Things are ready to heat up in Major League Soccer, with the postseason schedule commencing Friday with an array of intriguing matches.
Top seed Philadelphia, which just won its first Supporters‘ Shield after putting together the best overall record in the regular season, has been installed at the early 4-1 favorite to win MLS Cup at DraftKings.
Right behind Philadelphia is defending MLS Cup champion Seattle and Los Angeles Football Club, both at 5-1 odds. Coincidentally, these sides battle Tuesday at CenturyLink Field in what’s easily the biggest first-round match.
However, LAFC could be without star Diego Rossi for that showdown after the MLS Golden Boot winner recently tested positive for COVID-19 when he was with Uruguay during the international break. I was already fading LAFC prior to this news, so this just furthers my belief it will be one-and-done for the club.
MLS Is Back Tournament runner-up Orlando City (6-1) and fellow Eastern Conference side New York City (7-1) round out the top five in the market.
That said, Let’s take a look at the contenders, featuring two clubs from each side of the bracket, and see who we think will be the latest MLS Cup winner.
Outright MLS Cup Winner Picks
Odds via DraftKings
Philadelphia Union (4-1)
What a season it has been for the Union, which won the Eastern Conference after going 14-4-5 for 47 points during the abbreviated regular season. Philadelphia finished three points clear of league power Toronto FC, securing home-field advantage through the playoffs.
Captain Alejandro Bedoya, along with forwards Sergio Santos and Kacper Przybylko, have been the driving forces throughout the season, putting this team in prime position to win MLS Cup for the first time in franchise history.
Typically, I’m not a fan of this kind of chalk, but getting these kind of odds on a club that has been a model of consistency is a pretty fair price.
Toronto FC (8-1)
The 2017 MLS Cup champion and last year’s runner-up was sitting pretty a few weeks back atop the conference standings, but was hit with a slew of injuries that led to it falling behind Philadelphia.
Jozy Altidore, Pablo Piatti, Johnathan Osorio, Ayo Akinola and others all missed significant amount of time, which led to the Reds’ worst stretch of results in the most untimeliest part of the campaign and a second-place finish.
That being said, I still love the number we’re getting on a team that’s made MLS Cup three of the last four seasons. Obviously, health is a factor, but I can’t play against a club that shows up time and time again when it matters most.
Hopefully, the international break did wonders for Toronto FC in the healing department and it’s back at full strength. Keep an eye on player-availability updates surrounding the Reds prior to Tuesday’s playoff game to see if they’re near or at 100 percent.
If so, I would jump all over these odds, because you won’t see them again.
Let me just put it things this way. Not having the Sounders, winners of two of the last four MLS Cup titles, among your plays is just silly and irresponsible.
Like Toronto FC, Seattle consistently turns things up another notch when the postseason arrives. The Sounders, who finished tied Sporting Kansas City and Portland atop the conference standings but wound up second due to the tiebreaker, obviously knows what it takes at this stage of the campaign.
Standouts Nicolás Lodeiro, Jordan Morris and Raúl Ruidíaz have been fantastic for Seattle, which is a slight overlay to successfully defend its crown in my opinion. Play the Sounders at this price, because I believe this number might tick down a notch following the news about Rossi and overall LAFC situation.
I have nothing but love for the Timbers, who somehow managed to finish tied for first in the conference despite losing two of its best players — Sebastián Blanco and Jaroslaw Niezgoda — to injury for much of the regular season.
Add in the fact Portland has recently been without striker Jeremy Ebobisse, who head coach Giovanni Savarese is hopeful will be cleared from concussion protocol for its opening match against FC Dallas, and you have a team that really performed above the majority of pundits’ expectations.
If you recall, I picked the Timbers as one of my dark horses to win the MLS is Back Tournament at 28-1 odds this past summer. Thankfully, Portland won the championship and cashed at a huge price. So, if you tailed that play, you’re playing with house money in this spot.
Needless to say, we aren’t getting those lofty odds, but this is still a very ripe number and overlay in my opinion. Take a full swing on Portland to pull off the title double if you dare.