Pandora Hughes brings us the latest MLS betting picks for the final round of regular-season games.
The MLS soccer regular season is reaching its conclusion ahead of what promises to be an exciting series of play-off match-ups and there are still many issues to be decided in both Conferences.
|NY Red Bulls||2.95||3.10||2.90|
Nashville v NY Red Bulls 2021-11-07
A win or a tie will be enough to get the Red Bulls into the playoffs, but if they want to secure a top-four spot, a victory is essential, and that should give them the motivation they need to secure all three points on Decision Day against opponents who have already tied up a top-four berth.
Nashville aren’t exactly finishing the season strong, in fact, they’ve won only one of their last five MLS games, although they are tough to beat, and have recorded six ties in their last eight. That suggests the Red Bulls are in for a tough afternoon, but they can take inspiration from the fact that they dominated the last game between these two sides, winning 2-0 on 59% possession.
New York City v Philadelphia, 2021-11-07
Like Nashville, Philadelphia have already booked their top-four spot, but unlike their Eastern Conference rivals, the Union are finishing strong. They’ve won six of their last ten and drawn three, and they won’t want to lose that momentum going into the play-offs.
New York have also sewn up a play-off place but if they want to end up in the top four, they need a win or a tie here. The last time they met Philadelphia, in August, they lost 1-0 but that was a game in which they had the lion’s share of possession. The fact that the last six games between these teams have been shared three apiece also suggests there isn’t a lot to choose between them.
With the tie an acceptable result for both sides, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this game tail off in terms of goalmouth excitement and I’m predicting this will finish all square.
Colorado v LAFC, 2021-11-07
It is still possible for Colorado to finish top in the Western Conference, but they will need to win this game and hope that both Seattle and Kansas drop points, and having already secured their top-four status, they may not want to go all out here.
For LAFC, the situation is a little starker. They can clinch a playoff spot if either Seattle beat Vancouver or San Jose fail to beat Kansas, providing that they can overcome the Rapids, which could be beyond them.
LAFC will take comfort from the fact that they prevailed the last time they played Colorado, but this time around they have some significant injury problems. They’ve also won just one of their last five on the road, and I’m not betting on them getting more than a point from their visit to Colorado.
Portland v Austin, 2021-11-07
Most of the fixtures on Decision Day will feature teams with something to play for, but Portland’s final regular-season encounter is likely to be a little less dramatic.
The Sounders are guaranteed to finish fourth in the West, regardless of what happens here, while Austin’s play-off chances expired some time ago. Can we read anything in Austin’s surprise win against Kansas?
Probably not. The Texas franchise has improved since the middle of September, putting together four wins. But all of those victories have been at the Q2 Stadium. On the road, it is a different story. Josh Wolff’s team have not won away from home since May 1st, making it 13 games outside the Lone Star state without a win. Their record also suggests that battling draws are not their thing either, so it is difficult to see a shock here.
Vancouver v Seattle, 2021-11-07
Seattle play their final game of the regular season without having yet sewn up the top seed in the Western Conference, which is remarkable considering how well they performed for most of their campaign. The Sounders were unbeaten between May and July and seemed to be cruising towards a comfortable finish.
Their slump in form has been dramatic. They suffered four consecutive defeats in October before stopping the rot with a point against LA Galaxy last time, so this game against an in-form Whitecaps side is looking a lot tougher than it did in September.
Vancouver have lost only one of their last ten, a run that has seen them register four consecutive home wins. Whether they have enough firepower to secure all three points here is debatable, but a draw would be sufficient to get them into the playoffs and I think they’re capable of achieving that.