Our top 3 bets, featuring Seattle vs. LA Galaxy (March 12)
As Major League Soccer enters week three of the season, we’re starting to get a sense of who the teams are and how they may or may not differ from the 2021 versions of themselves.
Our three best bets for Saturday’s slate are variations on this theme. The first two attempt to exploit opportunities where early season form may not match underlying metrics or other intrinsics we know about teams. The third relies on trends to continue until a pair of teams prove us otherwise.
And the latest games are also quite aggressive. Hit just one of the three bets and you’ll be the day’s winner.
Without further ado, here are our best Saturday bets, starting with a nationally televised contest in Seattle.
Saturday’s Best MLS Bets
Seattle vs. LA Galaxy Odds
|LA Galaxy Odds||+220|
|More less||2.5 (+110 / -134)|
|day | Time||saturday | 3:30 p.m. ET|
|How to watch||FOX | fuboTV|
|Odds updated via FanDuel. Keep up to date football odds here.|
Much is written about how MLS teams often see their league form suffer when they also participate in the CONCACAF Champions League.
That – plus Raul Ruidiaz’s continued absence through injury and Los Angeles’ impressive early start – likely explains why the line has shifted slightly in the visitor’s direction since it opened.
However, a closer look shows that teams like the Sounders – who opened their CCL quarter-final with a 3-0 win over Club Leon on Tuesday – have historically performed well there.
Since the start of the current Champions League format in 2018, MLS teams are 3-3-2 (WLD) in league matches played between the two legs of a CONCACAF quarter-final. They are 3-1-1 in this position at home.
The Sounders have arguably one of the deepest rosters in league history and have been a streak team (in a good way) during manager Brian Schmetzer’s tenure. So it’s not hard to imagine Leon’s victory continuing here after two scoreless defeats in the league opener.
The Galaxy looked much improved defensively under Greg Vanney in his second season. However, their clean sheets came against a New York City FC side who had yet to return home from pre-season and an expansion Charlotte FC side learning life in MLS.
Thus, a regression to last season’s form is possible for both. And the Sounders stacked it at home at times last season, while the Galaxy sometimes blew big holes on the road.
Specifically, the Sounders have won six of 18 MLS home games by multiple goals since the start of 2021. The Galaxy have lost six of 18 away games by two or more goals.
That’s a 33.3% success rate, so I’m playing Seattle with a minus-1 handicap bet at odds of +350, which has an implied probability of 22.2%.
Quillen’s Choice: Seattle -1 via Three-Way Handicap (+350)
DC United vs. Chicago Odds
|DC United Odds||+105|
|More less||2.5 (-130 / -110)|
|day | Time||saturday | 7:30 p.m. ET|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
|Odds are updated via BetMGM. Keep up to date football odds here.|
DC United are perfect for two weeks of the season, while Chicago – despite two draws – are still looking for their first goal under new manager Ezra Hendrickson.
Despite this, the Fire are a very attractive underdog.
While United have four goals, two have come from the penalty spot, including a very lucky stoppage time winner in Cincinnati. The others involved happy diversions.
By waiving penalties, DC created fewer xGs than those two foes, clearly struggling to make up for the departure of Kevin Paredes, Paul Arriola, and the injured Russell Canouse. This against opponents – Charlotte and Cincinnati – considered the two worst teams by FiveThirtyEight in the entire league.
Canouse is questionable to come back here but if he doesn’t save, Moses Nyeman is suspended for a red card.
Chicago was a bit of a wasteful — especially in its opener at Inter Miami — but the idea of Xherdan Shaqiri facing a No. 6 player in MLS’s third string is chilling. And anyway, you could argue that the substance of Fire’s game has been a bit better than DC United’s efforts.
Maybe Chicago shouldn’t be the favorite on the road, but the price is low here. At +260 odds, you’re playing an implied 27.8% chance of victory against a DC side that under manager Hernan Losada very rarely draws and haven’t looked good in 2022 despite the results.
Quillen’s Choice: Chicago ML (+260)
Dallas vs. Nashville Odds
|More less||2.5 (+116 / -145)|
|day | Time||saturday | 8:30 p.m. ET|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
|Updated odds via PointsBet. Keep up to date football odds here.|
You always have to keep the draw in play when dealing with Nashville, a club that makes no apologies for its pragmatism.
Manager Gary Smith’s side equaled the MLS record with 18 draws in 34 matches last season, including nine home and away.
The nine away games are likely more repeatable in 2022, where the club regularly find themselves in a deep block.
As for Dallas, they are a quietly improved team with the additions of Paul Arriola and Alan Velasco to the fold.
However, even with forward Franco Jara available after two weeks out injured, it seems unlikely that he or Jesus Ferreira will be able to carry Dallas’ offense on their own for an extended period.
The striker-by-committee approach resulted in seven draws at home last season and another to start 2022 against Toronto FC.
In fact, of the last 37 games between Dallas home games and Nashville trips dating back to the start of 2021, 18 have ended with the points split.
That’s a rate of 48.6% and that’s why I’m playing a draw here at +225 odds, with an implied probability of 30.8%.
Quillen’s Picks: Draw (+225)