- Total Backheeled Bucks Wagered To Date: $330.00
- Total Backheeled Bucks Won To Date: $399.01
- Backheeled Bucks Net Profit: $69.01 (21% rate of return)
We’re in the zone right now. Last weekend was off-the-rails (even by Major League Soccer’s standards), but we still had a great week, nailing two of our three picks. As the dust settles on MLS transfer season, which games present some intriguing opportunities this weekend?
Let’s take a closer look. Here are my three MLS Best Bets for this weekend’s action.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS VS. HOUSTON DYNAMO
Bet: Vancouver to win, over 1.5 goals
It feels weird to say this, but the Vancouver Whitecaps have made some excellent roster moves this season. Julian Gressel is a game-changer at right wingback. Andres Cubas is a true ball-winner in midfield. They recently signed midfielder Alessandro Schopf, who played 2,400 in the Bundesliga last year. I don’t know how Schopf will fair in MLS, but I do know that director of recruitment Nikos Overheul is actively building an excellent track record for himself.
So, I like the direction that the Caps are headed right now. That’s not to say that they’re world-beaters (or really anything close to world-beaters). But they have been good at home this year, recently beating Toronto FC in penalties in the Canadian Championship Final on their home turf.
You know who hasn’t been good this year? The Houston Dynamo. Hector Herrera has decidedly not fixed things for them.
Paulo Nagamura’s team is still operating at a pretty significant talent disadvantage, even relative to a team like Vancouver. Since June 1, the Dynamo have the seventh worst expected goals differentialper game in MLS, according to American Soccer Analysis. The Whitecaps are just barely above the Dynamo in that xGD metric, but they’re not giving up goals and points quite like Houston.
Between the Canadian home field advantage and the fact that Vancouver have the better squad, I like the Whitecaps in this game on Friday. As long as we see a couple of goals, we’re waking up on Saturday with a nice return on our Backheeled Bucks.
MINNESOTA UNITED AT COLORADO RAPIDS
Bet: Minnesota United, double chance
I’m not quite sure what Adrian Heath is putting in the water up there in Minnesota, but whatever it is, it’s working.
Minnesota United haven’t lost a game since June. They’re on a seven game unbeaten streak and the underlying numbers have really started to dig the Loons ever since MLS came back from the most recent international break. According to American Soccer Analysis, Minnesota United have allowed the seventh lowest xG per game since June 1. They also have the seventh best xGD per game since the beginning of June.
They’re cooking right now, which is why I like this double chance bet so much. Heath and Co. don’t even have to beat the Colorado Rapids on Saturday – they just have to snag a point on the road for this bet to land.
The Rapids are coming off that wild 5-4 win over the New York Red Bulls from Tuesday night, which means they’re on short-rest relative to Minnesota United. Colorado have also only won one of their last four home games. With Emanuel Reynoso firing on all cylinders and Minnesota getting some real production out of their wingers recently (Bongokuhle Hlongwane’s xG+xA per 90 minutes looks very promising and he has two goals in his last two games), I think there’s a ton of value with this pick.
A point for Minnesota on the road gets us more than even money.
LA GALAXY AT SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Bet: Galaxy to win, over 1.5 total goals scored
Sporting Kansas City fans, you might want to just close your eyes and skip past this next paragraph. Okay, you’ve been warned.
I sure do like me some “Sporting Kansas City are playing a good team, let’s bet on that good team and make some money”. It’s been a pretty strong recipe for success this season. We bet on Austin FC beating SKC at Children’s Mercy Park last week and landed that pick, so why not come back to the well this week?
I don’t love backing teams that just played in the middle of the week, but Greg Vanney made it a point to manage minutes for his players against Chivas on Wednesday night. Central midfielder Ryan Raveloson is gone now – he was part of the reshuffling that LA had to do to land Riqui Puig – and Puig almost certainly won’t play this weekend after just signing for the LA Galaxy on Thursday. But there’s still plenty of quality in this Galaxy team.
According to ASA, the Galaxy are third in the league in xGD per game since the beginning of June, only behind New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union and one spot in front of Los Angeles FC. I know the LA Galaxy are sitting below the playoff line for now, but they’ve played some solid soccer over the last two months.
SKC, on the other hand, are still struggling at the bottom of the West. Peter Vermes’ team isn’t creating much in the attack and even though Erik Thommy looks like an excellent addition as one of their two No. 8s, I’m not sure he’s enough to get Kansas City back on track. With the difference in quality between these two teams right now, this pick was too good to pass up.
A Galaxy win and at least two total goals in this game gets us a lovely return.