Nicolas Lodeiro

Nicolas Lodeiro leads the Seattle Sounders into a Casadia Rivalry match against the Portland Timbers this week. Photo by @SoundersFC (Twitter)

  • MLS Week 20 includes 12 matches from Thursday to Sunday
  • Plenty of rivalries on tap with Seattle vs Portland, Miami vs Orlando and LAFC vs LA Galaxy
  • Read on for the odds and our best bets from MLS Week 20 here

It’s basically a full week of MLS action as Week 19 spilled into Monday and Tuesday and Week 20 gets started early with Seattle hosting Portland in a huge Western Conference showdown on Thursday.

Nashville will play New England on Friday with both playing on super short rest. New England lost to Philly on Monday, and Nashville defeated Dallas on Tuesday. Saturday features a full slate of nine matches followed by an El Trafico matchup on Sunday.

With the completion of Week 19, four teams in the East have now clinched a playoff spot in Toronto, Philadelphia, Columbus and Orlando City SC. Though it was announced this week the Supporters’ Shield will not be awarded this year (though now additional conversations are being had), it does look like the top team overall will come from the East, with Toronto leading the way at 41 points.

Oddly, all four of the top teams in the West are coming off both a draw and loss, with first place on the line between the Sounders and Timbers. The week closes out with LAFC vs LA Sunday at 3:30 pm EST. For the first time in seven matches, the Galaxy won a match. They defeated Vancouver 1-0 with a late winner last week and it came with Chicharito starting on the bench. Will Guillermo Barros Schelotto bench his superstar DP again?

Let’s look at the Week 20 odds and provide some best bets below.

MLS Week 20 Odds

Matchup Home Draw Away
Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers -150 +320 +333
Nashville SC vs New England Revolution +160 +260 +150
Inter Miami vs Orlando City +105 +260 +230
Atlanta United vs DC United -134 +280 +333
Chicago Fire vs New York Red Bulls +115 +260 +220
FC Cincinnati vs Minnesota United +175 +260 +137
New York City FC vs Montreal Impact -250 +375 +600
Philadelphia Union vs Toronto FC +145 +260 +155
Houston Dynamo vs Columbus Crew +140 +260 +160
Real Salt Lake vs FC Dallas +105 +230 +260
Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes +225 +240 +120
Los Angeles FC vs LA Galaxy -188 +320 +450

All odds taken Oct 21 at Bet365

Pick 1: Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers

The highlight match of the round features two Western Conference leaders, Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers, both tied with 31 points atop the conference.

Seattle holds the edge in goal-differential at +18, based largely on their strong defensive play in only allowing 17 goals, compared to the 30 that Portland has allowed; Both teams have been prolific offensively, with Portland edging out Seattle 38-35 in goals for. The Sounders rank first in xG in the league at 31.1 with Portland ranking 11th at 22.8 according to Seattle is also one of only two teams, Toronto being the other, to own an xG Differential that is in the double-digits to the good at +17.5.

The Cascadia rivalry has tilted in Portland’s favor this year with the Sounders winning 3-0 in Portland on August 23, but the Timbers winning 2-1 in Seattle and 1-0 at home during two September meetings. Portland’s win on September 23 was actually the first win for a home team between the two in five matches. It was also the first time in seven matches that at least three goals were not scored between the teams. In six of those seven matches both teams had also scored.

Seattle had been on a run of three-straight wins and wins in five of six, however, are now winless in two. Their past two matches have seen the fall 3-1 to a depleted LAFC side and draw 0-0 to San Jose last Sunday. Against the Earthquakes, little offense was produced by either side with both teams registering only a single shot on target. Seattle will have to make due on Thursday without Raul Ruidiaz who tested positive for the coronavirus while away with Peru.

Portland’s form is actually fairly similar to Seattle’s in that they had won five-straight, prior to a 2-1 loss to RSL on October 14 and last Sunday’s 1-1 draw with LAFC. The Timbers may be without an offensive option of their own. Jeremy Ebobisse has eight goals on the year and scored Portland’s goal in the draw with LAFC.

However, he was forced to leave the match late-on with a leg injury. Should he be held out of the lineup, his league-leading 75 consecutive match appearances will come to an end.

Outside of the most recent matchup, these teams usually produce goals when they meet up and both have the offenses to do so. Though both could be without some attacking talent.

