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Best Bets: Philadelphia Union provide value, LAFC are hot, and more MLS picks

We're back with another week of Best Bets! This week, we’re riding LAFC’s momentum, looking to the top of the East, and much more.

4 min read
© John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Backheeled Bucks

  • Total Backheeled Bucks Wagered To Date: $390.00
  • Total Backheeled Bucks Won To Date: $460.01
  • Backheeled Bucks Net Profit: $70.01 (18% rate of return)

Our stash of Backheeled Bucks is growing.

At this rate, we’ll be able to buy Josef Martinez a set of new bionic legs and save Atlanta United’s season. Oh, who am I kidding, not even Bionic Josef could save Atlanta right now.

Let’s get to my three MLS bets for this weekend.


Bet: LAFC to win, over 1.5 total goals scored

Amount: $10

Odds: +100

I have a simple MLS betting rule at this point in the year: if you can get even money on LAFC against a bad team, make the bet.

The San Jose Earthquakes are a bad team right now, sitting in 13th place in the Western Conference with 24 points through 25 games. Their season is pretty much over, although hiring Luchi Gonzalez as their manager for next season will soon make them a more interesting team. But make no mistake, LAFC is a much, much, much better team than the Quakes.

Now, Steve Cherundelo and Co. are going on the road on Saturday and they did play against DC United on Tuesday. With the amount of depth that Cherundelo has at his disposal, LAFC should be able to handle double game weeks. Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini sat out a couple of games recently for “load management”, so it’s pretty clear that LAFC are focused on keeping key players fresh as they march towards the Supporters’ Shield.

LAFC are on a seven game win-streak in MLS, they have probably the deepest team in league history, and they’re more than capable of taking care of business in San Jose on Saturday night. At least two goals and a win for the Fighting How On Earth Did John Thorrington Pull Off All Of Those Summer Moves doubles our money.


Bet: Philadelphia to win, over 1.5 total goals, over 6.5 total corners

Amount: $10

Odds: +200

Alright, alright, I know there’s a lot of detail in that bet description. This one isn’t complicated, though. I promise.

Let’s start with my winning team: the Philadelphia Union. The Union are really good. Sure, they just lost to FC Dallas on Wednesday, but they’re first in the Eastern Conference and have some of the best underlying numbers in MLS.

Their expected goals difference per 90 minutes is the third highest in the league, according to FBref. Playing on the road throws a wrinkle in this Philly bet, but that’s where the value comes from. You’re not getting anything close to +200 for a Philadelphia Union home win at this point in the season. However, with some creative maneuvering, you can sure squeeze value out of a potential road win. Let’s not forget that the Union have more wins than losses on the road this year.

Now, for the second part of this bet: the goals qualifier. Shooting for at least two goals in this game is a great way to inflate the odds in our favor. Three of Philly’s last four games and six of their last eight games have featured at least two goals.

Finally, the corners. According to Second Spectrum, the Philadelphia Union average 5.2 corner kicks per game, while DC United average 4.6. Them combining for at least seven corners in this game looks like a safe bet.

Is there a lot going on with this pick? Yup. But the payoff pretty darn nice? Also yup. +200 for an achievable Union win against the worst team in the East sounds good to me.


Bet: Minnesota to win

Amount: $10

Odds: +105

We’ve been hanging out on the road so far with our bets this week, which isn’t the worst thing. I’m always down for a road bet, as long as it’s a high-value road bet. But to close out this week’s Best Bets, we’re backing a home team.

Minnesota United are hot right now. They’ve only lost one game out of their last nine and have crept up to fourth place in the Western Conference. They’re playing some good soccer. Everything revolves around Emanuel Reynoso, but the wingers are involved and Luis Amarilla is scoring some goals up top.

It’s not just their recent results that make Minnesota an attractive pick this weekend. It’s the data, too. Per American Soccer Analysis, Minnesota United have a positive expected goals difference since July 1. Austin FC, on the other hand, are dealing with a -0.13 xGD since the beginning of July. The results are there for Austin and they’re starting to feel like a team of destiny in MLS this season.

But given Minnesota United’s recent form and their home field advantage, I like Adrian Heath’s team in this match. And I really like them at +105.