense the eventual winner will come out of the Eastern Conference. Atlanta and NY Red Bulls are on a collision course with one another, while NYCFC lingers as a potential threat. However, we’re siding with the Red Bulls just ever slightly.
They’ve proved their worth in matchups against Atlanta (two wins by a combined 5-1 score) and cross-town rival NYCFC (outscoring them 9-2 in four meetings). With dynamic talents like Bradley Wright Phillips and Alejandro “Kaku” Romero, the Red Bulls can seemingly make plays at will.
New York already took home the coveted Supporters’ Shield. They’ll add more hardware with the MLS Cup come December.
Pick: NY Red Bulls (+300)
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