Dave Farrar predicts overs will prove profitable when NYCFC host Atlanta United and the Whitecaps welcome Orlando City, but expects SKC to back to their old selves in Portland...
“Eight of the last ten NYCFC matches have gone Over 3.5 Goals, with Vieira’s team now having won six home games in a row, outscoring their opponents 18-2 in that period”
Goal machines face off
NYCFC v Atlanta United
Live on Sky Sports Football
After playing out an excellent 2-2 draw at Mercedes Benz Stadium earlier this season, two of the early MLS Cup favourites go at it again in the Bronx as NYCFC face Atlanta, in what might just be described as a shootout between David Villa and Josef Martinez.
It wouldn't be a huge surprise to find the home side a little unsettled: the rumours linking their coach Patrick Vieira to the job at Nice just won't go away, and they're reeling a little after being beaten 4-0 by their city rival Red Bulls in the US Open Cup in midweek, their second such defeat this campaign.
Their League form is good, though, and currently consistent in terms of the goals that are being scored in their games. Eight of the last ten NYCFC matches have gone Over 3.5 Goals, with Vieira's team now having won six home games in a row, outscoring their opponents 18-2 in that period. Yankee Stadium is fast becoming a fortress.
Atlanta will bring a little more firepower to the party than most, with Martinez fresh from yet another record breaking MLS hat-trick, and they'll also be encouraged by the injury to Yangel Herrera which significantly weakens NYCFC.
That makes Atlanta an intriguing prospect at around the [3.4] mark, but once again I find it interesting to see Over 3.5 Goals at [2.3] for a game that looks like it'll be very watchable.
Defending optional in Vancouver
Vancouver Whitecaps v Orlando City
Live on Sky Sports Football
I think that there are likely to be goals as well in Vancouver, as the 'Caps take on an Orlando side who have faded badly after their club record six wins in a row.
Jason Kreis' team are now down to sixth in the East after four defeats on the trot, and the return of Jonathan Spector from injury can't come soon enough. Spector was back for the US Open Cup win in midweek against Miami United FC, and is likely to start this one.
Orlando's games have consistently produced goals, and with four of Vancouver's last five going Over 3.5 (the exception being last week's 2-1 win in Colorado), I think that goals are the smart play here as well. The Whitecaps are missing their influential centre-half Kendall Waston and are still adjusting to a new look back four, while the visitors never really convince defensively.
Dom Dwyer's likely absence for Orlando is a worry, but Sacha Klejstan and Josue Colman linked well last week, and with Carl Robinson committed to getting the Whitecaps onto the front foot and dominating games, especially at home, I expect them to win handsomely here, and for the game to have at least four goals in the process.
Few goals, plenty of profit
Portland Timbers v Sporting KC
Outside of the Bronx, the game of the weekend comes in Portland, where the in form Timbers take on a Sporting KC side that is once more becoming extremely difficult to play against.
It was quite a shock when Peter Vermes' team opened the season with a series of high scoring thrillers, given his well-earned reputation for producing fairly dour, and yet extremely effective football, and now it would seem that SKC have reverted to type, and put themselves in a strong position by doing so.
The visitors are top of the Western Conference, and with Portland in fifth after their run of six consecutive wins was halted by the LA Galaxy last time, this looks set to be a real heavyweight battle.
I can't avoid the feeling that the 0-0 draw is a big runner, and that this game may be settled by a single goal. For all Portland's apparent attacking flair, they are a defence first kind of team, and the statistics bear out the Timbers' likely approach, and indeed that of SKC.
Three of Portland's last four home games have gone Under 2.5 Goals, while in the case of Vermes' side, that figure is six of their last seven. Under 2.5 really shouldn't be trading at odds against, and is only doing so because of the reputation of the League for being a high scoring one, which makes it a value call for us.
Dave's 2018 MLS P/L
Staked: 42 points
Returned: 46.44 points
P/L: + 4.44 points