Adam Chernoff is shooting just under Level Par this season with his MLS bets is confident of hitting his stride this weekend with a trio of bets!
Week 10 was a split between two selections with the slightly bigger wager on Houston making it just better than break even on the overall result. Heading into the weekend, the record for readers of this column is 6-6 (-1.09x). After a stretch of single wagers per week, Saturday and Sunday continue the uptick in selection volume.
With an average of 2.96 goals per match this season, going Under 2.5 goals in any MLS match is always enough to cause a bit of hesitance for bettors.
However, I see value opposing the wave of overs with two lacklustre attacks in Montreal and Cincinnati. The peripherals for both sides are very weak. Through eleven matches, Montreal and Cincinnati have tallied 117 and 112 shots on target respectively. To put some relevance in that number, all other teams (5) that have completed 11 matches have at least 124 shots on target, and of the teams that have completed 10 matches (12), only Vancouver and Dallas have less than 117 shot attempts.
From an xG perspective, the 12.25 mark for Cincinnati and 10.26 mark for Montreal rank only above Atlanta (3 matches less), Dallas (2 matches less), Portland (2 matches less) and Salt Lake/Vancouver (1 match less). Cincinnati has not scored in 531 minutes – nearly six matches – and midweek fired manager Alan Koch. Filling in is 29-year-old interim manager, Yoann Damet who plans to “put something very different on display”.
Regardless of what that ‘different’ is, Cincinnati is not likely to come up with an attack out of thin air on short notice. Both teams rely on long balls and width in attack but can defend the air well. If there is a glaring weakness, it is that Montreal and their vulnerability to the counter-attack, but Cincinnati does not hold possession well and prefers to knock opponents off the ball in midfield.
This match has the potential to be stuck in the middle third of the pitch with little opportunity to score.
At even money, this under is worth the wager.
Atlanta United has not treated me well this season. I have backed them twice, to no avail.
With that said, it is impossible to ignore the numbers the team is putting up on a weekly basis. With three matches to catch up on the rest of the league, there is little doubt in my mind that Atlanta will challenge LAFC for most points in the league by the time the season wraps up. Even after a midweek drubbing of Toronto, Atlanta are still underperforming by more than two goals in relation to their expectancy. What makes their 4-2-3 record this season (7th in the Eastern Conference) even more incredible is they have outshot opponents in 9 matches, 122-71. This match against Orlando sets up well stylistically. The Lions play at Orlando City Stadium on one of the slower surfaces in the MLS. Their biggest weakness is team speed on defence, specifically defending transition play up the middle.
Playing at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on artificial turf naturally speeds up the game and the Atlanta transition attack uses it to their advantage fielding the quickest attack in the MLS. While Orlando plays to average as a team defensively, their frequent individual mistakes will burn them against the depth Atlanta has on offense.
Orlando City has a shots faced per goal allowed rate of 6.50, which is second to just New England and Colorado – the two worst defences in MLS. The punchline, however, is that Orlando faces 10.5 shots per match on average in comparison to 13.5 and 13.70 for New England and Colorado.
Until Atlanta moves up the table and is priced accordingly, I will continue to back them, especially in favourable matchups like this.
Nobody Is Talking About KC
Sporting Kansas City is without a question the most under the radar club in MLS. Despite not winning since March 30th, the team has put up some incredible numbers that would suggest they are significantly better than their 10th place ranking in the Western Conference.
Their 15.22 shots per game and 1.91 xG for per game are both second to only LAFC (1st place in MLS). Their expected vs actual goal differential has them underperforming by 2 goals on offense and 4 goals on defence.
DC United have been quite the opposite through their 11 matches. Sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference, United have been outshot by 28 and average just 1.14 xG per game. At a +5.77 mark in comparing GD vs xGD, DC United are the fourth most overachieving team in MLS to this point in the season.
An equal over performing side would be Philadelphia, tied with DC for the conference lead, but the difference comes down to finishing. Philadelphia have outshot opponents by +40, a difference of +68 in comparison to DC, but they have been extremely fortunate scoring 21 on 16 xG generated. United have simply been hanging on with their defence – which rates below average. Facing a Kansas City attack which is a constant threat and as productive as any team in the league could reveal the true weakness.
Rather than bite on the lofty outright price, I will take the half goal on the Asian handicap with the visitors.
- Cincinnati Montreal Under 2.5 (2.00). Risking 1.00x
- Atlanta United -1 (1.76). Risking 1.31x
- Sporting Kansas City +0.5 (1.78). Risking 1.28x
It’s the final Weekend Football Podcast of the season, and off the back of 3/4 winners last week, host Ali Maxwell keeps the same team, getting Nigel Seeley and Mark O’Haire back on the pod hoping for more of the same. Looking ahead to the weekend’s action, with four games analysed, across the Premier League, Bundesliga and Eredivisie. Nigel, a betting journalist and top tipster across multiple sports is bullish on his selections for Spurs vs Everton and Burnley vs Arsenal. Mark, the brains behind WeLoveBetting, takes a detailed look at Hoffenheim vs Werder Bremen and Heracles vs Excelsior.