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Major League Soccer Betting Guide for the 2019 Season
The MLS turns 24 years old during the 2019 season — and the league has never been stronger and more competitive. Before the season gets underway on March 2, check out our betting preview! We’re picking the teams most likely to hoist the MLS Cup at season’s end!
Not unlike other American sports leagues, the MLS hierarchy is crowded by big-market teams. Just look at who BetOnline is pegging with the best odds to win the 2019 MLS Cup:
- New York Red Bulls (+500)
- Atlanta United FC (+600)
- LA Galaxy (+600)
- New York City FC (+900)
- Los Angeles FC (+1000)
- Seattle Sounders +1000
- 7. Portland Timbers +1200
- 8. Toronto FC +1400
- 8. Sporting Kansas City +1400
- 10. DC United +1600
- 11. FC Dallas +2000
- 11. Philadelphia Union +2000
- 13. Columbus Crew +3000
- 14. Real Salt Lake +4000
- 15. Chicago Fire +5000
- 15. Montreal Impact +5000
- 17. Houston Dynamo +6000
- 18. FC Cincinnati +6600
- 19. New England Revolution +8000
- 19. Vancouver Whitecaps +8000
- 21. Colorad Rapids +10000
- 21. Minnesota United +10000
- 21. Orlando City +10000
- 21. San Jose Earthquakes +10000
The 2019 Season
The MLS schedule officially kicks off on Saturday, March 2. From there, it's an eight-month-long dogfight to earn playoff positioning. Only the league's top 14 teams (seven from each conference) earn a bid into the postseason, which starts on October 19. The winner-take-all MLS Cup final is slotted for November 10.
2019 will also mark FC Cincinnati's inaugural season. A sign of the MLS' continued growth stateside, Cincy is the league's fourth expansion team in the past three years — with three more (Miami, Nashville, Austin) confirmed over the following two seasons.
MLS Future Bets 2019
Is finishing atop the MLS standings during the regular season a curse? It's starting to feel like it is. Of the last seven teams to win the Supporters' Shield — the award given to the team with the best record — only one (Toronto in 2017) went on to win the MLS Cup. Even more startling, the six other teams didn't even qualify for the final championship game.
This is a worrisome trend you want to keep top of mind in case you're holding off on putting down a futures bet because evidently, regular season success doesn't necessarily translate into the postseason. With that said, you're better off laying a wager now when odds are high across the board. Futures are a crapshoot no matter when you bet them but you might as well improve your possible payout.
In MLS history, only three clubs have gone back-to-back — DC United (96-97), Houston Dynamo (06-07) and LA Galaxy (11-12). As you can tell, it's no easy task, but Atlanta's roster is loaded top to bottom.
A new face this season will be Pity Martinez, who United used as their third and final designated player. The attacking midfielder was named the 2018 Rey del Futbol de America recipient, given annually to the best South American footballer. Considering players like Neymar and Ronaldinho have won the award before, that should tell you the caliber of Martinez (United and MLS top goal-scorer Josef Martinez finished four on the same award ballot, too).
Then again, it's addition by subtraction for Atlanta considering the previous holder of the designated player tag was Miguel Almiron. The midfielder is off to Newcastle United for an MLS-record transfer fee of $27 million.
Gone also is manager Tata Martino. The MLS Coach of the Year took reigns of the Mexican national team. His replacement in Atlanta will be Frank de Boer. Your opinion on him is really what should determine if United is worth a futures bet here.
On one hand, De Boer has a bevy of experience — both playing and coaching. He was a consistent starter on powerhouse teams like Ajax, Barcelona, and the Dutch national team. As a manager, he compiled a 158-58-47 mark with Ajax.
Then again, De Boer has also flamed out of two coaching positions in spectacular fashion since his Ajax success. At Inter Milan, he was sacked 85 days into his tenure. De Boer followed that by lasting five games as manager of Crystal Palace — the shortest reign in all of English Premier League history.
Our advice is to lay some money on Atlanta, but not all of it. The Martinez duo of Yosef and Pity should be lethal on the attack, but we're not 100 percent sold on De Bour yet.
Los Angeles FC
Last season saw Atlanta win the MLS Cup in the franchise's second year, could it be deja vu in 2019, only with LAFC this time around?
Year one certainly layed a blueprint to build on for Los Angeles. In its inaugural campaign, the club tallied a whopping 68 goals — two shy of Atlanta for league leader and an MLS record for an expansion team (breaking the mark United set the year before).
LAFC are led by Carlos Vela, who might be the best player in all of the MLS. The Mexican footballer shined in 2018, both for LAFC and his national side at the World Cup. Vela was linked to a possible move back to La Liga, this time for Barcelona, but as of now, he's still the face of LAFC. Formerly at Real Sociedad, Vela twice won Player of Year honors for the club, so he's definitely La Liga-worthy.
We know Los Angeles can score in bunches, but it's back line might be the key to sparking a championship run in 2019. It was a pressing issue all of last season as LAFC conceded 52 goals. However, the front office addressed the situation during the offseason by adding two players — Mohamed El-Munir and Eddie Segura on transfer from Atletico Hulia in Columbia.
As long as Vela stays in the mix (which seems like will be the case), LAFC is a smart bet, especially at +1000 value.
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