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The Numbers

Moneyline (Regular Time)
Home Draw Away
DraftKings +155 +225 +160
39.2% 30.8% 38.5%
Insights Backheeled Insights proprietary algorithm combines a variety of factors, using machine learning to weigh variables. It is solely focused on MLS data. 55.8% 22.8% 21.4%
Over/Under (Regular Time)
O 2.5 U 2.5 BTTS
DraftKings -130 100 -170
56.5% 50.0% 63.0%
Insights Backheeled Insights proprietary algorithm combines a variety of factors, using machine learning to weigh variables. It is solely focused on MLS data. 55.0% 45.0% 55.0%

What The Book Sees

The line's projection, putting St. Louis City and Charlotte FC as even probability to win in St. Louis, suggests that Charlotte are roughly +17 xGD on the season. A 17 goal difference gap is similar to the gap between the playoff mark and the bottom of the conference. It's possible to see how the line could start there at the beginning of the year: CLT could be rated similar to a 7th place team and most models predicted STL as the worst team in the league.

But it's hard to stay aligned to that after watching last week's games. Model-only projections (as Books tend to be) react slowly to new information to ensure that they do not overreact to single result, which is often a plus.... but might be a weakness in this scenario.

What Insights Sees

After Week 1, when STL won on the road at Austin, Backheeled Insights rates St. Louis City as close to mid-table (probably an over-reaction due to limited data), while Charlotte is in the bottom 10. As a result, BI has St. Louis as material favorites as the home team.

Home Team Is Good Value If...

Keeping the approach simple, staying organized, and competing sets a floor that's above "one of the worst teams in the league".

It's relatively simple, given the discrepancy in the predicted quality of the teams: if St. Louis are one of the top 20 teams in MLS, they are good value in this game. Put another way, in order to win at home 39% of the time against a team of Charlotte's quality (which, based on modeling, squad composition, and subjective analysis seems likely to be middle of the road in the league) STL would need to be similar quality to what we traditionally see from top-20 teams in MLS.

Heading into Week 1, it was hard to contextualize how an expansion team with five players up the spine who are new to the league would look and where they would land. Most projections had them near the bottom of the table. But watching them in Week 1, the functionality of the team seems more important than the parts (admittedly, the club has said this over and over during their roster build). They don't plan to use the same framework as everyone else. They want a separate rubric. They plan to lean into unity, organization, work rate, and energy as a competitive advantage. Given they've only played one game and they have a core of players new to the league, it's probably a fool's errand to predict their level. Instead, it's easier to ask if their principles sets the necessary floor. Specific to this game... do the principles of simplicity, hard work, and energy make you a top-20 team?

Away Team is Good Value If...

St. Louis are worse than they demonstrated in Week 1.

It's hard to see how Charlotte have agency in this comparison. The unknowns on STL outweigh the unknowns on CLT, so the spectrum of possibilities is much larger for STL's level. There are two broad scenarios that would allow Charlotte to be +17 xGD relative to STL: CLT are top of the table and STL are mid-table, or CLT are mid-table and STL are bottom of the table. It's hard to imagine that CLT are a top of the East team right now...or at least harder to think that Charlotte are a top team than it is to think that STL are mid-table. So if STL are anything better than a bottom tier team, it's hard to see how CLT would win this matchup on the road 39% of the time.