I don't know about you, but the early goings this year have been less than kind to my wallet. Placing $10 on each game from the My Play subsection leaves me down $90 through five (six? I dunno. Stupid MLS) weeks.
With every team having played at least five games, we're starting to get a good sample size on what these clubs are about. We'll use an added emphasis on recent form, and performance at home or on the road where applicable, to best find the winners we need to get those dollars up.
As a bonus -- if you're looking for a gimme to throw in a parlay, look no further than Khabib Nurmagomedov, fighting a late replacement opponent at UFC on Fox 19 in Tampa Saturday night. The undefeated former Combat Sambo world champion and Judo black belt returns from a two year injury layoff as a massive favorite, so be sure to use him in a parlay to get redeemable value on the play.
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. 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.
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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Real Salt Lake (-102) hosts Vancouver Whitecaps FC (+290) on Saturday night, where RSL will look to extend its home winning streak to three following one goal wins over Seattle and Colorado. The Whitecaps have been awful on the road this year, surrendering seven goals in three games. Inversely, Real's defense has been stifling on home turf, allowing just one to date.
While it's true Real will likely be missing Javier Morales again, it shouldn't stop it from getting three points at home in this one. The Pick: Real Salt Lake.
The struggling Seattle Sounders (-146) host the Philadelphia Union (+462), who are massive underdogs despite their 2-1 win over Orlando City last week. Seattle can't seem to figure out their striker situation, attempting to replace the departed Obafemi Martins with a revolving door of disappointment.
C.J. Sapong has been anything but disappointing for Philly. Scoring three goals this season and averaging a hair over three shots per game, the man has been terrorizing goalkeepers since the first whistle was blown.
Speaking of goalkeepers, the Union's Andre Blake has been a walking personification of presidential candidate Donald Trump's dream wall. Except, you know, minus the bigotry.
If you're not comfortable taking the Union outright, you can take them with a spread of +0.5 (+125) and retain favorable odds for a draw or win. The Pick: Philadelphia Union.
On top of RSL and the Union, I'll be playing the Colorado Rapids (+110) over New York Red Bulls (+280). The Rapids remain unblemished at home, while the Red Bulls are 0-3 on the road and have yet to find the back of a foreign net. Coincidentally, the Rapids have refused visitor entry into their goal in both their home contests.
I'll also be taking our Orlando City Lions (+109) over the New England Revolution (+250) at home, where Inchy's boys have proven to be very comfortable this season. The Revs haven't lost since falling 3-0 to the Union in Week 2, but have allowed seven goals in three road contests and have managed to win just one of their six games.
The Lions will be looking to bounce back following a 2-1 loss of their own to the Union last week, and the Citrus Bowl is the place to do it. Look for this to be a high-scoring affair, as Orlando City looks to add to its seven home goals on the season.
Easy Money -- 5-8
Feeling Lucky -- 2-9
My Play -- 7-13