Matchday 18: MLS Wagers and Fantasy Tips

Welcome to Matchday 18.

This weekly article previews the upcoming MLS action through a betting and fantasy lens. Before we get into this weekend’s picks, let’s recap our results from the previous matchday. 

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While it was not a knockout week, Valair and I kept our collective streak alive by finishing with a profit for the fourth-straight week. The newcomers, St. Louis CITY SC, provided our biggest payoff with a same-game parlay on the Over plus a CITY SC win. 

As a result, we finished with + 1.10 unit profit. With another winning matchday, our season total keeps climbing with our overall profit up to  + 9.15 units. 

On to this weekend’s picks…

Houston Dynamo v. LAFC

With the announcement of Lionel Messi coming to MLS, it reminded me of the old Andy Gray comment from a decade ago pondering whether the GOAT could manage “a cold, rainy night in Stoke.” Messi is not heading to England, so we will never know the answer to that meme-worthy question. However, he will get to experience MLS’ own unique set of rigors – such as a hot humid night in Houston. 

While Messi won’t experience that unique environment yet, LAFC will this week. Just three days following a midweek tilt with Atlanta United, the Black and Gold must travel 1,300 miles to Houston for a Saturday night matchup. The current forecast at kickoff is 87 degrees with 58% humidity. It equates to a Feels Like temperature of 93 degrees. That is suffocating heat for even the hottest part of the day, let alone a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. 

The sweltering summer months have long provided the Houston Dynamo with a unique home-field advantage. The home form has carried on in 2023 (5W-1L-1D). Even if Houston cannot find points on the road, they hold it down at Shell Energy Stadium. 

Through those seven home matches, only twice has the final resulted in more than 2.5 goals. In fact, Houston have only conceded two goals at home all season. Impressive defensive work from Ben Olsen’s side. 

On the other side, LAFC is often viewed through the prism of an MLS juggernaut. However, the road results have not reflected such a lofty status (2W-3D-1L). That run of games includes two scoreless draws. 

With both teams coming off a short week, tired legs will start feeling really heavy in this one. Houston is tough to beat at home, and neither team should be that adventurous in this one. 

SGP: HOU Double Chance + Under 2.5 goals (+250)           1.0 unit

New England Revolution v. Inter Miami

The Revolution host Inter Miami this weekend at Gillette Stadium. While the Herons won the ultimate recruiting battle this week convincing Lionel Messi to sign with the club, it will not help them in this matchup. 

Arguably, Inter Miami have been the worst team away from home this season (1W-0D-6L). They are dead last in the league in away goals (0.43g/match) and have the second-lowest expected goals (0.76xG). 

On the other side, New England have the eighth-best goals against at home (0.71g/match) although their expected goals against run higher (1.12 xGA/match). However, that delta can be partially explained away by the brilliance of Djordje Petrovic. Since arriving in MLS, the Serbian keeper quickly established himself as perhaps the best shot stopper in the league. While he has not matched his gaudy post-shot expected goals saved tally from last season, Petrovic is still in positive territory (+2.0 PSxG +/-). 

New England will also come into the match with a significant rest advantage. While New England benefitted from a full week of training, Inter Miami spent Wednesday night embroiled in a hard-fought 1-0 win at Birmingham in the U.S. Open Cup. 

With Kamal Miller missing due to red card suspension, it’s fair to wonder if this one turns into a rout. I think there are a few ways to approach it. You can pair a Revs win with a shutout (+200); a Revs win and Over 2.5 goals (+130); or NER Winning Margin +2 and MIA under 1.5 goals (+190). I will keep things on the simpler side. 

SGP: NER Win and Over 2.5 goals (+130)          1.0 unit

Valair’s Corner

All good things must come to an end. After starting off his Broadway betting debut with four-straight winning selections, Valair Shabilla finally experienced a loss last week. His “Over” bet on NYCFC v. New England failed to pay as both teams could not find a goal playing out a scoreless draw. Despite the loss, we still believe in Valair and are eager to find out what he has in store for this week. 

