The action unfolds on Saturday, December 11 between Portland and New York City FC. The start time is 3 pm EST and the live broadcast is on the ABC channel for those inside the United States. All the major MLS betting sites have odds up for it already, which we'll get to soon.
MLS Cup Preview
Only a few weeks ago, few could've imagined we'd be writing an MLS Cup preview between NYCFC and the Timber. Neither were favorites to win it all among the top online sportsbooks when the playoffs started in November. But make no mistake about it, both teams earned this spot coming out of their respective conference's fourth seed.
With the better regular-season record, Portland will have home-field advantage. The Timbers won all three of its playoff games in convincing fashion — first by a 3-1 score, followed by a 1-0 blanking, and then another 2-0 shutout. This marks the third MLS Cup in seven years for the franchise, but the first of which that'll be at home.
NYCFC, on the other hand, finally got the "monkey off its back." While success for the franchise was normal in the regular season, it never translated into the postseason as NYCFC failed to get past the quarterfinals each time — until this year. They needed two stunning wins to do that, first in penalties kicks versus New England then in a 2-1 comeback versus Philadelphia.
MLS Cup Moneyline Betting Pick
We're honestly surprised the home team Timbers are the betting underdogs. But hey, that just means our MLS Cup moneyline betting pick comes at a much better value.
Here's why we think Portland has the advantage over NYCFC: its style of play has proven to be a winner in this league. Timber deploys a defensive-first approach and cause of that, is absolutely deadly on the counter-attack. It's been that way since manager Giovanni Savarese's first season at the helm in 2018. Since then, Portland has finished runner-up and won the MLS is Back tournament last season.
Helping the Timbers matters is the likely return of Sebastian Blanco. The creative midfielder missed the last game with a hamstring injury. With him back in the lineup, Portland will have one of its best players who plays a pivotal role in its counter-attack.
And did we mention the Timbers will be playing in the friendly confines of Providence Park? Well, it makes a massive difference. Portland is 13-4-2 at home this season — the best in the entire league. Not only is that city soccer-crazed, but home teams have had a significant advantage in the MLS Cup in recent memory. In eight of the last 10 championship finals, the home team has prevailed.
Again, we don't understand how on Earth the Timbers are NOT favorites in this one. Regardless, we're hammering that moneyline to the bank (hopefully)!
MLS Cup Over/Under Betting Pick
|Over 2.5 goals||-105||-105|
|Under 2.5 goals||-115||-115|
Per usual with soccer matches, oddsmakers have set the MLS over/under at 2.5 goals. Our money is going on the over.
While the Timber defense is very good as of late, it's sure not goal-proof. Nor do expect it to be against NYCFC, who tallied the fourth-most goals this season. Behind many of those scores was Taty Castellanos. He won the league's Golden Boot award with 19 goals. He was suspended for the Eastern Conference Finals but will be back in the mix here.
Though, we do expect NYFC's potent attack to also be its downfall. Their attack-minded offense is susceptible to counters, which as we said before, is Portland's bread-and-butter. Our final game prediction is the Timbers win 2-1, which means take the over.
How To Bet On MLS Cup?
This is your last chance to bet on MLS until February of next year. To lock in your MLS bets, then visit one of the sportsbooks listed underneath. These bookmakers have you covered on the moneyline, over/under, and even prop bets. You'll be hard-pressed to find better betting prices than the ones offered by these sites, too.
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