MLS Week 1 Odds & Picks: High-Scoring Affair in Chicharito’s Debut?

Seattle Sounders
MLS Cup Champions Seattle Sounders open their MLS campaign at home to the Chicago Fire on Sunday. Photo by @SoundersFC (Twitter)
  • The 2020 Major League Soccer regular season begins on Saturday, February 29, 2020
  • The weekend kicks off with DC United hosting Colorado at 1:00 pm EST on Saturday afternoon and ends with Portland hosting Minnesota at 7:30 pm EST Sunday night
  • Get the odds, analysis and best bets for MLS Week 1 below

The 25th MLS season kicks off this weekend on Saturday, February 29, 2020, with DC hosting Colorado, followed by 12 more matches over the weekend.

Five teams have already begun their competitive seasons in CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) play, while two teams are making their debuts in the league in Nashville and Miami.

MLS Cup favorites LAFC open up at home to David Beckham’s Inter Miami, while 2019 MLS Cup winners Seattle host the Chicago Fire. Finalists Toronto will travel to San Jose to kick off their campaign.

Let’s dive into the opening weekend and make some predictions for MLS Week 1.

MLS Week 1 Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Odds at Bovada Total
DC United -0.5 (EVEN) EVEN O 3.0 (EVEN)
Colorado +0.5 (-120) +250 U 3.0 (-125)
Draw N/A +255 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
Montreal -0.5 (+105) +105 O 2.5 (-140)
New England +0.5 (-125) +250 U 2.5 (+115)
Draw N/A +245 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
Houston 0.0 (-130) +135 O 3.0 (-115)
LA Galaxy 0.0 (+110) +180 U 3.0 (-105)
Draw N/A +250 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
San Jose -0.5 (EVEN) EVEN O 3.0 (-105)
Toronto +0.5 (-120) +245 U 3.0 (-115)
Draw N/A +265 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
Dallas -0.5 (-105) -105 O 2.5 (-140)
Philadelphia +0.5 (-115) +260 U 2.5 (+115)
Draw N/A +255 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
Orlando -0.5 (EVEN) EVEN O 2.5 (-135)
Real Salt Lake +0.5 (-120) +260 U 2.5 (+105)
Draw N/A +260 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
Nashville +0.5 (-145) +205 O 2.5 (-140)
Atlanta -0.5 (+120) +120 U 2.5 (+110)
Draw N/A +245 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
Vancouver +0.5 (-140) +215 O 3.0 (+110)
Sporting Kansas City -0.5 (+115) +115 U 3.0 (-140)
Draw N/A +245 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
Columbus 0.0 (-150) +130 O 2.5 (-135)
New York City FC 0.0 (+120) +200 U 2.5 (+110)
Draw N/A +240 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
New York Red Bulls -1.5 (-120) -335 O 3.0 (-130)
Cincinnati +1.5 (EVEN) +800 U 3.0 (+110)
Draw N/A +425 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
Seattle -0.5 (EVEN) EVEN O 3.0 (+115)
Chicago +0.5 (-120) +265 U 3.0 (-140)
Draw N/A +250 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
LAFC -1.5 (+105) -250 O 3.5 (EVEN)
Inter Miami +1.5 (-125) +525 U 3.5 (-120)
Draw N/A +400 N/A
Team Spread Moneyline Odds Total
Portland -0.5 (-115) -115 O 3.0 (-105)
Minnesota + 0.5 (-105) +290 U 3.0 (-115)
Draw N/A +275 N/A

All odds taken Feb. 26

Pick 1: Houston Dynamo vs LA Galaxy

With it being the first week and all, there’s very little to go off ahead of these matches besides how these teams looked last year. While the Dynamo finished 10th in the West and well off the playoff places and the Galaxy were 11 points higher in fifth, the teams did share one thing in common. And that was goals. Lots of them. Houston weren’t the highest scorers with just 49 goals, but did allow 59. Only four teams allowed more. The Galaxy were in the same boat in also allowing 59 but did score 58 of their own.

Houston were predictably much stronger at home where they won ten of their 17 matches, while LA were losers ten times on their travels.

