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Best Bets: Trusting Nancy’s Montreal, value in Dallas, and looking to the road

Welcome to Best Bets, the place where I put my (fake) money where my mouth is.

4 min read

I watch a lot of Major League Soccer. Because I watch so much MLS, I’d like to think that I know a thing or two about the league and its teams. For example, I know that winning on the road is very difficult, I know that there’s some sort of secret deal that the Seattle Sounders made with the devil that pretty much guarantees them at least one trophy every year, and I know that I’m slightly afraid of Bruce Arena.

Like I said, I think I know a thing or two about MLS. But let’s put that hypothesis to the test, shall we?

Welcome to Best Bets, the place where I put my (fake) money where my mouth is. Every week, I’ll be highlighting my favorite handful of bets across MLS – and occasionally across other American soccer leagues and topics, too.

For the sake of simplicity and not because Backheeled has any sort of affiliation with them, I’ll be using lines from BetMGM. That said, if you’re thinking about putting some real money down on any of these bets you should:

  1. Think extra hard about how much stock you put in a stranger’s soccer betting advice on the internet.
  2. Look around at different sports books to find the best value for each bet.

Okay, enough preamble. Let’s get to the meat.


Bet: Montreal to win

Odds: +100

For my first of three bets this week, I’ve gone with Saturday’s Eastern Conference matchup between CF Montreal and Orlando City. Montreal is one of the four home teams in the league this week with positive odds. That means there’s some value in this pick! Wilfried Nancy’s team is favored at home against Orlando, but you can get them at +100, which means that a $100 bet would earn you $100 along with the return of your initial $100.

Pretty good, right?

After a rocky start to the regular season, Montreal have won four of their last five games and have gotten at least a point from each of their last six games. Over the last year and change, Nancy has done an excellent job giving his group a tactical identity – Montreal’s front office has done a pretty impressive job of collecting quality players for their head coach, too.

Most importantly, though, Montreal are better than Orlando City. According to American Soccer Analysis, they’re eighth in the league in goals added (g+) differential and according to FBref, they are 10th in expected goal differential (xGD) per 90 minutes. Orlando City, on the other hand, is 16th in g+ differential and 18th in xGD per 90.

Orlando may have the slight edge in the standings, but Montreal has the quality to win this one at home.


Bet: Dallas to win, under 3.5 total goals scored

Odds: +165

To get this one right, I’m banking on a couple of things happening when FC Dallas host the Seattle Sounders on Saturday evening.

First, I’m banking on a Dallas win. Plain and simple. On a normal weekend, a Dallas home win over Seattle wouldn’t be particularly high on my list, but lest we forget, this is not a normal week. The Sounders are fresh off their midweek Concacaf Champions League victory, which means we could see a heavily rotated Seattle starting 11 on Saturday.

The Sounders have depth, but FC Dallas won’t be nearly as worried about shutting down Fredy Montero and Leo Chu as they would be about doing the same to Raul Ruidiaz and Nico Lodeiro.

On its own, a Dallas home win gets you a -130 line, which means that you have to bet $130 to make $100. We can do better than that…which is where the second part of this bet comes into play. To get this one right, I’m banking on these two teams keeping things relatively low-key in the attack. If FC Dallas win and there are less than 3.5 total goals in this game, the line jumps up to +165. Betting $100 gets you $165, plus your initial $100.

That’s better value, right there.


Bet: Colorado to win, over 1.5 total goals scored

Odds: +200

I know I said earlier that winning on the road in MLS is hard. So often the best value picks are away teams, though, which is why you have to pick your away favorites carefully. For my last bet, I’ve done exactly that.

The Colorado Rapids are only eighth in the Western Conference standings right now, but the underlying numbers like them a lot more than that. Per FBref, the Rapids are fourth in the West in xGD per 90, which means that they are creating more chances than their opponents on a consistent basis. San Jose, on the other hand, are dead last in the West in that very same metric. Much of their struggles stemmed from Matias Almeyda’s far-too-open defensive approach, so now that he’s gone, they should stop giving up so many goals.

Still, after allowing seven goals in interim head coach Alex Covelo’s first two MLS games in charge of the team, I’m going to bet that it’ll take the Earthquakes another couple of matches to find themselves.

I like the Rapids to win on the road in San Jose. You can get them at +160, which means that you would earn $160 from a $100 bet (along with getting your initial $100 back). That isn’t super high value for a road team, though, so I wanted to spice things up a bit. Betting on Colorado to win and for there to be more than 1.5 total goals in the game gets you up to +200, which I like better.

We’ll see if the Rapids can get the job done on Saturday.