MLS: Week 1 Predictions and Betting Guide

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 08: Atlanta United players celebrate with the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy after winning the MLS Cup against the Portland Timbers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta won 2-0. (Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 08: Atlanta United players celebrate with the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy after winning the MLS Cup against the Portland Timbers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta won 2-0. (Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

MLS is back and legal sports gambling is on the rise. For any fan laying down a bet to up the excitement, here is the betting guide for Week 1.

Hope is abundant at the beginning of any new Major League Soccer season. The MLS 2019 opening weekend feels like winning the offseason jackpot.

After a winter of building excitement and roster moves galore, fans can now place those bets to back the offseason trash talk. A professional gambler tries to only lay down sure money, but I make no such claims.

Here are my picks for this week’s slate of games. All odds come from MyBookie.

Seattle Sounders (-187) vs FC Cincinnati (+447):

The most obvious choice to top this confidence list, FC Cincinnati traveling into Seattle will make for a great ‘welcome to MLS’ atmosphere. Seattle is known for slow starts, but the Sounders will not drop points to the newest club to join MLS. The Sounders have the requisite quality to lift trophies. FC Cincinnati has star players taking odd shots at the supporting cast.

Prediction: Sounders win by two, FC Cincinnati finds a goal. Over bet pays. 

Philadelphia Union (-135) vs Toronto FC (+297):

Toronto FC looked terrible and ready to quit in their CCL series. Marco Fabian looks poised and ready to lead the Union to the playoffs. Smart money sees the moneyline and spread (-0.5) lay the pay at the same -135 odds. The over/under at three is a pass. Toronto FC has Jozy Altidore listed as doubtful. The Union might score three, but that’s only worth a push. The Union will protect a lead and perhaps bag a third. Betting the win, or perhaps selling a point for better odds, are the only two plays. Union fans betting on Fabian to score or assist can be forgiven. Betting with the heart is sometimes allowed, on opening day.

Prediction: Philadelphia Union scores at least two goals and win.  

LA Galaxy (-137) vs Chicago Fire (+316):

Zlatan made promises. Zlatan is godly tall for soccer, and life, at six foot six inches of goalscoring machinery. The Chicago center-backs are just shy of six feet tall. The Fire do have a better attacking force than last season but the defense is still lacking a quality stopper.

Prediction: Zlatan scores at least two goals, the game has at least four goals.   

Orlando City SC (+176) vs New York City FC (+132):

If only there were prop bets for people arrested and seats reporting missing from the OCSC stadium. Orlando City is done with the honeymoon period in MLS. Both teams are transitioning from their ‘beginning’ eras. The rivalry excitement could add to OCSC’s propensity for shootouts. Perhaps this season starts differently.

Prediction: 1-1 (draw pays +244) 

San Jose Earthquakes (+137) vs Montreal Impact (+176): 

Matias Almeyda can only take the Quakes up the standings. Montreal is seemingly going to drag down Ignaccio Piatti by riding his coattails until at least the summer transfer window. Cummings will handle Urritti and two bottom-half teams will lead to one stagnant game.

Prediction: Wondolowski gets a goal. San Jose takes at least a point. 

Columbus Crew (+105) vs New York Red Bulls (+218):

Caleb Porter will lead the Save The Crew honeymoon celebration of 2019. Chris Armas had a full preseason to tame his new Red Bulls. New York has to prioritize the Champions League game midweek. The Crew are fully focused on not spoiling the party with anything less than a three point offering.

Prediction: 3-1 Crew

FC Dallas (-142) vs New England Revolution (+322):

Luchi Gonzalez leads a young FC Dallas team for the first time. Brad Freidel is back for his second season leading the Revs. Both coaches will be under more pressure this game than the players. A tactical stalemate ensues, with Dominique Badji the most threatening striker expected to play.

Prediction: No more than two goals. Under pays. Worth a long shot bet on New England, perhaps to a parlay ticket for the odds.  

Houston Dynamo (-123) vs Real Salt Lake (+269):

 Real Salt Lake made the playoffs last season thanks to the Dynamo. Houston has a huge CONCACAF Champions League game against Tigres on Tuesday. Houston may be favored, but they’ll be looking for a favor from Real Salt Lake. Houston played a rotated attacked against Guastatoya but the back line needs some rest.

Prediction: 3-2 Real Salt Lake. 

Colorado Rapids (+134) vs Portland Timbers (+181): 

The Rapids had the best offseason in MLS, while the Timbers had the longest. Well,short but too much time to think about an MLS Cup loss. The Timbers have too much talent not to beat Tim Howard. The Rapids improved enough to score more than one fluke goal against the MLS Cup finalist.

Prediction: Over/under of 2.5 pays the over. 

Vancouver Whitecaps (-104) vs Minnesota United (+249): 

Darwin Quintero leads Minnesota United against a massively overhauled Vancouver, led by Marc Dos Santos. Minnesota United has some roster cohesion, while the Whitecaps have an Alphonso Davies sized hole in attack. The new pieces for Minnesota are Alonso and Opara, two of the wisest defenders in MLS.

Prediction: Minnesota get at least a point, the under (2.5) pays. 

D.C. United (+147) vs Atlanta United (+161): 

D.C. United are ready to unleash Rooney and Acosta for a full season. Atlanta United have already started theirs. Atlanta United will be resting several key starters. DC United will be running off the last bits of preseason rust.

Prediction: +244 on a 2-2 draw. 

LAFC (-111) vs Sporting KC (+257): 

The battle of Benny Feilhaber’s former teams will not lack for flair. LAFC and Sporting KC both have eyes on winning the West, and rightfully so. Every MLS Opening Kick day brings at least one game full of goals. Sporting KC is a deep squad, and Peter Vermes concedes no points.

Prediction: At least five goals