|Moneyline (Regular Time)|
|Insights Backheeled Insights proprietary algorithm combines a variety of factors, using machine learning to weigh variables. It is solely focused on MLS data.||46.2%||26.8%||27.0%|
What The Book Sees
While a Nashville SC win is the most likely outcome according to the books, they believe that New York City FC is the better team in this game. Based on the numbers above, the books believe that Nashville will likely end with a 3 goal smaller expected goal differential (xGD) than NYCFC this year.
However, they also believe that the gap between them and Nashville SC has closed from last year to this year. In 2022, the teams were 7 xGD apart. When you factor in home win percentage in MLS (49% in 2022, 52% over the last five full years) and NYCFC’s weakened roster after several offseason losses, the books believe that a Nashville win is the most likely outcome.
What Insights Sees
Insights doesn't see any major gaps in the books' logic here. It rates NYCFC as the slightly better team overall: Nick Cushing's team is the 4th best in the league based on Insights' team ratings, while Nashville is 5th. But it doesn't think that slight quality advantage is enough to overcome Nashville's homefield advantage to the point where it makes sense to back New York City.
Nashville are currently not without any of their key players due to injuries or suspensions. They have the advantage of returning mostly the same group of core players to the team this year.
NYCFC aren't missing any of their key rostered players due to injuries or suspensions, but they are still recovering from several stars leaving the team during the offseason. One of those stars, attacking midfielder Santiago Rodriguez, is expected to re-sign with the team but has yet to officially do so.
Entering a new era without many of the key players that helped them win MLS Cup in 2021, NYCFC will be motivated to show teams around the league that they're still a threat.
Playing in front of their home fans to open the season, Nashville has plenty to play for. Hany Mukhtar and Co. will want to prove that they're good enough to win games even without high-quality attacking reinforcements.
Though Nashville has one of the league's best attackers in Mukhtar, they're better suited to play in transition (which is something that often happens more on the road than at home). Nasvhille was a bottom-half team in the league last year based on xG created from possession phases, but a top-half team based on xG created from transition. If they have to dictate the game, they could struggle to break through NYCFC in open play.
NYCFC are dangerous in both transition and possession, especially when it comes to finding gaps in the middle of their opponent's defensive shape. They finished second in the entire league last year in xG created from central buildup, which doesn't bode well for Nashville's aging midfield core.
In Talles Magno and Gabriel Pereira, NYCFC has multiple players who can change the game in a moment, especially targeting the space outside and behind Nashville's central midfield group. Magno will likely be deployed out of position as a No. 9. But even up top, he can drop in and help overload the midfield area. In 2022, he added more value with his ability to move off the ball and receive in possession than any of NYCFC's other returning players.
How Nashville's over-30 group of central midfielders (Sean Davis, Dax McCarty, and Anibal Godoy) deal with opposing attackers driving at them or around them is a major question for Gary Smith's team in 2023. Both players struggled to break up plays more than the average central midfielder in 2022.