Dave Farrar predicts plenty of goals in Georgia and New York, while the Chicago surge should continue as he takes a look at this week's MLS action...
“We know all about Atlanta's potential going forward, and when you add the fact that the Crew's last six MLS games have all gone Over 2.5 Goals, I think that you have the makings of a bet.”
Atlanta United v Columbus Crew
Atlanta United have played fewer home games than any other MLS team this season, and after eventually finding a way past the Charleston Battery in the US Open Cup in midweek, they'll be confident ahead of the visit of the Columbus Crew.
Atlanta are far from perfect, but are up there with the most exciting teams to watch in MLS, and that's particularly true at home. They've won three of their five home games so far, and averaged 2.6 goals in them, which is the second highest number in the whole of MLS.
When you consider that only two teams have conceded more than Columbus' 17 on the road, you start to feel that a home win as well as goals could be on the cards.
Atlanta are also buoyed by the return of Josef Martinez from injury: the striker started the season wonderfully, with five goals in his first three games, and it was significant to see him get on the scoresheet in midweek. If you add him to their existing front three, then you have an even more irresistible forward line, one that the Crew will struggle to rein in.
And the stats also back up the influence of Martinez: the team averages three goals per 90 minutes with him in it, 1.6 when he's out. It may be a relatively small sample, but it's still worth noting.
We know all about Atlanta's potential going forward, and when you add the fact that the Crew's last six MLS games have all gone Over 2.5 Goals, I think that you have the makings of a bet. Over 3.5 Goals will be trading at around the [2.9] mark, and that's a fair price.
Back Over 3.5 Goals in Atlanta United v Columbus Crew @ [2.9]
NYCFC v Seattle Sounders
There are also likely to be goals on Saturday evening when NYCFC take on the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders. David Villa is sitting on 49 MLS goals and home fans will look forward to marking that milestone, but when you look at the threats posed by Seattle, you realise that NYCFC could be weak favourites at [2.02].
Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey may have only scored six goals between them so far this campaign, but with Will Bruin in able support, and Nicolas Lodeiro maybe returning to form, it feels like only a matter of time before Morris and Dempsey catch fire.
Seattle's title defence has been sketchy so far, but one consistent theme has been their ability to win low scoring games at home, and lose high scoring ones on their travels. The difference in home and away styles is marked, and the way that the Sounders have been defending on their travels would indicate that they'll concede at least once to a potent NYCFC attack on Saturday.
Jack Harrison provides excellent back up to Villa, and NYCFC are second top scorers in the Eastern Conference for a reason. I think that there'll be goals on Saturday, in what could end up as a high scoring draw.
Back Over 3.5 Goals in NYCFC v Seattle Sounders @ [2.9]
New England Revolution v Chicago Fire
I know that New England are unbeaten at home this season, and I know also that if things continue like this, I'm going to get very poor very quickly by opposing them, but I do think that the Chicago Fire are too big for their visit this weekend.
The Fire have now won five of their last six MLS games, and have already beaten the Revs once this season, and they did so comfortably.
They're unbeaten in their last four away games, and they certainly have the quality to come away from New England with a win, and the fact that they're [3.8] to do so makes that proposition more than tempting.
Nemanja Nikolic has been one of the revelations of this MLS season so far, already scoring three more goals than any Fire player managed in the whole of last season, and they've improved out of sight defensively, keeping clean sheets in five of their last six games.
And when you look in detail at New England's home record, it's only their win against Toronto FC that is truly impressive. They've been favoured by a kind fixture list and I feel that we'll see them slip down the table gradually, especially when (and it will happen) Juan Agudelo loses form.
You can lay New England at [2.04], which is a good insurance bet if you want to keep the draw onside, but I'll take Veljko Paunovic's team to grab all three points, and keep this Chicago surge going.
Back Chicago Fire to beat New England Revolution @ [3.8]
Staked: 42 points
Returned: 51.71 points
P/L: + 9.71 points