Inter Miami and Gonzalo Higuain are riding a three-game undefeated streak ahead of their match with Montreal on Saturday. Photo by @futtmais (Twitter)
- MLS Week 19 features 12 games over the next four days beginning on Saturday, October 17, 2020
- Who comes out on top in a 13th vs 14th match in the East with playoff implications on the line?
- Read on for the odds and our best bets from MLS Week 19 here
Week 19 in Major League Soccer is spread over four days with two matches on Saturday, eight on Sunday, one on Monday (New England vs Philadelphia) and another on Tuesday (Nashville vs Dallas).
Midweek action in Week 18 saw solid results for Cincinnati and DC, Nashville score an unexpected three first-half goals in a win and Orlando stretch their undefeated streak to 11 games. Vancouver also upset LAFC and the LA Galaxy continued to struggle, now losing six-straight after a 4-0 defeat in the Cali Clásico to San Jose.
Speaking of those last two results, with the Whitecaps off back-to-back wins and playing the Galaxy this weekend as +475 underdogs, they could offer an intriguing upset possibility. A double chance (+150) bet offers some value and maybe even an outright win. The Galaxy are 0-1-6 (WDL) in their past seven and have been outscored 19-5.
With Philadelphia’s draw to DC in midweek, they became the second team to clinch a playoff spot after Toronto. On Friday they confirmed the transfer of standout midfielder Brenden Aaronson to RB Salzburg, however, luckily he will remain with Philly until January.
Colorado is still not clear to play this weekend due to positive COVID tests, while several players still need to quarantine on other teams who are returning from international duty.
As the MLS regular season begins to near its conclusion, let’s look at the Week 19 odds and provide some best bets below.
MLS Week 19 Odds
|Sporting Kansas City||+162|
|New York City FC||+180|
|New York Red Bulls||+100|
|Orlando City SC||+240|
|Los Angeles FC||+170|
|San Jose Earthquakes||+200|
|New England Revolution||+110|
All odds taken Oct 16 at Bet365
Pick 1: Montreal Impact vs Inter Miami
One of two games to be played on Saturday is Montreal “hosting” Inter Miami at 7:00 pm EST. It’s not a true home game for Montreal as it will be played at Red Bull Arena in New York.
Of the two conferences, goalscoring in the East has generally been much lower than in the West. In the West, nine teams average three or more goals in their games. While in the East, only one team has done so and that team is the Montreal Impact. They are 13-5 to OVER 2.5 totals. Miami is actually not too far behind at 11-7, tied for the second-most OVERs.
Heading into Wednesday’s match, Montreal’s last nine matches had all seen both teams scoring and at least three goals scored. That streak took just 27 minutes to extend against New England. After two early Revolution goals within the opening 20 minutes, Montreal pulled one back seven minutes later. While New England added a third goal early in the second half, Montreal got a second of their own, very late on in the 90′ minute.
No short-term solutions coming for thin Montreal Impact squad: sporting director #IMFC #MLS https://t.co/1LH9AtyEKv
— Fitzgerald Levasseur (@Fitzysoccer) October 16, 2020
Montreal was made to start James Pantemis in goal for his first career start after Clement Diop returned to France for personal reasons. The team had also transferred DP Saphir Taider to Saudi Arabia earlier in the week. Thierry Henry suffered some more casualties to his lineup on Wednesday when Rob Fanni left injured and Luis Binks picked up a yellow card which will see him suspended for this match against Miami. Both Lassi Lappalainen and Jukka Raitala were away with Finland during the international break and will now need to quarantine before rejoining the club.
For Miami, three of four games after the tournament saw one or fewer goals scored in their games, but each of their next seven all had three or more. The goals have been a little less frequent of late after a 1-0 win against Houston last weekend and a 1-1 draw with Atlanta on Wednesday.
These midweek goals were 🔥🔥🔥! pic.twitter.com/g93ixobR9J
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 15, 2020
The game was nearly scoreless with both goals coming in the final ten minutes, though Miami held a 21-3 advantage in attempts and 6-1 advantage in shots on target. Gonzalo Higuain had eight and three of those attempts and shots. The draw gives Miami their first-ever three-game undefeated streak and leaves them just a single point out of the playoffs and two points behind Montreal who are ninth.
The form guide and lineup issues for Montreal clearly point towards a Miami win (-138), but you can find a little better price on simply backing goals.
Pick: Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals (-110)
2020 MLS Cup Odds Tracker
Pick 2: FC Cincinnati vs DC United
No one will be looking at this match at 7:30 pm EST Sunday as a potential game of the week type match. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find some betting value. In fact, maybe every other game will be better than this one between the two bottom-feeders in the East, 13th place FC Cincinnati and 14th place DC United.
