The MLS betting is back!
No, not that tournament the league played last season during the COVID-19 pandemic to get the teams back playing after a layoff: this is the 2021 MLS season.
It kicks off Friday, April 16, with two games in the Western Conference: Houston vs. San Jose (ESPN+, 8 p.m. EDT) and Seattle vs. Minnesota United (FS1 and Fubo.TV, 10 p.m. EDT). Get free bets bonus and best odds with William Hill sportsbook app in NJ, CO, IN, IL, WV, TN, MI. Use promo offer by clicking this link. Picks and predictions below in our free MLS previews.
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This will be a long season, with it culminating in the 2021 MLS Cup on December 19, 2021. Which team is going to dethrone Columbus (or will any team be able to) to put their name in the pantheon of champions.
Here are some teams to watch, the best odds to get for the MLS Cup, and a few predictions to get you ready for the 2021 season.
LAFC (Western Conference betting favorite):
This team is going to be favored until it wins something, which could be soon. But an early loss in the playoffs last season as the top seed will pile more pressure on this team to win now.
There is no doubt about which two teams are favored to win the MLS Western Conference.
It is LAFC, Seattle, and then every other team trialing the way.
Los Angeles is minus money (-106 betting odds) to win the West, but has had a problem getting doing much in the MLS playoffs the last three years, especially against Seattle, which is the second choice at +190 odds on the MLS Futures.
LAFC has lost twice in their first playoff game, in 2018 (Real Salt Lake) and 2020 (Seattle), and also lost in 2019 to Seattle in the Western Conference Finals. So the Sounders are clearly their bogey team.
Which is tough, because the Sounders are going to be there in the playoffs again, as the two-time reigning Western Conference champions.
Another team that could make some noise is Protland, which won the MLS Is Back Tournament in August before falling prey to some key injuries to attacking players.
One thing is for sure: the winner of the West is going to have to be good, and a little lucky, to get to the final.
Here is a look at the MLS 2021 odds with predictions
MLS Western Conference Winner (Top Five Odds)
- LAFC (-106)
- Seattle (+190)
- Dallas (+800)
- Portland (+900)
- Colorado (+1400)
- Minnesota United (+1400)
- Sporting Kansas City (+1600)
- LA Galaxy (+2000)
- Austin FC (+2800)
- Real Salt Lake (+4000)
- Vancouver (+5000)
- San Jose (+6600)
- Houston (+8000)
MLS Western Conference Picks:
There is going to be a lot of pressure building on LAFC all season, especially if it runs through the Western Conference regular season like it has in the past. It is now all about winning a title. Seattle is +190, which are not great odds. If you like the Sounders, you might as well wait, as those odds will drop. Portland at +900 betting odds is interesting.
Columbus (Eastern Conference betting favorite):
The Crew destroyed Seattle 3-0 in the 2020 MLS Cup, and are expected to come back in 2021 and make another run.
Some of the Eastern Conference teams have already been playing in the CONCACAF Champions League, and Atlanta United have already progressed into the quarterfinals. Columbus will be joining them after a 4-0 first leg win, and Philadelphia could join them as well.
Are these three teams the ones that you should be keying on to win the Eastern Conference title in December?
Probably. Columbus won the MLS Cup last season, with a 3-0 win over Seattle in the title game last December. The Crew will come into 2021 as the choice of the sports books and many bettors to win back-to-back titles, especially with their strong squad. But it was Philadelphia that won the Supporters Shield in 2020, and the Union have good odds as well to get to their first title game.
Which team will it be?
Let us take a look below, with the odds for all 14 teams to win the conference title.
MLS Eastern Conference Winner (Top Five Odds)
- Columbus (+200)
- Toronto (+400)
- Orlando City (+500)
- Philadelphia (+500)
- NYCFC (+650)
- New England (+900)
- Atlanta United (+1400)
- New York Red Bulls (+1800)
- Chicago (+2500)
- Inter Miami (+2500)
- Nashville (+2800)
- FC Cincinnati (+3300)
- CF Montreal (+4000)
- DC United (+7500)
Eastern Conference MLS Predictions:
Columbus is the obvious betting favorite pick after winning the 2020 MLS Cup, but it has been nearly a decade since a team won back-to-back titles (LA Galaxy 2011-12), and it has only been done three times.
Maybe look for a team like Orlando City or Philadelphia, both at +500. Could New England make another deep run in the playoffs?
Teams To Watch
Philadelphia (East): the Union won the Supporters Shield in 2020, then fell in the first round of the playoffs to continue their curse. Will the Shield break that curse, though, and let long suffering Philly fans celebrate a cup title?
Orlando City (East): lost in penalties to NYCFC after a good regular season. Could be ready to make a run in 2021.
Seattle (West): reigning Western champs are always near the top, and could be a decent play.
Portland (West): the MLS Is Back champs will get some key players back from injuries, and really could be a sleeper out West and to win the cup.
MLS FUTURES: Top 10 Odds to win MLS Cup 2021
- LAFC +400
- Columbus +550
- Seattle +600
- Toronto +900
- Orlando City +1100
- Philadelphia +1100
- NYCFC +1400
- New England +1800
- FC Dallas +2200
- Portland +2500
If you want a long shot play here, go with Portland at odds of +2500, which won the MLS Is Back Tournament before losing Sebastian Blanco and Jaroslaw Niezgoda to knee injuries. If you want to take one of the teams near the top, you can probably wait to see how the season starts to play out and get those teams near the same odds, or maybe at even better odds. Columbus won the title in 2020.
Best odds for MLS Cup
If you want to search around, you can find these teams anywhere in bands of +100. LAFC is the favorite, and you can still get them around +450 on some books. Of course, if Los Angeles starts hot, or maybe cold, those odds are going to change. Make sure you shop the odds of the teams that might not be the favorites: sometimes you can get them with a much higher price, to your benefit (if they win, of course).
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