Valair: I said I was going to ride this until it crashes, but I didn’t know it was going to crash like that. It was an infuriating game to watch where neither team could finish. Nevertheless, I used this phrase in winning and I will use it in defeat, we move. This week I am going for St. Louis CITY v. LA Galaxy.

I feel like Chris and I write about how bad the Galaxy are every week, so why stop now? The Galaxy are bad and their 3-2 win at Real Salt Lake last week was followed by a 3-2 loss at Real Salt Lake in the Open Cup. They have a tough one this weekend against the Western Conference leaders, St Louis, at City Park. Before their crazy 3-2 win against RSL, the Galaxy scored one away goal in seven MLS matches. Even with those three away goals, they have four in eight. I think we can conclude that the LA Galaxy find it hard to score away.

On the other hand, even with their loss at Dallas in the midweek, St. Louis continue to have an incredible season. They’ve been good overall, but especially at home with a 5W-2L-0D record thus far. They’ve scored the most goals and home goals in the Western Conference. With 22 goals in eight home matches, it is safe to assume that St. Louis will take advantage of one of the worst defenses units visiting their ground.

The facts are clear, LA Galaxy do not score away and St. Louis score at home. However, just to be safe, I am allowing one goal for the Galaxy in this same game parlay. I am also hoping for at least two goals from St. Louis.

SGP: LAG Under 1.5g AND STL Over 1.5g (+170)            1.0 unit

If you are forcing me to bet on Nashville…

In Jonathan Slape’s absence, I handled the match preview piece this week for Broadway Sports. In there, I will have a more detailed look at this contest. 

The short of my prediction is that Toronto, a club ranking at or near the bottom of the league in several ball retention statistics, gives away too many turnovers to a team as adept as Nashville at punishing opponents on the counterattack. While that should buoy Nashville’s hopes, they must be careful with the attacking talent of Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne. 

My pick was a 3-1 Nashville win, but I will keep this wager solely focused on the “Over”. 

Over 2.5 goals (-105)              1.0 unit

MLS Fantasy Tip of the Week

I hope you were paying attention. The MLS Fantasy week started on Wednesday with a single match between LAFC and Atlanta United. The cross-conference meeting was a fixture moved as a result of LAFC’s participation in the Concacaf Champions League. With a Double Match Week for both sides, it was imperative to stuff your lineup with players from each squad. Despite the scoreless draw, several players are that much closer to a double-digit fantasy week.

Even if you are late to the start of the MLS Fantasy Week, there is still time to salvage your lineup. Two players that I like this week are New England defenders, DeJuan Jones ($9.9m) and Dave Romney ($8.9m).

As I wrote above, Miami struggles mightily to score on the road. 

Given the advantages of rest and better form, Jones and Romney have the best odds of pitching a shutout this weekend. There will also be plenty of opportunities for both to contribute offensively to add to their point totals. Romney, in particular, may find a chance via a set piece. Inter Miami has conceded the most shot-producing actions from dead balls this season (2.56 shots/match). 


Please note that this article contains information related to sports betting wagers, which may not be legal or appropriate in all jurisdictions. The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice.

Sports betting can be a fun and exciting form of entertainment, but it can also be addictive and lead to financial problems. If you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling addiction, help is available. In Tennessee, you can contact the Tennessee Red Line at 1-800-889-9789 for confidential and free support, resources, and referrals to professional services. The National Council on Problem Gambling operates a national gambling addiction helpline in the United States. The helpline can be reached at 1-800-522-4700, and it provides confidential help and support to individuals struggling with problem gambling.

We encourage our readers to bet responsibly and to only gamble with money that they can afford to lose. It is important to set limits on time and money spent on betting and to never chase losses. If you feel that your gambling is becoming a problem, seek help immediately.

Author: Chris IveyChris is a senior writer covering Nashville SC. His writings focus on the team at large and often navigate the complexity of roster building around the myriad of MLS rules. Outside of Broadway Sports Media, Chris resides in Knoxville and is a licensed attorney. Beyond NSC, he is always willing to discuss Tennessee football and basketball, Coventry City, and USMNT. Follow Chris on Twitter

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