The Columbus Crew are flying in MLS and sit top of the Supporters’ Shield race with 23 points. Photo by @AFootballPod (Twitter)
- MLS Week 11 features 12 games this weekend with eight on Saturday and four on Sunday
- Will LAFC snap out of a two-game goalless drought when facing Portland on Sunday?
- Read on for the odds and best bets from the weekend slate of games here
Six matches have already been played during midweek action and Thursday saw a new record set as Seattle became the first team to score four goals in the opening 20 minutes of a match, on their way to a massive 7-1 romp over San Jose.
The weekend slate features Florida (Orlando vs Miami) and Texas (Dallas vs Houston) derbies and as well as the likely return of Chicharito to the surging LA Galaxy to name a few highlights.
Let’s take a look at the odds for each game this weekend, along with our top picks from the slate below.
MLS Week 11 Odds
|Team||Moneyline Odds at Bet365|
|New York Red Bulls||+120|
|New England Revolution||+275|
|Real Salt Lake||+100|
|Sporting Kansas City||-143|
|Los Angeles FC||-175|
|San Jose Earthquakes||+175|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||+130|
All odds taken Sept 10
Pick 1: Chicago Fire vs Columbus Crew
Both teams should be fresh for this one at 7:30 pm EST Saturday night as neither team was involved in any midweek action.
It’s a battle of two sides at opposite ends of the table with Columbus first in the East at 23 points and Chicago last at 14th with only eight points. The Crew are also five points above Seattle for the overall Supporters’ Shield lead as well.
The Fire are creating chances as they rank eighth in the league in shots on goal with 45, but they have scored just nine goals in ten matches which is better than only five teams. Columbus doesn’t look to be the side for Chicago’s scoring woes to improve against as the Crew are riding a 301-minute shutout streak. Their past three results have read: 3-0 (W), 1-0 (W) and 0-0. You have to go back to the 59th minute against NYCFC four matches back for the last goal they’ve conceded. When you consider they also beat this same Fire team on August 20th by a score a 3-0, they’ve now allowed just a single goal over five matches since the league resumed after the MLS is Back Tournament.
All told, across all competitions in regulation in 2020 Columbus is 7-3-1 with 17 goals scored and three conceded. The NYCFC defeat is their only loss in regulation, though after drawing 1-1 against Minnesota in the tournament, they were defeated in penalties.
Columbus has just one loss this season and I don’t see that changing in this one. They’re also offering some good value for a road win in this one.
Pick: Columbus Crew win (+140)
Pick 2: NYCFC vs FC Cincinnati
After a slow start and dropping a 1-0 result to the rival Red Bulls back on August 20, New York City are now undefeated in four-straight matches and will look to extend that streak against a slumping FC Cincinnati team Saturday night at 7:00 pm EST.
New York allowed just a single goal in three wins, 1-0, 3-1 and 2-0, before drawing 0-0 to DC United last weekend. New York will be upset to not have taken all three points considering they held 70-percent possession and had advantages in final third passes (237-52), 19-0 in attempts and 5-0 in shots on target, but simply could not break through DC’s low block.
Maybe no team has looked worse than Cincinnati since the regular season resumed. FCC has two wins on the year but both came during the group stage of MLS is Back. Since they returned from the bubble they are an abysmal 0-3-2 (WDL) and have been outscored 6-0.
RT NYCFC “💥P💥O💥T💥M💥
— NYCFC – Westchester (@NYCFC_914) September 9, 2020
Jaap Stam’s defensive scheme has kept three clean sheets (all 0-0 draws), but both road matches have resulted in 3-0 defeats, one to Chicago on August 25 and another on Sunday away to Columbus. FCC are coming very close to breaking their own record of goal-scoring futility, edging towards a 2019 record of failing to score in 528 minutes.
Heading on the road against an NYC club that is starting to click is not the best opponent for Cincinnati to get back on track against and I’ll bet NYC to win and to score at least a couple of goals.
