Best Bets: Can Seattle, Texas, and a road upset keep our MLS winning streak alive?
- Total Backheeled Bucks Wagered To Date: $150.00
- Total Backheeled Bucks Won To Date: $213.92
- Backheeled Bucks Net Profit: $63.92 (43% rate of return)
© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Well, well, well. They thought they could catch us off guard by having a long international break in the middle of the season. They thought they could disrupt our rhythm. Our mojo. Our magical betting powers. Our Backheeled Bucks. Our winning streak.
We made money for a fifth consecutive week last week, nailing two out of our three picks. We’re yet to lose money so far this season. Let’s see if we can keep the streak alive with our trio of picks for this weekend’s MLS action.
Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City
Bet: Seattle ahead at both halftime and full-time
Woah, you’re betting on the Seattle Sounders to win a home game…that’s really great stuff, Joe. Thanks for that incredible insight into MLS.
First of all, I don’t think I care for your tone. Second of all…actually I don’t have a second of all. Yeah, I’m betting on the Sounders to win at home. I’m not ashamed.
I like Seattle here for a host of reasons. First, it looks like they’re finally rounding into form in MLS after winning Concacaf Champions League earlier this season. Brian Schmetzer’s team is up to seventh in the West, which isn’t spectacular, but it is an improvement based on where they’ve been in previous weeks. They also made this video, which is epic. We didn’t even know that we wanted to see Raul Ruidiaz wearing a flamingo pool floaty, but we did.
That’s reason one.
Reason two is that the Sounders have had significantly more rest than Sporting Kansas City. Seattle’s last game was on Saturday, June 18. Since then, SKC have played two games: one on Sunday, June 19 against Nashville SC in MLS and one on Wednesday, June 22 against Union Omaha in the U.S. Open Cup.
Now, Kansas City did win both of those games (they even scored a touchdown without the extra point against Omaha in the Open Cup). But I’m still not convinced that SKC are on Seattle’s level. Sure, it looks like Peter Vermes’ team has improved defensively over the last month, but they haven’t been creating a ton in the attack outside of that midweek beatdown against Union Omaha.
That’s the third reason I like Seattle in this game. I think they’re a better team than SKC, plain and simple. After looking at the odds, I’m clearly not the only person who thinks that. In fact, all of Vegas is on Team Sounders, too. If you’re betting on a simple Seattle Sounders win, you’re staring right at -140 odds, which doesn’t feel worthwhile at all.
To squeeze a little extra value out of this pick, I landed on Seattle getting ahead in the first half and winning the game. That gets us +165. Pretty good, right? If the Sounders are up at halftime and they end up with all three points, we’re walking away with a fistful of Backheeled Bucks.
FC Dallas at Austin FC
Bet: Dallas to win, over 1.5 total goals scored
Sure, +165 was fun. You know what’s more fun than +165? +270. That’s what we’re shooting for with this Texas matchup between FC Dallas and Austin FC.
Austin are favored here at home – and understandably so. Josh Wolff’s team is missing a couple of pieces, but they’re sitting in third place in the Western Conference and they’re better than they were last season. There’s been real progress. Still, despite Austin FC’s success in 2022, I don’t think they’re one of the very best teams in the West. On the whole, Austin FC’s underlying numbers are solid, but they’ve struggled over the last six weeks (2W-1D-3L) against quality competition.
Now, Dallas haven’t been great over the last month, either. They’ve lost three of their last four games, including two to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
But when you dive one layer deeper and get past the box scores, Dallas’ numbers pop compared to Austin’s. According to FBref, FC Dallas have the second best expected goal differential per 90 minutes of any team in the Western Conference and the fourth best xGD per 90 in the entire league. Austin, on the other hand, are seventh in the West and 15th in all of MLS in that metric.
With those numbers in mind, I think Dallas has a good chance to take all three points in Austin. A Dallas win plus at least two total goals in this game nets us a nice return.
Colorado Rapids at Portland Timbers
Bet: Colorado to win
We’re not messing with any scoreline or goals qualifiers on this last pick. We’re keeping things simple. That’s what everybody wants to do on a Saturday evening, right? Stay in, watch a little late-night MLS on Root Sports, and keep things simple? That’s what I thought. It’s everyone’s dream.
A Colorado Rapids win up in Portland against the Timbers on Saturday is coming in at +210 right now. That’s the fifth highest away line this week, which is crazy to me!
Do I think that Colorado should be favored on the road? No. But this line feels very, very high to me (which is good for us). Yes, Robin Fraser and Co. are in ninth place in the Western Conference, but they’ve played some good soccer this season. The Colorado Rapids are currently 12th in the league in non-penalty xG per 90 and they’re allowing just 1.00 npXG per 90, which puts them fifth in all of MLS.
Portland, for their part, are much lower down the list in both of those statistical categories. The Timbers, who are in 13th place in the West, are stagnant right now under Gio Savarese. They were okay against the LA Galaxy last weekend in a 1-1 draw, but not much stood out about them even while watching in person.
At this point, every team in the league knows exactly how the Portland Timbers play. They’re still fully capable of getting results (because that’s how MLS works), but I don’t love them in this game. I know I’m running the risk of upsetting J. Sam Jones by backing an away team to win at Providence Park after they finished second in his Toughest Places to Play rankings, but I’m laying it all out there anyway.