Still, I wouldn’t put anyone off betting on goals, however, I see some great value with +320 on the draw. These teams don’t end level often, last drawing in a regular season game on August 27, 2017. However, with first place on the line, this one could get a little cagey and if the score is level as the game winds down, both may settle for a share of the points.

Pick: Draw (+320)

Pick 2: Inter Miami vs Orlando City SC

This newly-minted in-state rivalry will get its fourth edition this year at 3:30 pm EST Saturday afternoon.

So far, goals have been on the menu when these teams meet and home teams have come out on top. Orlando took the first meeting at the MLS is Back Tournament by a 2-1 scoreline as hosts of the tournament.

The teams met in their first games back during the restart in Miami’s home opener, a 3-2 Inter win. They met again in Orlando on September 12, a 2-1 Lions win.

Miami is one of the highest OVER teams in the league at 12-7 to OVER 2.5 totals. However, they’ve managed to score just one goal in each of their past three (W 1-0), (T 1-1) and (L 2-1). Their most recent result, a 2-1 loss to Montreal came on Saturday which saw the Impact score the winning goal with ten minutes remaining in regulation. The loss was made worse by the fact that star DP striker Gonzalo Higuain was given a red card after the match for verbal abuse of an official.

In Miami’s last ten matches, they have now kept just a single clean sheet but have also scored in nine of ten matches.

With a 1-1 draw against the Red Bulls on Sunday, Orlando City has clinched their-first ever spot in the playoffs. Orlando led off a Nani penalty in the 56′ minute but fell victim to a 95′ minute equalizer by the Red Bulls to see the full three points slip from their grips.

The point though extends Orlando’s undefeated streak to an incredible 12 matches which has seen them go 6-6-0 (WDL). Where Miami’s matches have skewed to the OVER, Orlando has seen four of their five recent matches fall UNDER 2.5 total goals. With two 0-0 draws and two 1-1 draws, they’ve also drawn four of their past five.

Orlando’s work isn’t done though, as they need to hold off an improving New England Revolution side who are just four points back of Orlando for fourth place.

I could see both teams scoring in this one (-163), but without Higuain up top for Miami, the value has to lie with Orlando at +230. However, Orlando’s recent propensity for low-scoring draws puts me off an outright Lions’ win. So instead, backing Orlando on the ‘Draw No Bet’ (+137) or ‘Double Chance’ (-138) markets looks to be the best bet. I’ll bet on Orlando to win or draw to cover both outcomes.

Pick: Orlando City SC – Double Chance (-138)

Pick 3: Houston Dynamo vs Columbus Crew

The Houston Dynamo are tenth in the West and one point out of the playoffs. They’ll host the Columbus Crew, third in the East at 8:00 pm EST Saturday.

Throughout the summer, all the talk around Columbus was about their suffocating defense. They allowed just one goal in four matches at MLS is Back and just three goals in seven matches when the season resumed after the tournament. But with injuries to Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Zelarayan and keeper Eloy Room, the Crew have now failed to keep a clean sheet in six-straight matches.

Columbus have allowed 11 goals in those six games, with multiple goals allowed in four-straight. Coming into last weekend’s match against NYCFC, they were also winless in those four matches where they conceded more than one goal.

The Crew jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Sunday, eventually going on to win 3-1 against New York to snap that skid and lock up a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Perhaps Columbus is coming out of their slump, but traveling to Houston may be an unlikely spot for their defense to finally keep a clean sheet. The Crew drew 1-1 in Seattle back in March and are 0-3-3 (WDL) in their six away matches since the tournament. They kept a clean sheet in just one of those six and that came against an offensively challenged FC Cincinnati (0-0). They’ve allowed multiple goals in each of their past four road dates.

Houston is struggling to grab a playoff spot in the West, but the Dynamo are 3-2-2 (WDL) in seven home dates since the tournament. They’ve scored multiple goals in four of those matches, but have also conceded in four as well.

On Sunday, they traveled to Minnesota and despite falling behind 2-0 just 30 minutes into the match, the Dynamo fought back in the second with two goals of their own to draw 2-2.

Houston is dreadful on the road and with just two home dates left in their final four games, they know they likely need points at home in this one if they want a chance at playoffs. The Dynamo should score but I don’t see them keeping the Crew in check all game either, resulting in goals both ways. You could bet on both teams scoring at -175, but the better value lies with both scoring and OVER 2.5 goals.

Pick: Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals (-110)

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