NYCFC got their hands on the MLS Cup in 2021, after a long wait, and they look underrated in the futures markets ahead of the 2022 season.
Who do Bettors Favor?
A study of the best sportsbook sites shows that not all the sportsbooks are agreed on the order of the betting markets for the 2022 season, but three times are rated more highly than the rest.
Seattle Sounders are the most common favourites, but New England Revolution is also getting some support, and LAFC is close behind. Below the top three, things are a little more volatile, particularly when it comes to Toronto’s price, as they are rated as 11.00 or 15.00 depending on where you look.
|MLS Cup Winner|
Which Teams Can win the MLS Cup?
As the odds show, three well-known sides are slated to contend for the 2022 crown, with LAFC, the New England Revolution, and the Seattle Sounders all being contenders at this point.
New England was the best team throughout the regular season, but they were the latest in a long line of teams to be eliminated at the playoff stage. Given their domination for most of the year, that experience may take some time to recover from. They can compete again, of course, but with other teams developing around them, they may have wasted their opportunity.
Defeat in the first playoff round was a shock for Seattle, although they had endured a rough stretch at the conclusion of the regular season. The campaign's disappointing close should serve as motivation for a stable and proven team in 2022, and they are the most solid choice among the top three in the MLS Cup Winners market.
LAFC is highly ranked by bookies, owing to their excellent finale to the 2021 regular season, which was aided by Cristian Arango's goals. With Carlos Vela back in the lineup, they'll have one of the league's best front lines.
Still, it's unclear if they'll be able to maintain that form for the whole campaign, and given the uncertainty, they'd be a very risky bet, therefore NYCFC seems to be the better option. Given that the champions were highly consistent throughout 2021 and succeeded despite losing several key players at crucial points, it's interesting to see the defending champions rated outside the top three in the futures betting markets, which could be a mistake from the bookies.
Which Other Teams are in MLS Contention?
We highlighted Toronto’s price volatility above, which could imply an opportunity for punters. Toronto endured a nightmare in 2021 but some sportsbooks are wary of underestimating them this time around, and there is some reason to agree with that assessment.
Toronto moved very quickly to secure the services of Bob Bradley as soon as he left LAFC, which Above, we mentioned Toronto's price volatility, which might indicate a betting opportunity. Toronto had a nightmare in 2021, but some bookies are cautious of overlooking them this year, and there's reason to believe they're right.
As soon as Bob Bradley departed LAFC, Toronto moved fast to obtain his services, ensuring that their squad is led by one of the best and most qualified MLS managers. They've also added Italian international Lorenzo Insigne to their squad, which already includes Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. They are a great pick at a high price.
Atlanta United could be another team worth keeping an eye on in Major League Soccer. They had a terrible start to the 2020 season, winning just twice until mid-August, but they ended strong, going unbeaten in their last six games, only to be eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual winners, NYCFC.
Atlanta was the dominating force in Major League Soccer not that long ago, and many of that group of players remain in place, including the prolific Josef Martinez. I anticipate them to be much more prominently positioned throughout the season this time around after a stronger start.
Checking out the MLS Newcomers
With the addition of Charlotte FC to the MLS in 2022, the league will expand to 28 teams, this season, with the newcomers joining the Eastern Conference and Nashville SC moving to the Western Conference.
It's difficult to predict how the new team will perform. The recent history of expansion teams has been mixed. While LAFC and Nashville FC have had excellent beginnings, Austin FC and FC Cincinnati have suffered. Charlotte, though, seems to be on the mend. They have an ambitious young coach in Miguel Angel Ramirez, as well as a smattering of experience and creativity across the team, including first-round draft pick Ben Bender, who had a fantastic season last year.
We can't expect Charlotte to make the playoffs, but don't be shocked if they throw a few surprises along the road, and they may be a team to bet on in Match Winners markets in the first half of the season.
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