- Total Backheeled Bucks Wagered To Date: $540.00
- Total Backheeled Bucks Won To Date: $668.51
- Backheeled Bucks Net Profit: $128.51 (24% rate of return)
We’re back, baby!
The international break is over (USMNT fans, you can breathe a sigh of relief), which means we’re switching our focus back over to the end of the MLS regular season. With a full slate of games this weekend across Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, it’s time to put a few extra Backheeled Bucks in our pockets.
Here are my three picks for this weekend’s MLS action.
MINNESOTA UNITED AT SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Bet: Minnesota to win, over 1.5 total goals
A lot of the best teams in MLS are either playing at home this week, which means you’re getting some pretty weak odds. Or they’re on the road against bad teams, which also means you’re getting some pretty weak odds.
So where does that leave us? It leaves us with Minnesota United, a team right in the sweet spot. They’ve been struggling to the point where Vegas doesn’t have them as one of the best teams in MLS – and understandably so. But there’s still enough distance between them and the San Jose Earthquakes for me to feel good about this road bet.
The Quakes are on the bottom of the Western Conference and they’re already eliminated from playoff contention. More than that, they have the worst defense in MLS this year based on expected goals allowed per 90 minutes, according to FBref. They’re porous in the back, and Minnesota United have more than enough quality to capitalize on over the weekend.
Minnesota are scuffling, too. But with their playoff hopes on the line, I like Adrian Heath and Co.’s chances in this game.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY VS. SEATTLE SOUNDERS
Bet: SKC to win
Okay, I know I just bet against a team with nothing to play for, but that’s more of a guideline this week than it is a hard and fast rule. And guidelines are meant to be… loosely followed? That sounds about right. Sporting Kansas City are already out of playoff contention, but I still like them at home against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.
SKC are undefeated in their last six games and have won their last two matches by a combined score of 7-1. Between injuries to Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda and all of the *old* in Peter Vermes’ squad, the start of this year was rough for SKC. But now they have their juice back with William Agada scoring goals and Erik Thommy looking like a game-changer in central midfield. Since July 1, Sporting are sixth in MLS in xG difference per game. Sixth!
The Sounders are all the way down in 20th in that metric, according to American Soccer Analysis. Plus, they just had a game against FC Cincinnati on Tuesday and they’re still wanting for depth. Raul Ruidiaz picked up an ankle injury on international duty with Peru (it’s unclear how serious the injury is, but I’d be surprised if he plays a major part in Sunday’s game) and they’re light in midfield.
With their playoff hopes on the line, the Sounders have a lot to play for. But Sporting Kansas City are the better team right now and they have a great chance to play spoiler at home this weekend.
PHILADELPHIA UNION AT CHARLOTTE FC
Bet: Philadelphia to win, over 1.5 total goals
Now that the international break is over and Philly have had some time to cool off, the Union are likely going to look more like a team full of humans than a team full of perfectly trained soccer robots this weekend.
But that’s okay! It certainly doesn’t deter me from making this bet. After all, their five (or six or seven) goal outbursts were never going to be sustainable. But even if Philadelphia have leveled off slightly, they’re still really good. They’re neck and neck with LAFC in the Supporters’ Shield race, they have lots of depth, and they’re trying to head into the playoffs with as much momentum as possible.
Between Philly’s ability to control space defensively and their quick transition attacks, they should have a real edge on Charlotte FC on Saturday. No team in MLS has scored more goals than the Union in transition this year, per Second Spectrum.
And this season, you really haven’t needed a team full of soccer robots to beat Charlotte. A team full of humans will do just fine. The goals qualifier gets us some extra value out of this bet, so if the Philadelphia Union win and there are at least two goals in this game, we’re heading into next week with a handful of Backheeled Bucks.