Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco is helped off the pitch with an injury during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Seattle Sounders, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Seattle. Blanco did not return to play. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
- Currently dominating Liga MX action, Cruz Azul open this year’s CONCACAF Champions League as betting favorites
- Tournament titans Club America sit a close second to La Maquina in the Champions League odds, while the Portland Timbers lead all MLS clubs at this year’s event
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends as the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League gets underway this week
Cruz Azul FC hopes to build on their impressive performance during the current Liga MX Clausura campaign when they open the CONCACAF Champions League as narrow +375 favorites.
La Maquina earned a berth in this year’s edition of the tournament after finishing the pandemic-shortened 2020 Clausura season perched atop the Liga MX table. Cruz Azul have extended its recent dominant play into the current Liga MX Clausura season and is riding an 11-match win streak. However, the club can expect to face stiff challenges from an array of challengers. They include the Portland Timbers, who lead the five MLS clubs participating in this year’s Champions League as an intriguing +600 wager.
Here’s a look at all the odds and trends as the 2021 CONCACAF Champions league gets underway later this week.
Odds to Win 2021 CONCACAF Champions League
|Atlanta United FC||+1400|
|Club Deportivo Olimpia (Honduras)||+3000|
Odds as of Apr 5 at DraftKings
La Maquina Dominating Liga MX
La Maquina have emerged as a force as the current Liga MX campaign has progressed. The club squandered a hot start to stumble to a fourth-place finish in the Apertura table. However, they have quickly turned things around since opening Clausura action with a pair of losses, posting 11 straight victories.
The club has kept clean sheets on eight occasions, capped by this past weekend’s 1-0 victory over Juarez that also marked their sixth straight shutout win on the road, and have surrendered just five total goals during their 11-match tear.
¡AUTÉNTICAS MURALLAS! 🚧
Con sólo 7 tantos recibidos, @CruzAzul y @Rayados se mantienen como las #MejoresDefensivas al cierre de la #Jornada13 del #Guard1anes2021 de la #LigaBBVAMX 🚂🤠 pic.twitter.com/GEPOQ9vUAM
— Liga BBVA MX (@LigaBBVAMX) April 5, 2021
Not surprisingly, it is the two clubs closest to Cruz Azul on the Liga MX table that are also chasing them for the top spot in the odds to win this year’s CONCACAF Champions League. Club America sits second as a +400 bet, followed by CF Monterrey, who follow at +500.
Club America Keeping Pace with Cruz Azul
Vying for their first Champions League crown since 2016, Club America are also on a roll as they prepare to open their tournament schedule, posting wins in eight of nine league outings to remain just two points back of Cruz Azul on the league table. The Eagles have enjoyed enormous success in past editions of this tournament, claiming a record seven titles. However, the club looks destined for a tough test if they can get past Honduran side Olimpia in opening-round action.
🏆 #CCL Round of 16
🇭🇳 Olimpia: 3-1 win on Saturday. 16 points in 7 games this season. Top of the table in Honduras.
🇲🇽 Club América: 2-1 win on Saturday. 6 consecutive wins. 31 points in 13 games this season. 2nd-place in Liga MX.#SCCL21 pic.twitter.com/7j0Gaxawqk
— JG Fútbol (@JGFutbol10) April 5, 2021
After earning their first Champions League berth since 2016 on the strength of their championship win at last summer’s MLS is Back Tournament, the Portland Timbers aim to atone for their early exit from last autumn’s early exit from the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Timbers Tops Among MLS Squads
Undefeated in three offseason friendlies, the Timbers should benefit from the hopeful return of midfielder Sebastian Blanco. The talented Argentine veteran played a huge role in the club’s march to the MLS is Back title before seeing his season ended by a serious knee injury in September.
#MLS Portland Timbers’ Sebastian Blanco on MLS is Back MVP honors: “It’s one of the most important awards in my car… https://t.co/HFkOzvau07 pic.twitter.com/HaqSMw4toF
— Live for the Footy ⚽️ (@LivefortheFooty) August 13, 2020
The club has drawn an opening-round matchup with CD Marathon of Honduras before a likely quarterfinal date with Club America. The Timbers have work to do to overcome two previous disappointing appearances at this event. However, they face an Eagles squad that has struggled in recent dates with MLS opponents in Champions League action, compiling a middling 2-2-3 win-draw-loss record in seven previous clashes.
2021 MLS Cup Odds Tracker
No Easy Roads for MLS Contenders
The Columbus Crew ended a decade-long absence from the Champions League by winning last season’s MLS Cup title, and enter the tournament as a +700 bet. They sit just ahead of the Philadelphia Union, who make their tournament debut after claiming last season’s Supporters Shield.
🏆 #CCL Round of 16
🇨🇷 Saprissa: 0-0 draw on Sunday. 7 game winless streak. Only 2 wins in last 12 games. 3rd place in Costa Rica. 21 points in 16 games this season.
🇺🇲 Philadelphia Union: Preseason. Last competitive game was in November. First-ever CCL appearance.#SCCL21 pic.twitter.com/GScKLCWDWP
— JG Fútbol (@JGFutbol10) April 5, 2021
Atlanta returns to the Champions League as reigning US Open champions but has massive work to do to turn things around after finishing 12th in the MLS Eastern Conference standings. And while the Five Stripes enjoy a favorable first-round clash with Costa Rica’s CD Alajuelense, they must contend with a Philadelphia or a tough Saprissa squad in the quarterfinals if they advance.
#TFCLive Chris Armas admitted that his club won’t be at their “optimal level” for next week’s Champions League against Club Leon, adding that his club is not totally healthy either. Have been too many training interruptions but said the boys are anxious to play #TFC #TorontoFC
— Kula (@KulaKulis10) April 1, 2021
Tougher still is the road facing Toronto FC. Sporting the longest odds of any MLS club at +2500, TFC opens the tourney against Club Leon, who enter the tourney on a roll after tallying wins in three straight league outings.
Favorable Draw Makes Eagles Best Bet
Considering the historic domination by Mexican sides at this tournament, the best betting value is likely found among Liga MX clubs. With no dates with Liga MX opponents on the horizon until the tournament final in October, that makes tournament veterans Club America the best bet to claim an unprecedented eighth crown.
The Pick: Club America (+400)
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Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.