Pick: New York City FC win & NYC to score Over 1.5 goals (-134)
Pick 3: Nashville SC vs Atlanta United
If you can pick a winner out of this one at 8:30 pm EST Saturday you’re better than me. Neither team inspires much confidence right now. Nashville at least has the excuse of being an expansion team. They’re getting by on defense but won’t strike fear into anyone offensively. They have just five goals scored in nine matches. In the seven matches since they returned to play this summer they have scored four and conceded six. They’re coming off 0-0 and 1-1 draws and three-straight matches which have fallen UNDER 2.5 goal totals. Overall, 7/9 Nashville matches have played to the UNDER.
These teams have basically played a similar schedule of late—Nashville drawing with Miami 0-0 and winning 1-0 and drawing with Orlando 0-0, while Atlanta drew 0-0 and 1-1 with Miami and Orlando respectively, before losing to Miami 2-1 on Wednesday. Atlanta failed to draw level late in the first half with a missed PK.
“Another kangaroo on a springboard save by big Luis Robles.” 🤣 pic.twitter.com/jN81Ek4thR
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 10, 2020
The Five Stripes have one win in eight matches and have scored just five goals. Two of those were from Pity Martinez and he’s now gone. Who scores from either side is anyone’s guess. I love the value on the draw at +250, or even the UNDER 2.5 at -125.
Pick: Draw (+250)
Pick 4: LAFC vs Portland Timbers
Sunday night’s match between LAFC and Portland at 11:00 pm EST will have some of the luster taken off with both teams missing arguably their most important players. 2019 league MVP Carlos Vela is still out with an injured MCL for LAFC, while MLS is Back Tournament MVP Sebastian Blanco suffered a torn ACL for the Timbers early in their match last weekend against Seattle.
Versus Seattle and without Blanco (injured in the second minute), Portland lost 2-1 with their only goal coming late in the 83′ minute. The goal though means all four of Portland’s matches since MLS is Back have seen at least three goals or more scored.
Looking at the bigger picture, in 13 overall matches in 2020, only twice have fewer than three goals been scored in a Timbers’ match—once in a 1-0 win over Nashville in March and another in a 1-1 regulation time draw to FC Cincinnati during the tournament. Both of those opponents struggle immensely to score and are forced to play ultra-conservative. LAFC are not one of those teams.
Sebastian Blanco goes down with an apparent knee injury. pic.twitter.com/pqH8PQklX9
— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) September 7, 2020
At least usually. Despite being tied for the most goals scored in the league with 21, they’ve now been held off the scoresheet in back-to-back matches—both 3-0 losses, including this midweek on the road to RSL. Since returning from the tournament LAFC are 1-0-4 (WDL) and outside of scoring five against the Earthquakes, have scored just a single goal in four other matches.
Defensively, LAFC’s 20 goals conceded are tied for a league-worst. An embarrassing stat for a team of this stature. They’ve now failed to keep a clean sheet in 11-straight matches in all competitions. Bradley Wright-Phillips started Wednesday’s game on the bench as head coach Bob Bradley rotated several players, but will surely return to the starting XI this weekend to at least help LAFC’s offense. He has four goals on the year.
“We are in a period well below our standards. There’s only one thing we can do, play ourselves out of it.”
— LAFC (@LAFC) September 10, 2020
These teams met in the group stage at MLS is Back and split the points in a 2-2 draw. There’s a short overall history between the teams but it was the third-straight match in MLS which has resulted in both teams scoring and the total exceeding two goals. Last year in the regular season LAFC were 4-1 and 3-2 winners. Portland were 1-0 winners over LAFC in the US Open Cup.
During the 2018 season, Portland was undefeated in the regular season, 2-1 and 0-0, while LAFC were 3-2 winners in the Cup. All told in seven overall matches, only once has a match remained scoreless and 5/7 have seen both teams scoring and OVER 2.5 goals. In fact, at least four goals have been scored in four of those matches.
I really don’t trust either defense here and both teams have more than capable strikers.
Pick: Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals (-150)