- The MLS is Back tournament is approaching the conclusion of the group stage
- On July 23, the final places in Group B and Group F will be decided
- We list the odds and preview three games, offering our best picks
The MLS Is Back tournament has almost reached the end of the group stage. On the final day of the first phase, it’s third versus fourth in Group B, with Chicago still in with a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage, while the top two in Group F – Portland and LAFC – also face off in Orlando.
We’ll list the schedule, show the odds, preview both games, and offer a pick for each.
MLS is Back July 23 Odds
|Team||Moneyline Odds at DraftKings|
All odds taken July 22. For more betting options visit DraftKings.
Chicago Fire vs Vancouver Whitecaps
In Group B’s final game – Wednesday, July 23, KO 11:00 am EST – Chicago and Vancouver go head-to-head in Orlando, with the Fire still in with a chance of progressing to the tournament’s round-of-16. A win for Chicago and they will certainly qualify, but a draw or a defeat and they could be left hoping to qualify as one of the best third-place teams. San Jose is already through in this group, thanks to picking up two wins in their first two games and Seattle have already clinched progression with four points, but could still be leapfrogged by Chicago for second place if the Fire win.
The Fire opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over the Sounders, the perfect start, but came unstuck in their second game against an in-form San Jose team that has clinched first place in Group B. The Whitecaps didn’t kick-off until Day 5 of the tournament but played well in their opener against the Earthquakes, narrowly losing 4-3 after leading 2-1 at halftime. Their 3-0 defeat to the Sounders in their second game was less impressive.
There’s a bit of pressure here on the Fire and if Vancouver can rediscover their good form from the early portion of the Earthquakes game, there could yet be value in the tempting +420 odds for the ‘away’ win.
Pick: Vancouver to win (+420)
LA Galaxy vs Houston Dynamo
The Galaxy face the Dynamo on Wednesday, July 23, KO 9:00 pm EST, both teams looking to sign off with a win even though both look likely to be heading home. It’s been a nightmare for the Galaxy, who are two defeats from two, with a disappointing 2-1 in their opener against Portland being followed up with a doubly-disappointing 6-2 defeat at the hands of their city neighbors LAFC. They’re left with the slimmest of slim chances of progressing; only an emphatic win would give them a chance.
Houston has just a single point to its name so far, earned in a six-goal thriller against LAFC (3-3), and their 2-1 defeat by Portland in their second game was a significant blow to their hopes of progression. Like the Galaxy, their only chance of moving onto the knockout phase is by winning this one.
If previous meetings between these two are anything to go by this will be a high-scorer – five of the last seven meetings between these two have produced over 3.5 goals – and with both teams desperate for a win it’s bound to be an open, end-to-end game. To note though is a couple of big-time players will be absent for each team. LA’s huge offseason signing Chicharito has departed Orlando with a calf injury, while striker Albert Elis received a red card in Houston’s last match and will be suspended.
Ironically, with both needing the win, the value here is with the draw – a result that would help neither team.
Pick: Galaxy and Houston to draw (+325)
— Portland Timbers 2 (@TimbersFC2) July 20, 2020
LAFC vs Portland Timbers
The top two teams in Group F meet on Wednesday, July 23, KO 11:30 pm EST, with both already assured of a route through to the knockout phase of the tournament.
LAFC opened with that cracking 3-3 draw against Houston and were able to follow it up with that exhilarating 6-2 win over the Galaxy in an ‘off-site’ LA derby – a result that thrust them to the forefront of the mind of punters and bookies alike. It was a fine performance, one that, if repeated, would take them deep into this tournament. Portland, meanwhile, has a 100-percent record albeit from two very tight games – 2-1 wins over both the Galaxy and the Dynamo.
But, interestingly, as a result of the 6-2 win, LAFC are odds-on for this one, leaving Portland as massive +375 outsiders – crazy for a team that’s won two on the bounce. So, while it may not be a high-scoring affair – Portland’s defense will not be as generous as Galaxy’s – there is plenty of reasons to see the Timbers making it 3-0-0 with a narrow win.
Pick: Portland to win (+375)
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