- Total Backheeled Bucks Wagered To Date: $510.00
- Total Backheeled Bucks Won To Date: $632.51
- Backheeled Bucks Net Profit: $122.51 (24% rate of return)
Okay, they can’t all be winners.
After nailing all three of our bets two weekends ago, we, uh, didn’t do so well last week. Between our tough weekend and the fact that we’ve entered the time of year when random people and teams start absolutely crushing me for not nailing preseason playoff predictions, a win this week would be nice.
So let’s make it happen, shall we? Here are my three picks for this weekend’s MLS action.
PHILADELPHIA UNION AT ATLANTA UNITED
Bet: Philadelphia to win, over 1.5 total goals
The Philadelphia Union are. running. teams. over. with. a. mack. truck. every. single. weekend.
They’ve won five straight games, they’ve scored 23 goals in their last five games, and they’re going to win the Supporters’ Shield. The Union are on top of the East right now and on top of the Shield standings with 63 points through 31 games. Jim Curtin’s team is hot and didn’t have to play a midweek game, unlike their opponents this Saturday in Atlanta United. That gives Philly a nice leg up.
The Five Stripes are playing some good soccer right now, but they’re not playing the same kind of absolutely ridiculous steamrolling soccer that the Union are playing right now. Atlanta beat Toronto FC 4-2 at home on Sunday and then traveled to Orlando and secured a 1-0 win over Orlando City. Again, those are good results, but not mind-bending ones.
Getting Philadelphia at even money on the road right now doesn’t feel like a bad bet. Getting them at +190 (with an achievable goals qualifier), feels like a great bet.
FC CINCINNATI AT REAL SALT LAKE
Bet: Cincinnati to win
Things were good for Real Salt Lake. Remember that? They manufactured some sort of magic potion at the start of this year to compensate for missing Damir Kreilach and generally lacking talent. From where we stand today, though, it looks like the vat of magic potion is empty: RSL have only won one of their last six games and have dropped all the way to seventh in the Western Conference table.
They’re in real danger of missing the playoffs at this point.
FC Cincinnati, on the other hand, are playing well right now. They’ve won two of their last three games and are ninth in the league in expected goal difference (xGD) per game since July 1, according to American Soccer Analysis. Maybe Brandon Vazquez is going to use whatever rage he feels about missing the U.S. men’s national team’s latest roster to fuel an attacking rampage this weekend.
Or maybe Cincy will just play the same strong game they’ve played for much of this season and take care of business. Either way, that +260 line is looking real nice.
TORONTO FC AT ORLANDO CITY
Bet: Toronto to win and take over 2.5 corners
You might have noticed that I only put down $9 Backheeled Bucks on this bet. That’s because I have a bonus bet coming up after this one, so hang tight on that for now.
To get to the meat of this pick, though, I just couldn’t turn down a +310 line for Toronto FC. Bob Bradley’s team got a full week to prepare for this game, while Oscar Pareja and Co. played against Atlanta on Wednesday. Toronto FC also have the better attackers and they have the better underlying numbers compared to Orlando City. Per ASA, Toronto have a positive xGD per game since July 1, while Orlando have a negative xGD.
This bet isn’t a shoe-in (road bets in MLS almost never are), but I like Toronto on Saturday. And with a straight forward corner kick qualifier, we just need TFC to take at least three corners and win this game to walk away with a fantastic return this weekend.
HOUSTON DYNAMO AT LAFC
Bet: Houston to win
Oh come on, we have to do this. Is it going to work? Almost certainly not. But how often do you see a +900 line in MLS? Virtually never. It’s the highest line I’ve seen all season, which is weird considering a few different things.
- Houston are coming off their best performance of the year (a 3-1 win over the New England Revolution on Tuesday)
- They just beat LAFC 2-1 on August 31
- LAFC have one win in their last six games
Should LAFC win at home? Yeah. Are they going to? Yeah, probably. Put for +900, there’s no harm in putting a single Backheeled Buck on the line. Let’s see if interim head coach Kenny Bundy can work some magic.