But here’s the really telling stat. Not only did both meetings between these two see both teams score, but both also went “Over 2.5” with LA winning 2-1 at home and Houston winning 4-2 in Texas. The BTTS and Over 2.5 has now cashed in six-straight between the teams over the past three years.

Goals have been plentiful for each during the preseason so far as well. The Galaxy has seen scorelines of 4-1 (W), 2-1 (W), 2-1 (L), 2-1 (W) and 1-1 (D). The Dynamo’s preseason has included 3-0 and 5-0 wins, followed by a 1-1 draw, 4-1 win and 4-1 loss.

Houston have plenty of firepower up front in Albert Elis and Mauro Manotas, plus the addition of Minnesota United striker Darwin Quintero who had 10 last year and another 11 in 2018.

On the Galaxy side, I’m not convinced they’ve done enough to improve upon last year’s porous defense. And while 30-goal scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic is now plying his trade with Italy’s AC Milan, LA made the biggest offseason signing in Mexico’s all-time leading scorer Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

He joins an offense that features the likes of Cristian Pavon and fellow addition Aleksandar Katai from Chicago, which has the potential to be one of the top frontlines in the league.

It would be very surprising not to see an exciting match between these two on Saturday.

Pick: BTTS & Over 2.5 Goals (TBA)

Pick 2: Seattle Sounders vs Chicago Fire

Making this pick will depend on the lineup that Brian Schmetzer sends out for Seattle’s home opener on Sunday afternoon. The Sounders were one of five MLS teams to start their season early in the CCL. Last Thursday, they traveled to Honduras and came away with a 2-2 draw against Olimpia. The reverse fixture is at home in Seattle on Thursday, giving little time for a full recovery prior to their match with the Fire. Nico Lodeiro was also held out last week with tendonitis.

But this is still a Sounders team that won MLS Cup last year and that won 11 of their 14 home matches in the regular season at CenturyLink Field. These teams met once last season in Chicago where the Sounders jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Despite pulling back two goals, the Fire came up short 4-2.

For as dominant as Seattle is at the Link, Chicago is equally abysmal away from home. How bad? Well they won just two of 17 on the road last year. Bad? Yes. Could it be worse? Absolutely. Over the past five years their road record is 9-56-20 (WLD).

The Fire are basically an expansion outfit in 2020. There’s a ton of change to not only the players, but the coaching staff, front office, home stadium and even the logo. While Chicago has added what could be some nice pieces in Robert Beric, Ignacio Aliseda, Luka Stojanovic, Alvaro Medran and Gaston Gimenez, there’s no logical reason to expect them to leave Seattle with any points.

Check the starting lineups, but so long as enough regulars line up for Seattle in the starting XI, taking even-money at home on the champs looks too good to pass up.

Pick: Seattle to win (EVEN)

Pick 3: Columbus Crew vs NYCFC

There was a big gap between these two in the standings in 2019 — NYCFC (1st) vs Columbus (10th), but very little between the two in their head-to-head matches. In Columbus, the teams drew 2-2, while NYC were 1-0 winners in New York.

New York’s competitive season has already begun in the CCL. They traveled to Costa Rica last Thursday to face AD San Carlos in Leg 1 of the round of 16. New York held leads of 2-0 and 4-1, before winning 5-3, backed by a hat-trick from Heber. The return fixture is set to take place this evening in New York.

New York are legit MLS Cup contenders and return basically their entire squad from last year. They do have a new coach in Ronny Delia though who’ll be coaching in his first MLS match. The Crew, despite their 10th-place finish, finished 2019 as one fo the league’s hottest teams. They were undefeated in 11 of their final 13 matches. To start 2020, Caleb Porter, now in his second year as head coach, has Columbus looking strong with an undefeated preseason record at 5-0-2.

Additions like Darlington Nagbe, Fanendo Adi, Vito Wormgoor and DP signing Lucas Zelarayan make the Crew very likely playoff contenders.

While there’s no doubt NYC look the stronger team, based off last year’s results, in 13 all-time meetings between these teams, a road team has won only twice.

I see each team taking something from Sunday’s match in a tightly-contested draw.

Pick: Draw (+240)

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