Matchday 19: MLS Wagers and Fantasy Tips

Welcome to Matchday 19. 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. 

All good things must come to an end. Our four-week winning streak and Valair Shabilla’s perfect start halted after a few bets didn’t turn our way. The positive news was that our rationales did not appear off base. At home, Houston dispatched LAFC but scored too many goals in the process. Elsewhere, St. Louis CITY SC controlled the Galaxy, yet could not find a second goal. 

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As a result, we finished with – 1.70 unit profit. With another winning matchday, our season total takes a slight dip with our overall profit up to  + 7.45 units. 

On to this weekend’s picks…

Sporting Kansas City v. LAFC

I am returning to the LAFC on-the-road well this week in hopes that I pull up water this time around.

Sporting Kanas City enter as one of the hottest teams in MLS. Winners in five of their last eight, Sporting are starting to show their quality now that more of their attacking pieces are available. Since the dramatic turnaround, SKC have won all four matches at home with an eye-popping average of 3.25 goals per match. 

LAFC, on the other hand, are still suffering from a post-CCL malaise. The Black and Gold are winless in their last three matches. Plus, they are the only team this week with a rest disadvantage as they played the Dynamo on Wednesday. 

In addition to the short week, Steve Cherundolo needs to juggle several missing pieces. Dénis Bouanga, José Cifuentes, Kwado Opoku, and Diego Palacios are all out on national team duty, while Timothy Tillman and Kellan Acosta missed Wednesday’s match due to injury. With all of those absences, it is surprising the value that Sporting, arguably the hottest team in the league, are getting at home. 

SKC Win (+145)                       1.0 unit

New England Revolution v. Orlando City

The New England attack has been clicking in recent weeks. In three out of New England’s last four matches, the Revolution scored three goals. On the scoreboard in each of those games has been Bobby Wood. 

Quietly, Wood is putting together his best season since his breakout campaign with Union Berlin years ago. He has scored six goals and is eighth among all MLS players in expected goals per 96 minutes (0.49 xG)

With his red-hot form and Orlando City missing several key starters, including goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, I like the odds for Wood to score again this week. 

Bobby Wood Anytime Goalscorer (+180)                  1.0 unit

Valair’s Corner

After starting his tenure with five-straight winning selections, Valair finally experienced a loss last week. In a way, it is nice to know that he is a mere mortal like the rest of us and not an all-knowing pick-em god. 

He is taking the loss hard this week and stepping away to get his mind right for the second half of the season. 

If you are forcing me to bet on Nashville…

I handled the match preview again this week for Broadway Sports. The cliff notes version would highlight St. Louis CITY SC’s high-pressing style. Historically, Nashville struggle with such systems, as evidenced by their previous records against the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls. Those matches are often low-scoring affairs with very few goals for either side. All seven matches against these similar high-pressing teams have finished under 2.5 goals.

With plenty of missing bodies due to injury and national team duty for both teams, I expect another low-scoring affair. 

Under 2.5 goals (+100)              1.0 unit

MLS Fantasy Tip of the Week

This is one of the toughest weeks for MLS Fantasy. The international break means fewer league games and plenty of absences across the league. 

It is always important to check lineups when they drop. However, this week it is especially true as lineup rotation highlights the week. 

When building your lineup, it is imperative to consult outside sources to find player availability. The best resource, to my knowledge, is the FMLS Mega-Reference Guide

Maintained by dedicated fantasy players across the league, it is my go-to checklist each week for injuries, national team duty, and suspensions.

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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