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MLS Predictions, Picks and Betting Advice For 8/20/23

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Betting Advice for MLS 8/20/23

WagerTalk MLS handicapper Nick Borrman presents his August 20 MLS predictions and picks around key matches including Columbus Crew vs FC Cincinnati and Chicago Fire vs Orlando City SC. Which teams is he looking to pick up points and which will have goal scoring? Read his betting preview now!

Toronto FC vs CF Montreal | 8/20/23 | 7:30pm ET

Toronto +125 | Draw +235 | Montreal +185
Asian Handicap: Toronto -0.25 | Total: 2.5

Screen Shot 2023 08 17 at 8.06.12 AM

Nothing more exciting than watching two bad teams duke it out and that’s exactly what we have here on Saturday night as the MLS returns to action following the Leagues Cup break.

Toronto have just three wins this season in now 26 matches including their two Leagues Cup group stage games.  Three. They are averaging 0.91 xG per match which ranks dead last in the league, though that does uptick to 1.09 at home, which is slightly better at 4th worst in the league.

However, their defense hasn’t been terrible allowing 1.32 xGA this season which is better than 12 teams but that does drop to only 1.13 at home.  Because of their anemic offense but somewhat solid defense, their matches generally don’t see a lot of goals, or rather, don’t see a lot of action from both teams.  Only ten of their 24 matches this season have seen both teams score.

That holds true even more so with Montreal who lead the league with a ridiculous 3-20 BTTS Yes-No record.  Yes, 20 of their 23 matches have seen one side fail to score, a whopping 87% No rate.  Montreal has scored in just three of their 12 away matches this season with basically all their success coming at home.

Montreal averages just slightly above Toronto with 1.08 xG per match this season, dropping to 1.03 on the road.  Though their defense has been much very bad on the road allowing 1.78 xGA.  However, it’s sort of been a Jekyll and Hyde situation as Montreal has kept nine clean sheets, it’s just when they do concede, it can often turn into two, three or more.

Going to trust the trends for both teams hold true once more here.

TAKE BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE NO +125

Columbus Crew vs FC Cincinnati | 8/20/23 | 7:30pm ET

Columbus -105 | Draw +240 | Cincinnati +250
Asian Handicap: Columbus -0.5 | Total: 2.75

Screen Shot 2023 08 17 at 8.06.30 AM

The battle of Ohio usually produces plenty of fireworks and I expect that to be the case once again at the teams return to action on Sunday.

Both teams qualified from their group in the Leagues Cup but were each eliminated in the first knockout round, so both are on equal rest.

Columbus’ three Cup matches averaged 4.67 goal per match.  That follows a trend in their previous 14 MLS matches leading up to the Leagues Cup in which there were a total of 50 goals in 14 matches, an average of 3.57 goals per match.  They had a 10-4 Over record during that stretch and if you include the Cup, 13 of their last 17 matches have finished Over the total.

Cincinnati is having a tremendous year which started out thanks to their defense as they kept five clean sheets in their first seven matches, allowing an average of only 0.57 goals per match, and won four 1-0 games along the way.  Since then, they have kept just four clean sheets over their last 19 matches and have allowed an average of 1.37 goals per match.  Over their last eight matches, they have conceded at least one goal in each and allowed 1.75 goals per match.

You can see the trend defensively is getting worse for this team, luckily for them, their offense has clicked into full gear, and they are still winning games as they have scored at least two goals in 11 of their last 16 and scored three goals in seven of those.

I’m inclined to believe the Leagues Cup break will not help defenses either as they are likely not to be in sync with one another along the back which will only help us fly Over this total.

TAKE OVER 2.75 GOALS -125

Chicago Fire vs Orlando City SC | 8/20/23 | 8:30pm ET

Chicago +120 | Draw +230 | Orlando +205
Asian Handicap: Chicago -0.25 | Total: 2.75

Screen Shot 2023 08 17 at 8.06.21 AM

Chicago has been very good at home this season with just one loss through 12 matches.  They have settled for six draws though to go along with five wins.  They had been playing their best just before the Leagues Cup break winning three straight at home, keeping clean sheets in all three.

However, there are warning signs that it could come crashing down.  Chicago has averaged 1.58 goals scored per match but on only 1.04 xG while allowing just 1.08 goals per match on a much higher 1.42 xGA.  While actual goals scored and xG don’t necessarily match one another every single match, over time, those averages will start to creep closer and closer to each other.

That just means we are looking at a team overperforming quite a bit both offensively and defensively at home and some regression seems inevitable.  American Soccer Analysis has Chicago overperforming by nearly 6.9 points at home this season.

Orlando meanwhile has been solid away from home with only three losses to go with four wins and four draws.  They have been scoring a few more goals than expected as well, averaging 1.45 goals per match vs 1.24 xG, but their defensive numbers have been right in line at 1.45 allowed on 1.53 xGA.

Since the beginning of May, Orlando had just two losses over their final 13 matches prior to the Leagues Cup break.  They then beat Santos Laguna and drew with Houston in their Leagues Cup group before being eliminated by Messi’s Inter Miami which we know the magic story happening there.

I expect their form to continue as MLS play resumes this weekend vs a team destined to begin losing points at home.

TAKE ORLANDO CITY +0.25 -110

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