- Toronto FC looks to the restart of the MLS season as favorites to win the Eastern Conference
- The Reds enjoy a favorable schedule early on, with matches vs Montreal and Vancouver, but uncertainty as to how their schedule will unfold remains a massive concern
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and best bets to emerge as this season’s MLS Eastern Conference champions
An early exit from the MLS is Back Tournament has done little to dampen support for Toronto FC, who now look to the restart of the MLS season perched as +275 favorites to win the Eastern Conference.
Odds to Win MLS Eastern Conference
|Team||Odds at BetRivers|
|New York City FC||+650|
|New England Revolution||+1100|
|Orlando City SC||+1400|
|Inter Miami CF||+1600|
|New York Red Bulls||+1600|
Odds taken August 18
Reds Benefit from All-Canadian Schedule
TFC emerged as a big disappointment at MLS is Back. The club managed to finish atop the Group C table despite picking up just one win in group stage action, and subsequently bowed out with a decisive 3-1 loss to New York City FC in the Round of 16. However, the early exit may prove beneficial to the Reds, providing the club’s walking wounded, including Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio, a little extra time to heal.
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) August 16, 2020
More important still is the all-Canadian schedule that Toronto will enjoy in the coming weeks that has given them a boost at the sportsbooks. With regular travel between Canada and the United States currently not an option due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the first six matches on the Reds’ schedule in their return will come against the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps. Vancouver is coming off a last-place finish in the Western Conference last season, and also made an early exit from MLS is Back, posting losses in three of their four tournament outings.
The Impact are in a similar situation. While Montreal showed promise and character while earning a berth in the Round of 16, they remain a work in progress under new head coach Thierry Henry.
The unusual schedule certainly favors Toronto in the short term and has been key to the dramatic improvement in their odds to win the Eastern Conference since opening the season as a +500 bet. However, the uncertainty as to who the club will be able to play beyond mid-September is a massive concern.
Strong Tourney Performance Gives Union a Lift
While US-based clubs cannot make the trip north of the border, they are likely to enjoy more certainty as the late-season schedule evolves. That could work to the advantage of the clubs chasing TFC in the Eastern Conference odds, including the Philadelphia Union, who have emerged as +550 second favorites, and NYCFC, Atlanta United, and the Columbus Crew, who all trail knotted at +650.
Philadelphia Union has advanced to the semifinals of the MLS is Back Tournament with a 3-1 quarterfinal win over Sporting Kansas City tonight.
Philadelphia is 4-0-1 so far in the tournament & has conceded just 3 goals in those 5 games. pic.twitter.com/KG6DPp5U5Z
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 31, 2020
Winners of a franchise-high 16 matches in 2019, the Union continued there steady emergence at MLS is Back, advancing to the semi-final before falling to Portland by a 2-1 score that marked the club’s first and only loss of the 2020 season. NYCFC finally changed their losing narrative against Toronto by bouncing the Reds from MLS is Back in the knockout stage, and also enjoy a somewhat favorable upcoming schedule with multiple matchups versus DC United, New York Red Bulls, and New England.
Five Stripes a Solid Value Bet
Most importantly, it is unwise to count out Atlanta United. Pegged as early season favorites to win the East, the Five Stripes are coming off a dismal performance at MLS is Back, bowing out with three straight losses in the group stage. Now listed as a distant +1600 wager in the MLS Cup odds, the club will also be without scoring sensation Josef Martinez, who has been sidelined by a season-ending injury.
Atlanta United interim manager Stephen Glass: Says the team was "disjointed," and said he thinks the players will show more than what they have been recently.#ATLUTD
— Joe Patrick (@japatrick200) July 30, 2020
However, Atlanta sports no shortage of talent. The club has filled the void left by Martinez’s absence by signing Erick Torres, and the club’s early tournament exit has provided recently hired coach Stephen Glass to focus on preparation for the upcoming restart. The club should also feast on a regular diet of matchups with expansion side Inter Miami, and Orlando City.
The Lions enjoyed a Cinderella run to the MLS is Back final, but winning in the regular season is a whole other story. That is especially true against Atlanta, whom Orlando have never beaten in nine all-time meetings.
Pick: Atlanta United to win Eastern Conference (+650)
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