Major League Soccer competes with Liga MX for the title of North America’s premier soccer competition, capturing the attention of Canadian and American footie fans between March and November. The league continues to grow and homegrown as well as international stars continue to raise the talent level of the MLS, lifting the quality of the on-pitch product on a yearly basis. The MLS Cup is the top prize, with the best from the east and the west fighting for the crown.
MLS Cup Futures 2017
The path to the MLS Cup represents a long grind, beginning with the 34-game regular season, ending with a conference playoff gauntlet. Odds for MLS Cup futures will fluctuate throughout the 2017 campaign, reflecting the change in each team’s circumstances throughout the year. The emergence of star players, injuries, hot streaks and cold spells all factor into odds calculations.
The Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC put on a show for the 20th anniversary of the MLS Cup, with the match ending up decided by penalty kicks after two hours of hard fought soccer in the cold confines of BMO Field. Neither team had earned a championship before, rubbing salt in the wound of Reds fans, who witnessed the Sounders lift their first Philip F. Anschutz Trophy on Toronto soil.
This year, bookmakers and soccer aficionados have anointed Toronto and Seattle as two of the top favorites to reach the MLS Cup. The New York Red Bulls and the L.A. Galaxy, traditional MLS powerhouses, round out the top four to begin the season. Despite earning their first Supporters’ Shield in 2016, FC Dallas appears to be a relatively unpopular pick to win outright, providing a strong potential payout for a team with proven consistency.
MLS Eastern Conference Outright Odds
The MLS eastern conference doesn’t appear to feature the depth found on the other coast, even if teams like the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC remain capable of running through any side in the league. Last year’s table was dominated by the two New York teams, while Toronto faded to a third-place finish down the stretch.
However, in the playoffs, Montreal and Toronto ousted all challengers before meeting in one of the most exciting conference finals in MLS history. The Reds and the Red Bulls will be favored to take the east in 2017, although punters should expect a surprise or two on the way.
MLS Western Conference Outright Odds
Similar to the NBA, the western conference has traditionally fielded the best teams in the MLS for the past couple of decades. Any one of the top four contenders – FC Dallas, LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids and the Seattle Sounders – could easily dominate the entire season with a bit of good fortune and consistent perspiration.
Last year, Seattle hovered close to being eliminated from the playoffs, before turning into a resilient defensive behemoth which plowed through the best teams in the western conference. Despite the fact that Dallas, Colorado and LA appear to have an advantage on paper, Seattle’s in a great position to build on their amazing 2016 run, lifting their odds on sportsbooks.
MLS Soccer Future Bets Explained
Betting on futures represents a departure from the most popular type of wagering, which typically involves betting on a single match or stringing together several wagers into a parley or accumulator. Predicting the outcome of long-term events, like an eastern conference championship, Supporters’ Shield, MVP or MLS Golden Boot winner, requires solid knowledge of the league, as well as a bit of luck. Anything can happen over the course of a half year, which leads to the certainly of a few unpredictable outcomes during any campaign.
For MLS Cup futures, you’ll notice that the odds for each team are relatively high, even for teams considered favorites. Winning an MLS Cup is extremely difficult even for the best sides, so the payout you receive when you win your futures bet tends to be far more profitable than less ambitious types of wagering. Few predicted Seattle’s first MLS Cup championship, leading to solid winnings for anyone who placed money on the Sounders.
If you don’t have a good grasp of the potential outright winner, you can still wager on which team will win their conference, or bet on individual player achievements. In some cases, you may want to keep track of line movements. Waiting for a dip in odds on the team you think will win can increase the payout you receive, creating added value for patient punters.
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