Orlando City vs. NYCFC Odds
|Orlando City Odds||+143 [BET NOW]|
|NYCFC Odds||+163 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+270 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-143/+112) [BET NOW]|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
Orlando City SC welcomes New York City FC to the “Sunshine State” on Saturday for their match, which kicks off the first round of the Major League Soccer postseason.
This is one of the more evenly paired first-round contests, and one I am really looking forward to seeing take place. I’ve really been impressed with some of the results Orlando City has pulled off this season, including a runner-up finish at this past summer’s MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.
On the other side, NYCFC has the potential to make a real run in the playoffs.
Bottom line, this game should be pretty intense and full of excitement.
Orlando City SC
Orlando City finished the season with 41 points in the Eastern Conference, good enough for fourth place in the regular-season standings. That record secured the Lions this home playoff match.
In what I believe is a very even matchup, having home field might be the deciding factor that pushes Orlando City over the top. From the midsummer tournament to their regular-season effort, the Lions really impressed me.
Now, some might point to some recent weak form, highlighted by a 3-2 loss to Nashville in Orlando that closed out the regular season.
However, I have two things I can point out to those with concerns. First, Nashville is no slouch and could make some noise in these playoffs. Second, that was the lone home loss Orlando City endured in the regular season.
Similar to Nashville, I have backed Orlando City when its playing at home many times over the past two months, which has been a profitable and successful strategy. I really like how manager Oscar Pareja, who I rate highly as a coach, has the Lions playing entering the playoffs.
The good news is Orlando City gets Nani, who happens to be its best player, back from suspension for this game. He could be the difference maker, but Orlando City is a pretty deep team and got results short-handed during the season as well.
The Lions generated 1.47 expected goals per match over the course of the season, conceding just 1.15 xGA/game at the same time.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
I do think Orlando City have an advantage when it comes to its goalkeeper and defense, which is good because NYCFC can be really dangerous on the attack.
New York City FC
The Boys in Blue also had a successful season, finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference on 39 points. NYCFC has playoff experience, which is something that could help it heading into the postseason.
The club’s form is quite strong, coming in winners of four consecutive games. However, its performance against Orlando City has been a bit weaker. NYCFC suffered a 3-1 loss against its host at the MLS is Back Tournament, then settled for a 1-1 draw in mid-October fixture.
Overall, NYCFC is 0-3-2 in the last five meetings with Orlando City.
I do think this club is finally healthy and quite dangerous, picking up momentum down the stretch. NYCFC put together a solid 6-3-4 away record in league play, which means a victory here would not surprise many people.
The one area NYCFC does have an edge is in its explosiveness and attacking prowess in its opponent’s defensive third of the pitch.
During the season, NYCFC generated 1.64 xG/game, which was 0.17 more than Orlando City. The Boys in Blue also dealt with a good amount of injuries.
I think that number could be lower with a fully fit NYCFC squad. The club did concede 1.24 xGA/game, which was 0.09 more than Orlando City.
If I’m betting against NYCFC, I would hold my breath when it goes forward with numbers. However, I wouldn’t count myself out if Orlando City conceded an early goal, either.
To sum things up, that’s really is how I view the visiting side. NYCFC does have playoff pedigree and invaluable experience on its roster, which is a positive when going against a club like Orlando City.
Betting Analysis & Pick
As I mentioned earlier, this is such an even match. NYCFC has the explosiveness to pull off the win and advance, but I am going to back Orlando city in this first-round confrontation.
I do think whomever wins this game could make a deep, playoff run. I’m going to lean on Orlando City’s sustained success and form over the course of the whole season, rather than the recent showings from NYCFC. I also give Orlando City the edge playing at home, which could put it over the top.
Pick: Orlando City Pick (-120) — play up to -130