Dave Farrar predicts Sporting KC to run into trouble, Chicago Fire success and Fourth of July fireworks in Minnesota.
“Jim Curtin's team have won two of their last three meetings with SKC, and they're favourably priced at around [6.2] to end that run of 18 home games without defeat.”
I felt that there would be goals in Columbus's home game against Atlanta at the weekend, but their shot-shy performance let me down. I'm staying with the same bet for the Crew's trip to another MLS newbie in the shape of Minnesota United.
Columbus have now lost four consecutive MLS away games, yet are being priced as favourites to beat an occasionally hapless Minnesota. Given the way that Adrian Heath's team played against NYCFC last week, though, and given the break that they have had in between games, Minnesota could well be a bet here at [2.98].
I prefer to look at the goals markets though: having already made the case at the weekend for Columbus and their ability to score and concede, I won't go over old ground, but Minnesota are likely to let the Crew play (they've given up 5.7 shots on target per game, the 2nd most in MLS) and they're likely to score themselves (they've only failed to score in one of their last nine home games in MLS).
Four of Minnesota's last five MLS games have gone Over 3.5 Goals, and I think that there's a strong chance of that eventuality in this one as well.
Back Over 3.5 Goals in Minnesota United v Columbus Crew @ [2.4]
For all that Portland were unfortunate not to win in Kansas City at the weekend, that shouldn't mask the fact that they were only marginally better than a poor home team.
The Timbers are in trouble, picking up just 10 points from their last 11 games, and their high League position is all about the brilliant start that they made to the season. They're up against a Chicago Fire team who are full of confidence and celebrating their move to the top of the Eastern Conference.
The figures are against Chicago. The Timbers have never lost to them on the seven occasions that the sides have met, and Portland have lost only one of their last fourteen games at Providence Park. At what point, though, does current form overtake historical stats? If you'd watched these two over the last few weeks, your eyes and your common sense would tell you that Chicago have every chance of winning.
The Fire are [3.6] to come away with a win, and that price almost dictates the bet. With Nemanja Nikolic on course to break the MLS regular season scoring record, and with the Hungarian ably supported by the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Michael De Leeuw, they're in tremendous form, and feel that they can sweep all before them.
They've scored four goals in consecutive games, and could well be at their destructive best again in this midweek round of fixtures.
Back Chicago Fire to beat Portland Timbers @ [3.6]
Our lay of SKC at odds-on against Portland at the weekend paid out, and now we have to decide whether to go in again as Philadelphia visit Children's Mercy Park. The logic behind that bet remains rock solid: SKC were always going to struggle without Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, and with Benny Feilhaber half-fit as well, they were poor against Portland.
Peter Vermes' side were extremely fortunate not to lose that game, and they really shouldn't be odds-on to follow that display with a victory against the Philadelphia Union. Jim Curtin's team have won two of their last three meetings with SKC, and they're favourably priced at around [6.2] to end that run of 18 home games without defeat.
The Union were really impressive in the way that they dismantled the New England Revolution at the weekend, and while they've won only four of their last 27 MLS matches on the road, I think that they have a chance here against an understrength SKC side who may just be fading.
Portland are far from watertight defensively, and yet Vermes' men conjured only one shot on target against them on Saturday night, and Philadelphia will feel that they can defend stoutly enough to keep them out, and have enough quality going forward to cause a surprise.
Backing Philly to win would be the gung-ho play, but I'll keep the draw on my side, as Sporting KC are far too short to win this one.
Lay Sporting KC against Philadelphia Union @ [1.64]
Staked: 51 points
Returned: 64.91 points
P/L: + 13.91 points