Adam Chernoff returns for his second week of MLS picks.
It was a winning week out of the gate with Seattle winning comfortably as the play of the week. A Vancouver loss negated some of the return to split the card and entering Week 2, my record is 1-1 (+0.23x).
This week I have one bet, and I am going back to a match featuring the Whitecaps but this time I am on the other side.
Quickly Jumping Off The Whitecaps Bandwagon
When I am wrong, I am wrong. No shame in admitting that.
I certainly whiffed with Vancouver last week at home, but I am glad I was able to reduce the damage and still keep the winning week intact. I certainly meant everything I said about Vancouver. I am a big fan of Marc Dos Santos, I think the team overhaul was extremely beneficial and I believe they can contend for a playoff spot.
What really caught me off guard in their matchup against Minnesota was how little continuity the team has. The Loons defence is atrocious, especially out wide which is exactly where Vancouver has speed. But Vancouver was incompetent when it came to putting together consistent pressure in order to hold the back four of Minnesota deep. At times in the second half, it looked like the Whitecaps were playing a man short. Quintero was able to run anywhere he wanted on the pitch and the way Minnesota played above and over Vancouver was an embarrassment for the home side.
The trip to Salt Lake City this weekend is not going to help the issue.
Real Salt Lake has a lot of attacking depth to test the back line of Vancouver.
The home side has Albert Rusnak who (similar to Minnesota attacking midfielder Darwin Quintero) is able to possess the ball and play all over the pitch. Against Houston last weekend, Rusnak was able to make a number of key passes, control and ball and netted the go-ahead goal just before halftime. Real Salt Lake lacks a bit of stability in the defensive midfield, but the back line is going to be able to gamble a little bit on the opposite side of Yordy Reyna, the only source of creativity on the pitch for Vancouver in the opener. Freddy Montero was non-existent, albeit there was no support to set him up. As good as Inbeom may be, he is a shoot first, pass second mid who made it obvious watching was very uncomfortable not being able to fire away at will.
From an expectancy standpoint, it is difficult to use a single game sample size as an indicator of anything.
In the 1-1 draw, Real Salt Lake played right on the number generating 1.1 expected goals for and allowing 1.1 expected goals against. Vancouver in the 2-3 home loss played a full goal above expectation in attack due to a conversion of a long set piece but conceded to expectancy. If anything, the Whitecaps were fortunate to have it as a 1 goal spread in the final few minutes. Minnesota missed a couple of open opportunities, hit the post and Angelo Rodriguez missed a chip shot from just outside the penalty spot. Things could have been much worse.
Neither one of these sides does a ton to draw handle or volume.
These are not large market teams, especially when it comes to betting.
It is not surprising to see Real Salt Lake pretty dramatically undervalued heading into this matchup. Put the scoreboard aside, my biggest take away of the entire first week is how little pressure Vancouver with the likes of Reyna and Montero could get on the worst defence in the MLS – at home. Minnesota were able to flip the pressure and pin Vancouver back for the majority of the game and going on the road into the cold weather is surely to have Real Salt Lake and their attacking depth able to control the match with confidence. Finishing ability is no concern and against a defence that allowed 12 shots from within the box to Minnesota a week ago, the conversion rate on the number of opportunities generated should be more than high enough to get a home win.
The current price of 1.75 implies a home win probability of 57%. I think a true price on this match would be Real Salt Lake north of 1.65 or 60%.
- Real Salt Lake (1.75). Risking 1.25x
On this weekend’s Football Podcast Host Ali Maxwell is joined by Mark Stinchcombe and Mark O’Haire to look ahead to the weekend’s Premier League and Eredivisie action – with four selections in total from Arsenal vs Manchester United, Chelsea vs Wolves, Huddersfield vs Bournemouth and Vitesse vs Feyenoord. Subscribe now to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, or on your preferred Podcast app by searching for ‘Matchbook Betting Podcast’.