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Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake Odds & Prediction – MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Final

Paul Attfield

by Paul Attfield in Soccer

Dec 4, 2021 · 6:53 AM PST

Sebastian Blanco celebrates goal
Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco celebrates after scoring a goal during the second half of the team's MLS soccer match against the Real Salt Lake in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. The match ended in a 4-4 draw. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
  • It’s the fourth-seeded Portland Timbers against seventh-seeded Real Salt Lake for a spot in the MLS Cup
  • Two teams will contest the Western Conference final on Saturday, December 4th
  • Read on for Portland vs Salt Lake odds, a full preview, and the best bet for Saturday’s MLS playoff meeting

With the top three seeds falling by the wayside, a pair of somewhat unlikely Western Conference finalists are set to decide who will represent the conference in MLS Cup when Portland Timbers host Real Salt Lake on Saturday, December 4th, at 6:30pm ET.

Portland are the favorites, by virtue of the game being played at Providence Park as well as the three successive victories it has taken at Salt Lake’s expense this season.

However, despite being the seventh seed, Real has proven to be a resilient playoff team this year, with gritty road wins over both Seattle and Sporting KC.

Portland vs Real Salt Lake Odds

Matchup Spread Moneyline Total
Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake POR -1.5 (+235) | RSL +1.5 (-275) POR -120 | RSL +330 | DRAW +270 Ov 2.5 (-145) | Un 2.5 (+115)

Odds as of December 4th at DraftKings

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The Blanco Question

Chief among Portland’s concerns heading into Saturday’s match is the fitness of star midfielder Sebastian Blanco, who had two goals in the Timbers’ 3-1 win over Minnesota in the opening round of the playoffs before limping out of last weekend’s win over the Colorado Rapids with an injured hamstring.

Blanco had seven goals and seven assists in the regular season this year, but most importantly for this game, was a thorn in the side of RSL in three regular-season meetings this season, with two goals and three assists. And his dominance of Portland’s Western rival stretches even further back, with a total of seven goals and six assists in 10 games played.

As of the time of writing, Blanco had been upgrade from questionable to probable, so looks likely to see the field on Saturday evening. And with Dairon Asprilla suspended after his red card against Colorado last weekend, getting Blanco into the lineup would be a big boost for Portland’s chances.

Timbers On Top

Based on the teams’ three encounters this year, Saturday’s final should be ruled no contest. Portland won all three meetings, and one of those wins was a total rout.

The first win, back in August, was a tight 3-2 victory at Providence Park, with leading scorer Felipe Mora scoring the winner. But the next two, a 6-1 home Portland win in September and a 3-1 road victory last month, were both fairly one-sided contests.

And that dominance predates the 2021 season, too, with Portland winning seven and drawing one of their last nine regular-season meetings. RSL’s lone win came with a 2-1 home victory in October, 2020.

RSL’s Playoff Dominance

Despite RSL’s lack of regular-season success over Portland this season, the team has known nothing but victories against the Pacific Northwest team come playoff time.

In three all-time meetings, RSL has won them all. The most recent came two years ago, when Jefferson Savarino scored a late winner as RSL emerged with a 2-1 victory in the opening round of the 2019 playoffs. Their first meeting came in the 2013 Western Conference finals, with RSL winning both legs to advance to MLS Cup with a 5-2 aggregate victory that included a 1-0 win in Portland.

Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake 2021 Stats

Portland Timbers
Real Salt Lake
17-13-4 2021 MLS Record 14-14-6
56 Goals For 55
52 Goals Against 54
50.3 Expected Goals 47.6
58.3 Expected Goals Against 48.8
WLLLW Form This Season WLLWW

Since the start of the 2016 season, clashes between these two teams have virtually guaranteed goals, with just three clean sheets being kept since then. The 14 games have produced an average of 3.7 goals per game, including a 4-4 draw last year.

Portland vs Real Salt Lake Pick

Despite upset wins over the top-seeded Sounders and again at Sporting KC in the last round, RSL should take note. No team seeded lower than fifth has ever advanced to MLS Cup, with Portland in 2018 the most recent fifth seeds to move on.

On top of that, Salt Lake has only ever won twice in its history in Portland, versus seven defeats and six draws, and has been outscored 27-19 in those contests. RSL’s last win at Providence Park came back in 2017, in a 4-1 win.

Best bet: Portland Timbers -1.5 (+235)

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