After a disastrous spell in Week 2, we were able to rebound a bit last week with the help of Sporting Kansas City and the LA Galaxy delivering on their ability and generating some incoming revenue. This week will be a bit different, as MLS features a minimal slate of games in the wake of World Cup qualifying.
It's time to build off that momentum and make sure we head into April with money in our pockets.
Now, for the usual intro.
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For the uninitiated, odds are generally presented in three forms -- a "spread," a "moneyline," and a "total."
The spread is the goal difference expected. For example, if the spread for Orlando City is +1.5, you'll want them to win, draw, or lose by one goal to win the wager. Losing by two or more goals would result in losing the wager.
The moneyline is my personal favorite, and the only odds we'll use for soccer. I'm not a fan of spreads with this sport, as the margin for error is very small. A moneyline is simple -- odds are presented, and you select the outcome you expect -- Team A win, Team B win, or Draw.
The total is the total number of goals scored this game. This can be tough to predict in soccer, and is generally something I recommend staying away from -- though it can be a useful moneymaker for both hockey and basketball.
Odds are presented with a number preceded by either a + or a -. When the number is presented after a +, this means that selection is an underdog. The number following the + is the amount of money the odds pay out for every $100 risked. When the number is presented as a -, this means that selection is a favorite. The number following the - is the amount of money you will need to risk for odds to pay out $100.
To improve your odds, you can always play what's called a "parlay." A favorite of mine, with this option you can select winners across multiple games, and watch your payouts soar. The risk, however, is if you miss any one contest on your parlay, you've lost the entire bet.
(Note: These odds were pulled from BetDSI, and may not reflect lines posted by your sportsbook of choice.)
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Here we take a look at the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers for a quick fix to our money woes. The United States Men's National Team (-165) takes the pitch against Guatemala (+545) and are our biggest favorites of the week. A total of 13 (14 if you count the newest Colorado Rapid, Secretary of Defense Tim Howard) MLS players will be representing the States against our Central American neighbors.
This should be the safest bet of the week. Guatemala, the 95th ranked country in the world, should be no match for Jurgen and the boys. The Pick: USMNT.
We can't forget to scout the competition when Mexico (-145) squares up against Canada (+475). I know what you're thinking. "Wade, as Mane Lander Jeff Milby has pointed out every single week in his MLS Power Rankings, Cyle Larin is on pace for 34 goals. He's in great form, this game reeks of upset!"
No, it doesn't. In matters of money, never include your heart. The highest ranked country in CONCACAF shouldn't miss a beat against our neighbors from the north. The Pick: Mexico.
This week, we'll all benefit from the glory that is MLS scheduling. With the World Cup qualifying window open, teams that have matches are facing the sort of watered down rosters we all love to hate. When D.C. United (+157) hosts FC Dallas (+176), we'll see this in spades.
United will be without Steve Birnbaum (USMNT) and Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica), who will both miss the match to represent their countries.
As for Dallas? Well...
Acosta, Zimmerman, Hernandez, Gonzalez, Akindele, Harris, and Figueroa all out for DC. (call-ups)— 3rd Degree (@3rdDegreeNet) March 21, 2016
Stunning test of backline depth
Let's just say they'll be shorthanded.
Fabian Espindola should feast off the remnants of the FC Dallas defense. The Pick: DC United
With the slower weekend, I will be playing every game mentioned above, but I also want to talk about New York City FC (+125) hosting the New England Revolution (+211). The call up bug has bit NYCFC pretty hard in the form of Mix Diskerud missing the match, and as our sister blog Hudson River Blue learned on Thursday afternoon's conference call, Patrick Vieira is less than pleased.
"I think it's quite a little bit disappoint[ing], really, that we have to play the game knowing it is an international week," - NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira
The speculation is that this will bring the season debut of surging star Kwadwo Poku, which should be the spark the second best MLS expansion side this half of the decade needs to earn three points. The Pick: NYCFC
Easy Money -- 3-4
Feeling Lucky -- 1-5
My Play -- 4-8