Prior to the midweek action earlier this week, there was little positive to say about either side. Cincinnati had just one win since the restart and was riding a five-match winless streak in which they failed to score a single goal. They had also only scored twice in 12 matches.
Then came Wednesday’s Hell is Real rivalry with Columbus, which saw FCC gain their first win in the rivalry, 2-1. The teams exchanged goals through penalties in the first half, before an early second-half headed goal by Nick Hagglund from a corner kick gave Cincy the winner.
3 points. 2 goals. 1 wonderful night at Nippert Stadium.#AllForCincy | #FCCincy pic.twitter.com/eRfqXZYI8X
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) October 16, 2020
It’s a big result for Cincinnati, however, their four goals since the restart have come from a PK and a corner, another corner (versus Red Bulls on September 19th) and off a terrible giveaway near the box by an NYCFC defender on September 12. Their offense is still bad, real bad, and has created nothing from the run of play.
DC entered midweek play in a similar scenario, winless in eight, with one win since the restart and just seven goals scored in their past 12. They were hosting Supporters’ Shield-contending Philadelphia and despite falling behind early in the second half 1-0, responded with two goals in the 71′ and 75′ minutes to take the lead. An 87′ minute goal by Mark McKenzie, his first in MLS, would draw the Union level and clinch them a playoff spot with the 2-2 draw.
So the winless streak rages on for DC, but they at least stopped a five-game slide and scored multiple goals for the first time since September 19.
Take on today with the same amount of confidence @YamilAsad11 had taking this penalty 😎 pic.twitter.com/7FYNXHWyUn
— dcunited (@dcunited) October 15, 2020
DC still only has 15 goals on the year though, better than only Cincinnati’s ten. The two rank in the bottom three of xG as well, and when you account for non-penalty xG per 90, DC’s 13.5 xG, shrinks to just 12.9, which is a league-worst. They’ve scored four of their 15 goals through PK.
This will obviously be a match both teams will think they can win and will need to win to make up ground in the playoff race. But also one neither will want to lose, which may result in a share of the points.
Pick: Draw (+230)
Pick 3: Minnesota United vs Houston Dynamo
When Minnesota hosts Houston at 8:00 pm EST on Sunday, the Loons will be doing so on some extended rest. Minnesota hasn’t played a match since their 0-0 draw with Nashville on Tuesday, October 6.
Minnesota’s Wednesday match versus Chicago was postponed just hours before the game and after Chicago arrived in Saint Paul due to a positive COVID test with Minnesota. Minnesota’s game last weekend against FC Dallas was also postponed because of an additional two positive tests with the Loons.
8 – @keikamara is the first player in @MLS history to score a goal for 8 different teams (CLB, SJ, HOU, SKC, NE, VAN, COL, MIN). Elite. pic.twitter.com/MK4J7EObzT
— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) October 4, 2020
Road teams simply don’t win in this matchup historically, going 0-3-6 (WDL) all-time in MLS play. The teams have met twice in the US Open Cup with Houston winning 1-0 at home and Minnesota winning 3-2 on the road last year—that being the only road win in any competition between the two.
During the regular season, last year Minnesota won 1-0 at home, while Houston won 2-0 on their pitch.
This will be the third meeting this season between the teams. In the first meeting on September 2, Houston led at BBVA Stadium 1-0 at the half but blew the game open when Albert Elis and Ariel Lassiter subbed on in the second and Elis assisted on two goals to Lassiter.
The second meeting came on September 19 in Houston again, and saw the Loons leading 2-0 at the half, before Darwin Quintero scored two second-half goals against his old team to end the game level 2-2.
Neither team is in great form right now as Minnesota has just one win in six matches which came against Cincinnati. They do, however, have only two losses in their past eight and have conceded zero goals in their past three.
While road teams in this matchup may rarely win, the Dynamo rarely win on the road at all. They are annually one of the worst road teams and this season has been no different. In ten games not played in Houston in 2020, they are 1-4-5 (WDL).
The recent form is not great for Houston as they’re currently mired in a 1-3-5 run. Their lone win came against rivals Dallas, at home, in a game where they went down a man and held just 28-percent possession while allowing Dallas to hold the edge in shot attempts 28-11.
On Wednesday, they fell 3-1 to Nashville SC, with Nashville scoring three first-half goals in the opening 23 minutes. It was a concerning result considering Nashville had previously scored multiple goals in a game just once all season.
You’ll obviously need to check the ongoing COVID situation with Minnesota over the weekend, but assuming the game goes off and no key players are forced to miss out, I give the edge to the Loons.
Pick: Minnesota United win (-106)